The offline smartphone brand of Transsion Holdings, Tecno, is known for offering affordable phones in India. We have seen the brand launch smartphones under Rs 10,000 with massive batteries, punch-hole displays, quad-cameras and more. Today, the company has gone ahead and launched the successor to its entry-level smartphone Spark Go, the Tecno Spark Go Plus. The Spark Go Plus comes with minor upgrades over its predecessor, which was launched last year. I received the phone ahead of the launch date, and here is a brief account of my first impressions.
The smartphone comes in a standard cardboard box painted in a bright orange shade, featuring the image of the phone on top and branding all around. Inside, you will find the Tecno Spark Go Plus lying atop the wall charger, micro-USB cable, documentation, a three-month coupon code for Gaana Plus, and a SIM ejector tool. The company doesn’t provide a protective case or earphones with the phone, but you do get an Araimo Knight 2 Bluetooth headset which can be used to make calls hands-free.
Coming to the design, the Tecno Spark Go Plus features a similar plastic-clad design to the Spark Go, with a trippy wavy pattern on the removable back. You need to remove the back panel to insert two nano-SIM cards and there is a dedicated card slot for microSD cards as well. While the back panel is removable, the battery is not. You will find a pill-shaped camera module in the top left corner on the back, with a single camera lens and dual-LED flash. There’s a circular fingerprint scanner on the back close to the top, and a loudspeaker grill in the bottom left corner alongside Tecno branding.
As for the other design elements, Tecno has left the top and left edge of the smartphone bare. You will find the physical buttons for volume and power on the right edge, which have softer tactile feedback but get the job done. At the bottom edge, you will find a micro-USB port with deceiving cut-out resembling a USB-C port. The micro-USB port is accompanied by a 3.5mm audio jack and noise-cancelling mic on the left side.
The Tecno Spark Go Plus retains the waterdrop notch display from the Spark Go, but has a bigger 6.52-inch panel with a screen resolution of 1,600 x 720 pixels. The screen has a taller aspect ratio of 20:9 and thanks to the waterdrop notch, offers an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 89.5 percent. While the picture quality and sharpness are commendable, the brightness of the display leaves a lot to be desired since legibility in direct sunlight is poor.
At its core, the Tecno Spark Go Plus features a 2GHz MediaTek Helio A22 chipset backed by 2GB of RAM and 32GB onboard storage. As for the software, the phone boots HIOS 5.5.2 based on Android 9.0 (Go Edition), which has been optimised to run on the lower-specced smartphones. The Tecno Spark Go Plus performed well during my short stint but it does lag when you run graphic-intensive games like PUBG or even Call of Duty. Powering the handset is a 4,000mAh battery, but it misses out on fast charging capabilities.
The rear camera is the same 8-megapixel unit from its predecessor, but with AI backing. The upgrade comes in terms of the selfie camera, which is the same 8-megapixel shooter as the rear camera with an 81-degree field of view and LED flash for low light imaging. The camera app is very minimalist with just video, photo, beauty and bokeh mode. While daylight images turn out to be decent, night shots and portrait shots are grainy with fuzzy details.
At Rs 6,299, the Tecno Spark Go Plus offers everything from a large display, good camera, massive battery and more. However, the market is now flooded with a number of entry-level smartphones that offer a better spec sheet. One of the main contenders is the Redmi 8A (review) (Rs 6,499), which comes with better cameras, a Snapdragon 439 processor, 5,000mAh battery, Type-C port and 18W fast charging support. However, with Tecno having a significant offline presence, and offering added freebies like a wireless headset and free Gaana Plus subscription, it might just be able to sway users looking for an inexpensive handset.