TECNO Spark 5 Review

TECNO Spark 5 review by John-Bunya Klutse.

The Spark series is the leading performing entry-level budget from TECNO even though it is not cheapest from the company. Here in Ghana, the Spark series is well accepted and is among the fastest-selling budget smartphones due to its price, screen size and camera capabilities. In 2020, the company moves from the traditional orange and blue box to a fresh new feel in a blue and yellow box (pretty clean). The year’s spark still comes in two variants: the Spark 5 and the Spark 5 Air. My review unit is Spark 5.

TECNO Spark 5 entry-level smartphone

At first glance, you can easily mistake the TECNO Spark 5 for TECNO CAMON 15. Both phones have the design from the front-rear. Is TECNO planning to have all its 2020 phones look the same with varying performance specs? I don’t know what else think. Is this TECNO’s subtle way of saying” If you think the Camon 15 is expensive, why not get a Spark 5.”

Just like Camon 15, Spark 5 is a beautiful phone. The breathtaking device is selling at a cool GHS 719 in Ghana from all accredited TECNO shops, including major phone shops across the country.

At this price point, the Spark 5 is powered by an Octa-core, 2 GHz, Cortex A53 processor. It runs on the MediaTek Helio A22 Chipset with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage and runs on Android v10 (Q) operating system with HiOS 6.0. A big 5000mAh battery powers all this.

Tecno Spark 5 smartphone has an IPS LCD display. It measures 164.7 mm x 76.3 mm x 8.75 mm and weighs. The screen has a resolution of 720 x 1600 pixels and 266 ppi pixel density. On the camera front, is the 8MP f/2.0 Primary Camera (Punch-hole), and on the rear, there’s a 13MP + 2MP + 2MP camera with features like Digital Zoom, Auto Flash, Face detection, Touch to focus. Connectivity features in the smartphone include WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Volte, and more. Ideally, one will expect the Spark 5 to have these camera features and more if truly it is supposed to be an affordable alternative to the Camon 15.

Spark 5 comes in four colours: Ice Jadeite, Spark Orange, Vacation Blue and Misty Grey colours. The colour of my review unit is Ice Jadite.

Comparing to its predecessor (Spark 4), the battery, camera and the new HiOS 6.1 are the major improvements well noticing. Aside that, everything else remains the same.

In my second week of using the TECNO spark 5, and this is what I have to say. Let’s get started.

TECNO Spark 5 key specs

  • 6.65″ Dot-in Display
  • 32GB ROM (Storage)
  • 2GB RAM (memory)
  • 8MP AI dot-in display front camera with dual flash
  • Quad AI Camera: 2MP+48MP+2MP+2MP Quad Rear Camera with Quad flash
  • Mediatek Helio A22 MT6761 processor Octa-core that clocks at  2.0 GHz
  • HiOS 6.1 based on Android 6.1
  • Non-removable Li-Ion 5000 mAh battery
  • Colour: Ice Jadite

TECNO Spark 5 preview

TECNO Spark 5 unboxing

The TECNO Spark 5 comes in a blue and yellow box with a display of the phone.

What’s inside the box:

  • TECNO Spark 5 ( with screen protector)
  • White earphones
  • Silicone semi see-through case with a TECNO and Manchester City F.C. logo inscription
  • A Charging brick ( charger head as most call it)
  • White standard micro USB cable
  • A sim eject tool
  • User Manual and TECNO 12+1 warranty badge.

TECNO Spark 5 unboxed

TECNO Spark 5 review

Design and 360-degree view

TECNO Spark 5 display The Spark 5 guarantees a full display at a resolution of 720 by 1600 pixel. The bezels of this phone has been well managed to give it an excellent screen-estate. Ignoring a notch camera for an 8MP punch-hole cut-out is the latest addition to the Spark 15. The punch-hole camera blends neatly into the screen, making it impossible to cause any distraction when viewing a video. Like I mentioned early, Spark 5 is just is like owing a lite version of Camon. This device is a beautiful phone. I love the phone case of the Spark 5 as compared to the Camon 15; it makes the Spark 5 look premium.

left front right sides of the TECNO Spark 5
left front right sides of the TECNO Spark 5

The Spark 5 has the fingerprint scanner mounted at the back (rear). You are presented with the quad AI camera (13MP, 2MP, 2MP, QVGA), Innovation designed by Tecno inscribed, and the TECNO logo on the back all aligned centred vertically to the bottom.

TECNO Spark 5 review

The Ice Jadite used as the back cover gives the device the perfect aesthetics—the ideal colour for all genders and commands some boss-swag.

TECNO Spark 5 sides ( left and right)
TECNO Spark 5 sides ( left and right)
On the sides, we have the sim-tray which now pops in a microSD slot too on the left, and the power switch on ( standout with a red mark) and separated volume keys on the right.
TECNO Spark 5 bottom
TECNO Spark 5 bottom

The 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom to join the microUSB port for charging, the speaker grill, plus a microphone cut-out and making the top of the vacant.

Display, battery life

Display

The Spark uses a 6.65 IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen. The 720x1600px resolution in a 20:9 aspect makes for a 266 ppi density. With a good internet connection, you are going to have fun watching videos on this device in full display—just the same as the Camon 15.

Battery life

TECNO Spark 5 battery
TECNO Spark 5 battery

A 5000mAh battery powers the Spark 5. That is a big battery there. Right out of the box, the phone is 68% charged. It takes close to 30 mins to get a 10% charge, and about  150 minutes to  180 minutes to move from flat to fully charge on the Spark 5.  This is because its charging brick does not support fast charging.

