MANILA - Parents looking for a cheap phone for their kids' online classes may want to check out the TECNO Spark 5 Pro.
This newly-released smartphone from Chinese brand TECNO has surprisingly powerful specs for a phone costing just P5,499.
Unlike other Chinese vendors like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo, TECNO is virtually unknown in the Philippines. Transsion, the company behind the brand, however, is the top mobile phone vendor in Africa and is number 3 in India, according to the South China Morning Post.
The TECNO Spark 5 Pro is Transsion's first offering in the Philippines, and the budget smartphone probably couldn't have come at a better time. With the economy on the ropes, consumers have become more cost-conscious today.
The Spark features a 6.6-inch HD+ display with a punch-hole design that houses its 8MP front camera. TECNO deserves some kudos for pulling this off because most other phones in this price range have the more familiar teardrop notch up front.
On the back is a textured plastic panel in gradient colors. It's probably not going to win any design awards but it's not bad looking either.
The back also features a fingerprint scanner, and a quad-rear camera setup consisting of a 16MP main shooter, 2MP macro, 2MP depth, and AI sensors. Other entry-level phones just have 1 or 2 cameras at the back that TECNO managed to squeeze in 4 is quite a feat.
So, in total, this phone has 5 cameras. Not bad for an entry-level device.
The phone runs on a MediaTek Helio P22 processor, 4GB of RAM and features 64GB of storage. The Spark 5 Pro is also powered by a 5,000mAh battery, which is huge for something this cheap.
It uses an operating system called HiOS based on Android 10.
If you're buying a phone for your kid's online classes, the Spark 5 Pro is a good cheap choice as it will handle Zoom and Google Meet with ease.
This phone is no slouch. With 4GB of RAM there's hardly any lag in some of the most commonly used apps.
As a gaming device, the Spark 5 Pro is also pretty adequate. You don't need to worry about whether it can run Mobile Legends, PUBG and other popular games. It's Mediatek processor and 4GB of RAM are enough.
However, if you're doing video chats, watching videos, or playing games, you will want to use headphones because the speakers on this phone are exactly what you'd expect from a budget gadget.
The 64GB storage however means you have a lot of space for documents, photos, audio, video and other files. The large 6.6 inch screen also makes it easier to read documents on this phone.
Using the face unlock feature was easy enough. The fingerprint scanner however seemed to lag sometimes.
The cameras are also OK--you can't really expect iPhone 11 levels of detail and quality in something that costs 1/11 of Apple's flagship.
The photos lose some highlights, pictures sometimes look too sharpened, and the camera sometimes has difficulty focusing on things just a few inches away.
But for a budget phone, the Spark is not bad in the imaging department either. The phone uses AI to recognize sceneries and subjects and adjusts the settings of the cameras to take the best photos. It also has the usual bokeh effect and AR gimmicks that have become standard in phones these days.
TECNO's decision to put a 2MP macro camera on this phone instead of the more widely-used zoom or wide angle cameras is curious, but then again, this is a budget phone.
For an entry-level device, the Spark 5 Pro delivers quite a punch in terms of specs and performance.
It's nearest competitors in this segment is Huawei’s Y6P and Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro. The Y6P also features 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage and a 5000 mAh battery but is slightly more expensive at P5,990. The Flare S8 Pro also has similar specs and retails for P5,999.