Tecno Spark 7P unboxing and review: what are the compromises

Tecno Spark 7P review

Tecno officially introduced the Spark 7-series few weeks ago. The series actually contains three smartphones; the vanilla Spark 7, the Spark 7 Pro, and the Spark 7P. The 7P has 4GB RAM with either 128 or 64GB ROM, which is the model we are reviewing. This base model actually cost around $147, or N61,000 in Nigeria, and if you are considering spending your money in this direction, then the review is for you.

Tecno Spark 7P Key Specs and features

  • Dimension / Weight: 171.9 x 77.9 x 9.15 / NA
  • Display: 6.82-inch IPS LCD 720 x 1640px HD+ with 20.5:9 ratio and 90Hz refresh
  • CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio G70 with Mali-G52 GPU
  • Storage and RAM: 64/128 GB and 4GB RAM; expandable up to 256GB via microSD
  • OS: Android 11 (HiOS 7.6)
  • Camera: Triple 16MP AI camera with Four LED
  • Front camera: 8MP Selfie with dual LED
  • Video recording: 2K/1080p/[email protected]
  • Connectivity: Dual Nano-SIM: GSM / HSPA / LTE
  • Other Features: Fingerprint scanner (rear), Micro USB 2.0
  • Battery: 5000mAh with 10W charger

Tecno Spark 7P unboxing

Because the the device has a little large display, it arrived in a substantially large orange box. Thankfully, Tecno utilized the extra space in the box, and included virtually all accessories needed to make your phone usable, except user manual

Tecno Spark 7P review

Spark 7P box content 

  • The Spark 7P itself
  • A 10W wall charger
  • Micro USB 2.0
  • Pair of earpiece
  • SIM ejection pin and
  • A clear TPU case

Spark 7P Impression (Design and Built Quality)

What Tecno is trying to archive with the Spark 7-series over older models of the Spark-series is not improved design but better specs and features. Even though the design on the Spark 7P still looks refreshed than the previous models, you won’t see any dramatic changes design wise, especially when compared to some models in the Spark 5-series, like say the Spark 5 Air.

Ports and button layout remains same across board; power button and volume rockers on the right, 3-in-1 card trail on the left and a busy basement with 3.5mm audio jack, audio receiver, USB port, and one of the device’s loud speaker. The second speaker seats above the display, which also doubles as the earpiece grill.

The notable design is on the rear of the phone. Unlike previous model of the Spark-series, Tecno decided to stamp a large Spark branding at the back of the phone, along with a rear fingerprint scanner, Triple camera modules and 4-LED flashes.

As far as design goes, even though the built of the Spark 7P is entirely plastic, I love the fact that Tecno made do with a textured matte-like rear finishing which eliminating finger magnet, instead of a glossy rear which does just the opposite.

Tecno Spark 7P Display

This is the rule of Thumb for display qualities: “the higher the resolution and the smaller the screen size, the higher the pixels per inch (PPI) and the better and crispier the display quality.

The Spark 7P come with an IPS LCD panel, with 720 x 1640 pixels spread across 6.8-inches screen, resulting to a slightly low 263 pixels per inch. Although this number is on the low side, but it get the job without the display appearing washed out.

A 90Hz refresh rating…

But the selling point of the Spark 7P is not text or icon clarity, but fast and smooth scrolling. So to achieve this, Tecno introduced 90Hz refresh rating to the Spark 7P, also available on the 7 Pro, which made scrolling through menu and webpages a lot smooth.

While I love the speeding screen, the phone brightness nits could have been better. Even at 50% screen brightness, the display still look dull, and when brightness is push to 100%, the screen tend to look washed out in certain angles.

The display is set to 90Hz by default, but Tecno warns that this might impart battery life. A work around is to either use 60Hz refresh, or set the device to auto determine when to switch between the two mode.

Tecno Spark 7 Hardware and Software

Two options that so much add to the value of Spark 7P is the choice of Helio G70 CPU, and the presence of Google Android 11 OS, which is based on HiOS 7.6.

Now, the essence of custom skin is to offer users with extensive customizations not available on Android OS by default, and this is what Tecno’s HiOS 7.6 tries to achieve.

  • The new OS brings handful of interesting features like Peek proof, which grey out undesired section of the screen to prevent intruders from peeping information above your shoulders.
  • The inclusion of single-handed mode, which shrink the display from 6.8 to around 5.5-inches for a more comfortable single handed use and many more.

But the one I like the most is Kid mode. This features enables you to set a specific period within which your child can play or study on the Spark 7P. Setting options available under this mode includes:

  • Usage by APP: Which tells you the number of apps that was used while kid mode was activated
  • APP Management: which helps you to select set of apps that will be available when Kid mode is activated
  • Single time limit: which allows you to select between 15min to 2hours, or unlimited time when the kid mode should be activated
  • Single use data limit: which limit data usage to a defined mega-bite when the mode is activated.

