As a subsidiary of Transsion Holdings, Tecno emerged as a smartphone and feature phone brand back in 2006. The company initially focused its market capitalization in the African region and slowly moved to the south Asian market. With over one and a half decades in the android industry, the company has steadily cemented its foothold as an affordable alternative. Mounting on that idea, the company is here with its latest offering, the Tecno Spark 9T, released globally on 28th July 2022. Let's have a detailed look.
Key Specifications of Tecno Spark 9T
Design and Build Quality
There is something about affordable android smartphones mimicking the look of the iPhone design. And the 9T is not immune to that. Whether it’s a good or a bad thing depends on the user. For the most part, the 9T resembles the iPhone 11 with a similar design and camera housing.
The phone is plastic built all around with an unrated glass front. The flat edges aren’t protruding which makes for a great hand feel while using. The power button and the volume buttons are placed as usual just like the previous generation. This time, the power button doubles as the fingerprint sensor.
The phone itself is a dual sim one with a dedicated micro SDXC. The headphone jack stays in on the 9T which is surprisingly good news for many. As things stand, the headphone jack will stay around a bit longer in the budget category.
Overall, the build quality of the Spark 9T is satisfactory for the price.
The 9T of the Spark 9T might be a subtle nod to the fact that the device sports a 90 Hz refresh rate panel. Yes, even at an ultra-budget range, Tecno is offering a high refresh rate for a smoother user experience. However, that’s the only highlight and probably the saving grace for the display.
The panel is a 6.6-inch IPS LCD panel with HD+ resolution. It can churn out up to 266 ppi. LCD panels are still the go-to choice for budget devices. While it's not comparable to AMOLED or OLED by any means, it still gets the job done somewhat.
If you look closely, you will be able to make out the individual pixels, though that was given with a 720P panel. The display looks relatively bright with good color reproduction and outdoor visibility.
However, it doesn’t have a good viewing angle. looking from the side will either create a distorting color shift or would go black. The cost-cutting on the display is very much evident with the 9T.
Traditionally, budget smartphones are all about camera gimmicks. We see 3 or even 4 sensors which don’t actually do much to add value other than being a marketing tool.
Thankfully, the Spark 9T doesn’t take that route. There are 2 sensors vertically aligned on the back of the device. The main sensor is a 13 MP wide-angle shooter and the secondary one is a 2 MP depth sensor.
The pictures from the main camera look sharp and decent. The images are true to real life but the dynamic range is a hit or miss sometimes. The camera doesn’t really live up in dark environments. Images have a noticeable amount of grain and noise in them.
However, Tecno isn’t really selling the device for its back camera, but rather it's front. There is a 32 MP front-facing camera which performs significantly better than the back one. Why this weird choice you may ask? We believe it’s to facilitate content creators who make videos and reels. It can be a great starting point considering the price.
There isn’t much to talk about the videography other than it is rated at 1080P at 30 fps. The back doesn’t have any added stabilization other than the standard autofocus.
Processor and Performance
The Tecno Spark 9T uses Mediatek MT6765V/CB Helio G37 processor built on the 12 Nm architecture. At this price, we expected at least the G35 which is a bit more efficient in its class. The G37 is completely an entry-level processor with low performance.
The octa-core processor has a chip design of 4 2.3 GHz Cortex-A53 and 4 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 which should tell much about the performance.
In the test, the phone can handle day-to-day tasks very well. be it web browsing, media consumption, or light 2D gaming, the device felt fluid and smooth. The smoothness came in part from the 90 Hz refresh rate.
When it comes to graphics-intensive 3D gaming, the phone can't really keep up. You can play titles like PUBG and COD at very low settings. Even then the device heats up and shows frame drops every now and then. Overall, the experience isn’t very good.
The Spark 9T comes with Android 12 out of the box with HIOS 8.6. HIOS is still a very heavy skin on top of stock android. However, Tecno has significantly reduced bloatware this time around.
Battery and Charge Time
The Tecno Spark 9T boasts a standard 5000 mAh battery. Now 5000 mAh is a standard for entry-level to mid-range device phones so the choice isn’t surprising. However, there isn’t any fast charger with the device. And that might significantly prolong the charging time. The device can run for around 8 to 10 hours of continuous usage with a full charge.
Price of Tecno Spark 9T
Tecno Spark 9T hasn’t officially launched in Bangladesh yet. The device is available on a pre-order basis. The price for the single launch variant 4/128 GB is 14,990 BDT with some cool perks for the pre-bookers.
The Tecno Spark 9T brings a few improvements from its previous generation while also taking a step back in some. With global stagflation looming around the corner, it's commendable on Tecno’s part to keep the price under the affordable limit.
The camera is still a weak point for the brand and it shows in the 9T. Then comes the performance and the display which is also lackluster but passable in its price range. The build quality is probably the only thing which can't be complained about. So, if you’re looking for a daily driver for light tasking, the Tecno Spark 9T could very well be a good choice.