The rapid development of technology often makes us forget that some people are just looking for a basic budget smartphone. In this segment, people don’t need a phone that can do everything, but rather a phone that is good and consistent at what it can do. One of the brands maintaining attention on this ‘ultra-budget’ segment is Tecno. The brand set a high bar last year with the launch of the Tecno Spark Go. However, age is an element that doesn’t even spare the budget market and Tecno realised the Spark Go had started to age. So, we now have the Tecno Spark Go Plus, another super-affordable budget offering from Tecno that costs Rs 6,299.
The Tecno Spark Go Plus isn’t a complete overhaul, hence the ‘Plus’. It keeps what was good about the Tecno Spark Go and improves on a few key areas. We reviewed the device and tried to conclude if the extra price of about Rs 900 was worth it. Here’s what we think.
Watch: Tecno Smart Go Plus Review + Giveaway
The Tecno Spark Go Plus features a plastic body. Though a budget offering, the phone’s build quality is nothing short of amazing. On the front is a big 6.52-inch display that we’ll talk more about later. The back of the Blue variant we have has a unique gradient finish. The quality of the materials used is good and the phone has no creaky edges or wobbly buttons. There is a single camera setup with an LED flash on the rear, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a tiny speaker on the back.
The bottom edge of the phone features a MicroUSB slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and the only microphone. The right edge houses the power button and volume rockers. The top and left edges of the phone go clean. One surprising element about the phone is that it still uses no SIM tray. The phone features a removable back cover that you can pry open. Inside you will find access to the two nano-SIM slots and the expandable memory card slot.
There isn’t much that the Tecno Spark go Plus does wrong with the build of the device. Good aesthetics and a sturdy build are only let down by the speaker grille, which is not on the bottom. Putting the speaker grille on the back is the only sign of an age-old design on the phone. The small speaker may get easily muffled by a flat surface or even your fingers while you enjoy media or games.
One of the major upgrades over the Tecno Spark Go is the new big screen. The Spark Go Plus features a big 6.52-inch LCD screen that looks great. The screen has a 720 x 1600 resolution. The waterdrop notch on top of the screen helps the phone get a screen-to-body ratio of 89.5 percent. The colours look punchy and we were satisfied with the screen quality at this price point. It can also go up to a brightness level of about 450 nits when you’re outside, making it somewhat decently visible.
The Tecno Spark Go Plus runs on Android Pie’s Go edition and comes with the brand’s HiOS 5.5.2 skin on top. Android Go helps the phone make the most of its hardware specification. The OS will do things like automatically keeping only the 4 most recent apps in the cache to help save resources. There isn’t a lot of bloat that comes with the phone and about half of it can be uninstalled.
There are a lot of actually useful features we liked in HiOS. For instance, you can pair your fingerprints to open certain apps quickly. You can use a slide-out quick action bar during gaming. There is even a notification filter that saves your notification panel from crowding with unnecessary stuff. All standard software-features you expect to find like a RAM clearing shortcut on the recent apps page are there.
The Tecno Spark Go Plus features only two camera lenses. An 8-megapixel lens on the front and an 8-megapixel lens on the back. The rear camera performance is above average for the price, but we wouldn’t call it extraordinary. While colours were represented nicely and pictures were clicked fast, the camera had issues with focusing. Focusing on nearby objects especially, required a lot more effort. The good part is that when done right, the pictures come out crisp and not overly saturated. There is a dual-LED flash that’s just bright enough to lighten up low light pictures. Click on the image below to check out a few sample shots from the Tecno Spark Go Plus.
The Bokeh mode on the rear offered no significant difference to normal pictures at all in our testing. We observed a similar experience on the front camera too. The portrait mode on the front camera would blur out the background very slightly. This isn’t the best way to achieve the lens-blur effect, but how much blur you want is subjective. However, edge detection works surprisingly well enough on most occasions.
A perk is a front-facing flash you find hidden in the phone’s top bezel. The phone offers up to 1080p video recording on both the front and rear cameras which we think is a huge plus point. However, unsurprisingly, low light performance on both cameras is just about as much you would expect from a phone this price. What we liked, was the camera software. The camera interface is very simple to use even for beginners. The basics are right in front of you, and other settings you may not change regularly are neatly tucked into menus.
The Tecno Spark Go Plus sports a MediaTek Helio A22 chip, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage. The optimisations found on the phone translate to good performance considering the price the phone sells at. The smartphone can handle day-to-day tasks with ease. We experienced slight stutters here and there but no evident ‘lagging’ or any form of crashes in our usage. The dedicated memory card slot lets you expand the storage by another 128GB.
We went ahead and even tried some games on the Tecno Spark Go Plus. To our surprise, games with low to medium graphics had absolutely no issue running. This includes 2D games like Daddy was a Thief and 3D games like BombSquad. We even tried PUBG Lite too. Though we faced some lags in the initial stages of the game, the game did run. Further, we enabled the game mode, brought down the graphics to the lowest (but kept framerate on ‘High’) and experienced lag-free gameplay.
Call quality was also fantastic on the Tecno Spark Go Plus. We tested Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE and could hear people very clearly. People we spoke to could also hear us pretty well. Background sounds were not very distracting despite the lack of a secondary noise-cancelling microphone.
There is a 4,000mAh battery on the Tecno Spark Go Plus that provides tremendous battery life. This makes sense because the big battery is powering a low-resolution screen and a processor that doesn’t demand much power. A full charge will easily give you over a day’s worth of juice. Depending on how light your usage is, you might be able to stretch the battery to even 2 days. There is unsurprisingly no fast charging on the phone. Hence, expect a charge time of over an hour and a half.
Tecno Spark Go Plus: Verdict
The Tecno Spark Go is a winner in almost every aspect. You get solid bang-for-buck value with this phone at Rs 6,299. If you can stretch your budget to about an extra Rs 1,000 you get more options to choose from like the Infinix Hot 8 Pro and the Xiaomi Redmi 8A. With that being said, if you’re on a tight budget below Rs 6,500, The Tecno Spark Go Plus is one the best options to look forward to.