I have been using the Tecno Spark 9 Pro for two weeks now and I have to say I am thoroughly impressed. As a young person who wants an affordable but impressive phone that can provide what I need, the Spark 9 Pro does not disappoint me. It has a 32MP super clear selfie camera that captures clearer and brighter selfies, plus features like Super Night Mode 3.0 and AI Portrait Restoration that enhance photos in low-light situations. In this review, I'll share my impressions of this phone, including its strengths and weaknesses, and why I think it's definitely worth a look.
Before reading the full review, you can familiarize yourself with the detailed Tecno Spark 9 Pro specs or watch the video below the article.
- Release date: 2022, June 02
- Colors: Quantum Black, Burano Blue, Holy White, Hacker Storm
- Dimensions: 164.2 x 75.6 x 8.4 mm.
- Weight: 0 g.
- Screen: 6.6" inc, 1080 x 2460, IPS LCD
- Camera : Triple, 48MP
- Chipset: MediaTek Helio G85 (12nm)
- CPU: Octa-core (2x2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6x1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
- Memory: 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM
- Battery: 5000, Li-Po, non-removable
- Network: GSM / HSPA / LTE
- Operating system: Android 12, HIOS 8.6
- Sensors: Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, proximity
As soon as I saw the Tecno Spark 9 Pro, I was immediately struck by its beautiful design. The phone isn't very large, making it easy to hold and operate with one hand. The 6.6-inch display is large and flat, with medium-sized bezels and a slightly larger chin. The teardrop-shaped opening for the selfie camera is perfectly positioned in the middle of the top of the display.
One thing I really appreciate is the wide hidden horizontal headphone loop above the display. It is perfectly designed to listen to the caller without having to center the smaller earpiece next to your ear. A notification light is also located on the top right of the display, which is handy.
The back of the Spark 9 Pro is also very beautiful. It has a two-tone back design with a matte finish on the bottom and a smooth and glossy top. The two rear camera rings are home to three camera sensors that are slightly recessed and protected from scratches. The glossy insert at the top looks very unusual, with a mirrored surface and 180° inverted reflection.
The assembly of the smartphone is very well done, with all the details perfectly aligned. The phone is made with a glass front, plastic frame and plastic back, but still feels sturdy and well made. There are also four different colour options to choose from - black, blue, white and light green - with the latter having the entire bottom matte part covered in "SPARK" lettering in large glossy letters.
When it comes to the Tecno Spark 9 Pro's camera, I have to say I'm impressed with its specs. The main camera consists of a pair of large individual eyes, with the top one being the main wide-angle unit with a 50 MP sensor, f/1.6 aperture and 27 mm focal length. Photos are recorded at 12.5 megapixels by default, but selecting the full 50 megapixel resolution from the camera app can provide higher detail and warmer color temperature for daytime shots. However, full resolution is not always suitable for every scene due to more digital noise.
While the smartphone can shoot quite well in this class in proper lighting, photos can appear less detailed across the frame and noisier in low-light conditions. A night mode is available that brightens the frame considerably, but photos often turn out unnatural. On the other hand, the 32-megapixel front-facing fixed-focus camera with f/2.5 aperture provides a wide viewing angle and satisfactory color reproduction. However, the amount of digital noise increases in any lighting in the shadows.
The phone offers many different shooting modes in the standard app, including slow-motion video, fast-motion video, panorama, and even augmented reality. I particularly liked the AR Shot, with Animoji/stickers, the facial recognition software and the portrait restoration technique that builds in a bokeh effect. Super Night Mode 3.0 with AI Scene Light Detection, Multi-frame Fusion Optimization Algorithm and Touch-up Restoration Technology appropriately brightens images and provides three-dimensional fill light for the face even in low light.
The user can also take advantage of the eye-tracking autofocus, which is a first for me, and take photos by simply smiling. Although video recording lacks electronic stabilization, the maximum resolution available for shooting is 2K at 30 FPS. However, the result is only good when the phone is stable somewhere, as the sound does not record well.
I am thoroughly impressed with the display of the TECNO SPARK 9 Pro. The 6.6-inch IPS LCD panel comes with the optimum Full HD+ resolution of 2460x1080 pixels and a high pixel density of 407 ppi. The display is bright, saturated and contrasty and the color reproduction is on par. I was particularly impressed by the fact that this is a regular IPS, but the colours were still very vibrant. Although it doesn't have a high refresh rate like some of the other phones in the same price range, the 60 Hz refresh rate is still more than enough for me. I actually prefer a high-resolution display with a standard refresh rate over a low-resolution screen with smooth scrolling.
The viewing angles are relatively wide, and the picture does not distort even with linear deviations. At diagonal deflections, however, there is a slight fading of dark tones, which is characteristic of all screens of this type.
The phone is equipped with an adaptive vision protection mode, a dark theme with the ability to toggle on a schedule, adaptive brightness, screen duration, font size, an accidental touch prevention mode, auto rotate, and several lock screen options, giving me a decent amount of customization options.
