The Tecno Spark 7 Pro is a solid phone. The chipset is perfectly capable at the majority of tasks, the display is attractive and speedy enough (if a little low on the resolution end), the cameras are good as long as the lighting is too, and the battery will last you a full day and then some even with regular use. What you get for the price you pay is pretty damn attractive.
The Tecno Spark 7 Pro falls squarely into the mid-range smartphone category, and that’s by no means an insult. It’s an important range of devices offering decent to good specs that the everyday consumer can buy without breaking the bank. The Spark 7 Pro is no exception, packing some pretty decent bang for your buck, even if it falls a little short in a few categories. But for a R3,000 to R4,000 phone what you get is more than enough.
How’s it look?
Right off the bat, while it doesn’t have the forged glass design of a Galaxy smartphone or the sleek minimalism of something Apple-branded, the Spark 7 Pro is nice enough to look at. Front side, it’s not all that distinctive: a 6.6in glass slab with some encouragingly thin bezel and an innocuous camera notch in the top left corner. Appealingly familiar and reliable.
Worth mentioning is the fact that the display extends notably out of the casing, by about 2 or 3 mm or so. This is probably to free up some screen real-estate, but means dropping this bad boy face down is a death sentence. You’ll want a case, and a sturdy one at that.
The edges are interrupted by the volume control and power button on the right, and the speaker and micro-USB charging port (and audio jack, thankfully) at the bottom.
Flip the Spark 7 Pro over and things get a little more unique. The back casing is plastic, which is to be expected out of a lower-priced build, but it’s got a matte finish which, paired with the subtle colour options (the one we used was ‘Spruce Green’) looks quite appealing. The finish also makes the phone less likely to slip out of your hands like a bar of wet soap.
The fingerprint sensor is found here too, in the centre near the top, obviously intended for your dominant forefinger (that’s the pointy one). Like most fingerprint sensors, when it works and works, and when it doesn’t it doesn’t, though we still prefer the under-display thumb scanner in higher-end devices.
One pretty damning design flaw on the back is the camera bump. See, the Spark 7 comes kitted out with three lenses in its array: a 48MP lens takes up the frontline, supported by a pair of auxiliary lenses. The details of these are a little elusive, unfortunately.
As you might expect, these lenses are located on a little island alongside the LED flash, lined up vertically. This is all well and good, but the bump itself extends down past the bottom lens to more than double the size it needs to be. What’s all this extra space for, you might ask. Branding. The extra bump is adorned with a stylish but entirely unnecessary ‘Spark’ logo. Not only is this bothersome in terms of design, but it also means that the phone doesn’t rest flat on its back.
While it’s pretty lame, it’s the only criticism we can really throw the Spark 7 Pro’s way, so we won’t harp on about it too much. It also gets bonus points for having dual-SIM functionality. Pros and cons here.
Dig a little deeper
Things get a little more interesting once you turn the phone on and get it running. See, the Spark 7 Pro runs on Hi OS, an Android-based OS made by Tecno exclusively for its own devices. It looks and feels a lot like a cross between the flagship Android 10 – 12 standard and Chrome OS, which, in other words, means it’s pretty good. The phone comes with a decent amount of pre-installed bloat, mostly aimed towards optimisation and customisation, but it could be worse.
Running on the 90Hz screen, everything looks pretty nice. The 1600 x 720 resolution leaves a little to be desired, but not much on a 6.6in screen. In terms of processing power, the octa-core Mediatek Helio G80 chipset isn’t going to win any contests, but it’s plenty strong enough to get some multitasking done.
Battery-wise, the Spark 7 Pro packs a 5000 mAh battery, which will last you a full day or two fully charged on mild usage, and around 10 hours of continuous up-time. That’s pretty impressive, but it’s definitely bolstered by the lower resolution display.
The mid-range price tag really starts to show when you’re playing games. The Spark 7 Pro struggled to keep both Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Mobile at stable framerates, even on the lowest graphics settings. Neither game was unplayable, but they ventured into slideshow mode when things got busy.
The sound is pretty disappointing. Calls are clear enough, but video and game audio come out really tinny and strangely echoey. We recommend headphones and not the ones that come in the box.
As for cameras, the 48MP rear array is solid enough. Colours and details come out alright at reasonable distances, and the 2x zoom is pretty good. Any more than that gets a little foggy. The camera performs best in decent lighting though, this array does pretty poorly in bad lighting. Night shots are fine thanks to a ‘Super Night Mode’ but won’t win you any photography contests. The 8MP selfie cam is actually pretty good, though also struggles in bad lighting.
We were actually pretty impressed with the video recording capabilities of the Tecno Spark 7 Pro. Both the front and back cams are capable of recording in 2K resolution at 30FPS and 1080p at 60FPS. The depth and clarity still suffer in bad lighting but from a purely functional point of view, these are great.
Tecno Spark 7 Pro Verdict
While it isn’t nearly as powerful as high-end devices, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. But it’s still a solid phone. The chipset is perfectly capable at the majority of tasks, the display is attractive and speedy enough (if a little low on the resolution end), the cameras are good as long as the lighting is too, and the battery will last you a full day and then some even with regular use. What you get for the price you pay is pretty damn attractive.