Hands-on review: Tecno Spark 9
In the last three weeks we have been using the Tecno Spark 9, and here is the hands-on review of our experience with the device. As mentioned in the article about our first impressions of Tecno Spark 9, the device looks and feels solid.
Measuring 164.2mm by 75.6mm by 8.4mm, the device has a 6.6 inches display at 83.4% screen-to-body ratio. It is big enough to allow for immersive viewing but still comfortable enough for one-hand use, thanks largely to its light weight of only 192g. Of course, being tall as it is at 164.2mm, one cannot easily press the top of the phone without sliding it down the palm.
At purchase, the phone will definitely require several minutes to set up but once the phone s set (disabling or uninstalling a number of preinstalled apps is highly recommended), the device functions smoothly throughout, given its Mediatek Helio G37 CPU that boasts of eight cores featuring 4 – 2.3 GHz Cortex-A53 and 4 – 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 that feeds on 4GB of RAM. In addition, the phone has the ability to utilise 1GB of ROM as virtual RAM enabling the phone to have a total of 5GB of RAM when needs are.
Once you have powered your Tecno Spark 9, you should head up to settings and press My Phone. From there you will be able to quickly check the core specs that include the name of the phone, the model of the device (Tecno KH6), the OS (Android 12), CPU (Helio G37), Front Camera (32MP), Rear Camera (13MP Triple Camera), RAM (4GB + 1GB), ROM – shouldn’t be ROM though given that one can actually write on the memory – should be SDD instead (64 GB – there are 128 GB versions for the Tecno Spark 9 Pro) HiOS (vs 8.6) and Build Number.
A few things that I tested immediately after setting up the phone include the speakers which I found to be normal (no extra-base – no stereo – no surround sound), and the rear camera that allows one to shoot in HDR, Portrait, or AR (probably for Snapchat). The pictures were crisp and of good quality. I will provide a detailed review of these in a few days.
The first impression one gets from unboxing Tecno Spark 9, holding it, and getting to use it for the first time speaks for a premium phone. The phone feels like a long-lasting device, a device that can survive a few drops from the pocket height, and a device.
SPARK 9 Series
The SPARK 9 Series will be dedicated to Gen Z. Equipped with a 32 MP super clear selfie shooter and trendy right-angles edge 8.42mm lightweight and slim body, TECNO SPARK 9 Pro brings the users more premium experience to express self-concept and stylish design to let them be on the cutting edge of fashion. SPARK 9 Series will bring the fully upgraded front camera to break the boundary for your self-expression via selfie technology.
On core specs, Tecno Spark 9 is a typical modern-day-sized smartphone at 6.6 inches that boasts a 720 by 1612 pixels resolution. The screen is made of LCD technology that allows for an above-average refresh rate of 90Hz. Though the resolution is not a full HD of 1080p, the 720p is still crisp and clear allowing you to differentiate between a full HD YouTube video from a 720p version of the same video.
It is known that the high refresh rate and the larger screen size that has become the standard size of today’s smartphones consume more power than usual, the phone has packed a huge 5000mAh battery that under standard use can provide up to 24 hours of use. This battery capacity however is slow to charge especially when charged using the on-box 5V 2A charger. However, the charging rate increases significantly when the phone is plugged into a charger that’s capable of delivering fast charging.
Powering the device is Android 12 together with HiOS 8.6. Except for the blotted apps that come preinstalled with HiOS 8.6 majority of which are a nuisance, the phone operates very smoothly thanks to its Octa-core Helio G37 CPU that’s supported by 4GB RAM. There is also a 6 GB option for those who use almost all apps at once. Probably the 6GB RAM option is the better one to go for given that I have noticed some sluggish with apps on the 4GB version that I have. The phone also has 64 GB storage for the lower version though there is the 128 GB version for those people who prefer to store huge photos and videos on their phones. There is also the possibility of expanding the storage with up to 256 GB of the external memory card if you really need extra storage.
There are reviews that have indicated that Tecno Spark 9 has a 50 MP main camera and a 32 MP front camera, but my copy has a 13 MP main camera and 32 MP front camera. As of the time of this writing I haven’t tested the cameras so there isn’t a lot, I can say about the performance of the phone in regards to the camera department, so this will have to wait until my full review article that is due next week.
Lastly, the phone comes with a side fingerprint reader mounted on the power button, a face unlocks that I haven’t used and probably will never use on any device, and a single speaker in addition to the USB-type c data and charging port. All these specs are available for only Kshs 16,000.
A few drawbacks
After using the phone for three weeks I have grown to like it so much except on a few occasions where I found the phone to be sluggish. After being on for a few days, the phone becomes so slow such that the only way to get it back to speed is to restart it. This slowness cannot be a factor of RAM because as already mentioned the phone boasts of 4 GB RAM and an additional 1 GB virtual RAM. The culprit therefore can be the processor or the HiOS given that Android 12 that it runs on has been shown to perform smoothly on other devices. Hopefully, future upgrades of the HiOS will get rid of this slugginess.
The other drawback is the phone and contact management. Phone is the app that one uses to dial numbers in order to make phone calls. This app has problems when one wants to clear recent calls. Instead of providing an easy way to clear all recent calls, Tecno Spark 9 (this might be a problem with all Tecno phones) requires you to long press a recently dialled number, then an option of Multiple Choice will appear at the bottom of the pop-up menu. On contact management, the phone does not allow you to edit or delete a number if you searched for the number from the contact list. The only thing you can do with a searched number is to call that number. What this means is that if you wanted to delete or edit a number from your contacts, you will have to scroll all the way down, to that number, press on it, and then access the edit or delete options from there.
Other than these two drawbacks the device is powerful, has a wonderful camera, and is worth every penny you will spend on it.