As someone who uses my phone extensively in everyday life, I was pleased with the performance of the Tecno Spark 9 Pro. Under the hood, the phone boasts a Helio G85 chipset coupled with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of on-board storage. It also offers up to 3GB of virtual RAM thanks to the HiOS Memory fusion feature. Out of the box, it comes with Android 12 and HiOS 8.6. This combination allowed me to multitask and even play light to moderate games with ease. I tried out games like Asphalt 9, Ninja Arashi 2, Grim Valour, Dead Trigger, Linn Path of Orchards and Critical Ops and they all played without any issues.
However, I did notice some stuttering when playing heavier games like PUBG Mobile and Apex Legends on high graphics settings. In order to get smoother gameplay, I had to lower the graphics settings. However, for a phone at this price, it's impressive that the internal chipset can handle gaming as well as it did, capped at 30FPS.
During the Geekbench and AnTuTu tests, I found the Tecno Spark 9 Pro's performance to be quite good for a phone priced at 170 USD. It can perform excellently under normal use, but when pushed to the limit, performance starts to drop.
Overall, the Tecno Spark 9 Pro delivers impressive performance, especially for its price. The hardware platform is no different from other smartphones using the MediaTek Helio G85 chipset. The phone also allows multitasking, but apps are restarted slightly more often than on smartphones with more memory. There's also a Memory Fusion feature that lets you increase the amount of RAM if there's excess free space in the phone's persistent memory. Gaming-wise, the Mediatek Helio G85 chipset lets you run any modern and demanding project on medium graphics settings, but for some games you'll need to choose low settings.
When it comes to battery life, I have to say that the Tecno Spark 9 Pro did not disappoint me. The phone comes with a 5000 mAh battery, which is quite standard for smartphones in this class. However, the battery life of the phone is impressive and lasted me more than a full day with moderate usage.
I played a few games on the phone and also took a few pictures and was pleased to note that the battery lasted a full day with about 7 hours of screen time. With moderate use, I could expect close to 2 days of battery life with about 8-9 hours of active screen time.
The 18W fast charging technology is impressive. I was able to charge the phone from 2% to 83% in about an hour and 22 minutes. The included 18W Type-C charger worked well and I was able to achieve a full charge in about 2.5 hours.
I have to say that I am quite impressed with the software component of the Tecno Spark 9 Pro. As someone who is new to HIOS 8.6, it definitely exceeded my expectations. The user interface is clean and easy to navigate, with plenty of customization options that allow me to personalize my phone to my liking. One of my favorite features is the floating multitasking window, which allows me to multitask without having to constantly switch between apps.
The game hub is also a great addition, and I like the cloning feature for popular apps. The number of different gestures available is impressive, and call recording is always a plus.
The Tecno Spark 9 Pro's customization options are feature-rich, including a theme store and dark mode. The memory boost app and Phone Master app are very useful, and the Palm Store adds a personal touch to the app experience. There's also a browser and Instant Apps, which is an app for quick access to various games and apps that you can use without having to install them.
Overall, I have a positive feeling about the software and the future potential of HIOS. The fingerprint reader on the side panel is a great addition, but requires a good setup to work effectively. The in-display camera sensor is ultra-fast and secure, making it a reliable method of unlocking the phone. It's also impressive that the Tecno Spark 9 Pro comes with 4 GB of RAM and memory fusion support, as well as 128 GB of internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot.
As someone who recently purchased the Tecno Spark 9 Pro, I can say that the price of this smartphone is reasonable for its specs. The only version available is with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, which is enough for my needs.
Compared to the other models in the SPARK line, the 9 Pro is the most expensive option. However, it's still cheaper than the latest phones in the POVA and CAMON series, so I think it's good value for money.
I bought my TECNO Spark 9 Pro at their official store for Ksh 20,899 while it is available for Ksh 15,599 for the TECNO Spark 9 and Ksh 17,199 for the TECNO Spark 9T which are more affordable. Outside of Kenya, the price for the 4 GB RAM variant is around 170 USD. Although this phone may not be the most affordable on the market, I think it is worth the price considering its specs.
The Tecno Spark 9 Pro is an impressive budget smartphone that offers a lot of value for its price. As someone who loves taking selfies and sharing them on social media, I was amazed by the quality of the cameras, especially the 32MP front-facing camera. The design of the phone is also a big plus and I appreciate the inclusion of a case and headphones in the box.
However, I did notice some performance issues with the phone when it comes to multitasking and playing graphics intensive games. Additionally, the lack of electronic image stabilization and sound quality when recording video are some drawbacks to consider.
I would recommend the Tecno Spark 9 Pro to anyone who wants a budget phone with a good display, a durable battery and decent cameras. It may not be the best option for gaming, but for everyday use and social media photos it's a great choice. And at under 200 USD it is definitely one of the best phones you can get in this price range.
- Amazing camera
- Good battery life
- Type-C support
- Long software update lifetime
- Bloatware - unnecessarily taking up storage space
- Lack of stabilization for video capture
- Lack of fast loading
- Poor refresh rate
- Unreliable performance in graphics intensive games
Tecno Spark 9 Pro video review
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is based on our team's personal experience with the Tecno Spark 9 Pro and third-party sources. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and reliable information, readers should keep in mind that this is a subjective assessment. The writing of this article was not paid for or sponsored by Tecno.