For heavy usage, this device can last for more than 12hrs or more with a single charge. Whiles using it in my first week, I watched a 180 minutes movie on the Spark 5, and it only took 2-3% of my battery charge. I am personally impressed about the battery, and if the Spark 5 is your second device, which is a common practice in Ghana for most people to own two phones, it won’t disappoint when your primary phone is off.

In order to extend the lifespan of your battery, try to keep it between 30% to 80%. Don’t overcharge it above 80% and don’t also allow it to run down below 30%. Thank me later.

User interface, features, security, performance

HiOS 6.1 on top of Android 10

TECNO Spark 5 display
TECNO Spark 5 display

Camon 15 runs on TECNO’s latest HiOS 6.0 on top of Android 10. This new update brings new exciting features such as AI Assistant, AI Video Beauty, Smart Panel, and AI Battery Lab to define the meaning of a capable smartphone truly.

TECNO Spark 5 UI

With this new update, one can intelligently identify and broadcast the incoming calls, messages, news, etc.

Here are some key features of the new HiOS 6.1:

  • Dark Theme
  • WhatsApp Flashlight Calls
  • Wifi share
  • WhatsApp Status Rescuer
  • Gesture Navigation
  • Off-screen gaming
  • Pop-up Messages
  • Parental Control
  • Gesture call picker

Other exciting features that can be enabled include:

  1. Screenshot with three fingers by sliding from the top of the screen to the bottom
  2. Usage modes like WhatsApp ( which allows only apps you open use your data), Read Mode, AI Mode,

Security

TECNO Spark 5 security
TECNO Spark 5 security

Camon 15 comes with the default security features like the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and Face unlock. Nothing new was added. You have seen it all.

Processor and memory

TECNO Spark 5 uses Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22 chipset that clocks at 2.0 GHz Octa-Core. It is almost as fluid as using the Camon 15 when it is fresh out of the box, this may not be the same when you start installing more apps due to the memory of 2GB and storage capacity of 32GB. You can’t afford to have a lot of apps running simultaneous else the phone begin to lag. In order to keep the Spark 5 running at optimal levels at all times, remember to use the Phone Master app, that comes preinstalled, to clean and free your phone. Gamers are not left out; Spark 5 supports a good number of mobile games.

There’s a dedicated microSD card slot in addition to the dual SIM slots. In other words, you may have two SIMs in there and enjoy expandable storage at the same time. If the 32GB storage is not enough, and you can’t immediately afford a microSD, then, you should consider uninstalling the bloatware that came preinstalled with the phone. You need to be intentional in handling this phone to enjoy it to the fullest.

Camera

TECNO Spark 5 Quad AI camera
TECNO Spark 5 Quad AI camera

TECNO Spark 5 comes with 8MP front/selfie camera with dual-LED flash which is not any different from the predecessor, and at the rear is a Quad AI (48 MP, 2 MP,2 MP,QVGA) camera with quad flash.

The rear is a Quad AI camera consists of a 2MP secondary camera (AI Bokeh effect), 13MP primary camera (AI scene recognition, AI HDR), and 2MP close-shot lens(macro), and Ultra Night lens.

For this price tag, you shouldn’t expect too much from the camera. However, this AI-focused camera can detect a variety of scenes and optimise the camera to give you the best shots.

At the front, we have a single 8MP selfie camera with an f/2.0 lens. Low-light images out of the front camera are okay, but not spectacular.

TECNO Spark 5 selfie camera
TECNO Spark 5 selfie camera

Image Quality

Camera samples,  Quad AI rear camera

Camera sample, macro photograph using Quad AI rear camera
Low-light samples, Ultra Night lens of the Quad AI camera
Low-light samples, Ultra Night lens of the Quad AI camera

Low-light samples, Ultra Night lens of the Quad AI camera

Selfie sample – 8MP front camera with dual flash

Selfie sample – 8MP front camera with dual flash

Portrait selfie sample – 8MP front camera with dual flash

Portrait selfie sample – 8MP front camera with dual flash

Alternatives, pros and cons, price, verdict

Pros

+ Stunning design
+ Excellent display
+ Big battery
+ Punch-hole camera

Cons
+ The screen is curved at the corner, not flat
+ Does not support fast charging
+ Not an ideal upgrade for anyone using Spark 4

Tecno Spark 5 price

The Spark is selling at GHS 719.

Our Verdict

This is a standard entry-level smartphone. It is fast, promises to keep you on the go for many hours with the 5000mAh battery, great design that doesn’t look cheap. The new HiOS takes the user experience of the phone a step further with exciting new features.

How long will it last?

TECNO Spark 5 has no water resistance, so it won’t play well with water. Thankfully, it’s not made of glass, so you don’t need to worry about shattering both sides of the phone (just one).

This phone will likely last you two years if not three, before the battery begins to deteriorate. You can only expect one year of version updates from TECNO, however, so the phone’s elder years will be spent running an outdated version of Android.

Who should buy this?

If you are a big of  TECNO phones and for some reason, you can’t afford the TECNO Camon 16, the Spark 5 is your best alternative to give you the same feel and close-mark performance.

Should you buy it?

Yes, good for the price of GHS 719. If Spark 5 is still a little beyond your budget, you can consider going for the Spark 5 Air which is selling at GHS 685.

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