You could also turn other features like auto eye care, low battery protection and bad positioning alert on. When the Kid mode is activated, the device notification drawer and app drawer are both disabled, and any attempt to exit the mode will trigger a passworded screen.

There is also an included story mode in the gallery, and a dedicated film album which you can used to create a short movie clip with selected images.

As for speed and usability of the OS, well, things look very optimized. I wouldn’t say the UX is any better or worse than stock Android, except for ads and bloatware, which you can overcome by uninstalling some preloaded apps like Instant Apps, AHA Games etc.

As per raw performance, this is what the Spark 7P scored when I pulled it through benchmark apps

  • Antutu = 197,332
  • GeekBench single core = 367
  • GeekBench multi core = 1289

The inherent CPU – Helio G70 itself, is a gaming Chipset, and running some mid-to heavy games on the 7P was not any issue. Games like Need for Speed most wanted, Fifa 2021 etc run fairly well. Online games like Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty was also very playable. I did notice missed touches a couple of times when playing games though, especially when the device begins to warm up.

Tecno Spark 7P Camera review

The shift from quad-camera setups to three is becoming the design choices of most OEMs in recent times. So unlike the four lenses on some previous Spark series, on the Spark 7P, you are getting just 3; a 16-megapixel primary lens, 2-megapixle portrait lens and a third AI depth sensor, along with four LED lights, while a single 8-megapixel selfie camera with two LED flash are on the front.

The camera app is heavily AI based with dozens of modes like short video, slow-mo video, super night mode and many more. The device is capable of 2K, 1080p and 720p video recording at 30fps, and so is the selfie lens.

As for camera quality, images and videos are clear and good given the price point, and with some of the included presets in story and album movie mode, you can easily create social media ready content on the fly.

Tecno Spark 7P camera interface

Just ensure to take your images in well lighted environment, and if you must shoot in lowlight conditions, don’t forget to rely on the generously provided LED lights which performs way better when shooting in close ups, than the bundle super night mode.

Camera Samples from Tecno Spark 7P

Sample images from the main 16-megapixel camera:

The first two images shows how well the Spark 7P is able to handle dynamic ranges; both the details on the wall, the roof and as well as the sky were preserved. This quality is a miss and hit; sometimes when an object is standing in front of the devices, the sky some times get blown out.

The rock and the robe were shot in close up, and not portrait mode. The isolation and the notable nice natural blurry background were auto applied by the camera’s autofocus algorithm.

These low-light images are shot with and without flash, and as you can see, the camera did well in both scenarios. I’ve always loved quad-LED flashes on Tecno and Infinix phones, and even though the device could preserve the leave color in the first image, the second images shows that we are dealing with greenish color, although the texture of the white rose is blown out.

Seriously, I don’t know which mode is best for selfie. I’ll prefer the normal mode though, as the other two makes me look like a Monkey; (that was a joke; I’m very good looking, trust me!), the background looks terrible on the three still, but even with the highlight from the back, the Spark 7P was still able to show good details on the face.

Auxiliaries that matters

Dual speakers:

The Spark 7P come with dual speakers, one on the basement, and the second one doubles as the call receiver. These two are substantially loud and clear, even the one within the earpiece grill. But both them lack lows, resulting to a bass-less sound output.

On the brighter side, the presence of dual speakers is an improvement to audio output already, and since one of the speaker doubles as the earpiece, you get a substantially loud audio output during phone calls as well.

A 5000mAh built-in battery

Then, there is the built-in 5000mAh battery. This unit has great endurance, but take time to charge up due to the absence of fast charging. The included charging brick is a 10W unit, and the USB port is still macro, so charging speed is on the slow side, let say a minimum of 3-hours until full.

Tecno Spark 7P review conclusions:

Tecno is marketing the Spark 7P with the slogan “Speed without Compromise”. But take this, that all phone makers have certain areas of compromises in other to save cost. Even the big dogs in the industry, and the renowned “value-for-money” phone maker – Xiaomi, has it own areas of cutbacks.

For Tecno and her Spark 7P, one of the major area of cutback is on the display. Even though it is smooth and fast, the panel suffers from weaker brightness. In addition to that, ads within HiOS 7.6 is just so much and annoying, imagine ad insertion within my local music files, that’s completely unacceptable!

But does this make the Spark 7P a bad smartphone? No way, not even close. Even though there are area I wish Tecno could improve upon as mentioned above, offering an entry-level gaming smartphone with 90Hz refresh rating at just N61,000 is awesome already. Some smartphones currently sold within or above this price point, don’t have some of the bells and whistles on the Spark 7P.

We hope the details in this review should guide your buying decision of the Spark 7P, but should you have your own input on this topic, please use the comment section below.

Stephen Ekpa
Stephen is the Editor-in-Chief @DroidAfrica. His work on DroidAfrica is born out of pure passion for tech, especially as it relates to smartphones. When Steve is not writing tech, then he is reading tech.