TECNO Spark 10 Pro Review: A Beautiful Mid-Ranger

We have mentioned this on a handful of occasions before, but there is a sizeable opportunity when it comes to the smartphone landscape in South Africa. Where three phone makers dominated the space, namely Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, the latter’s powers have wavered of late, leaving an opening for other brands to make a mark.

One such brand is TECNO, which has recently looked to increase its visibility. This resulted in Hypertext reviewing a couple of its devices last year, and for 2023, TECNO appears to have more new devices on the horizon.

The first of these, at least the first to land on our review desk is the TECNO Spark 10 Pro. It’s a 4G-supporting (we’ll explain why that’s important later) mid-range device that retails for a recommended R6 999.

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks getting familiar with the phone to see whether it can stand out in an already saturated mid-range space.

Here are our thoughts on the Spark 10 Pro.

Iridescent looks

We start with the design, and here TECNO has done all the right things. We are real fans of the Pearl White colour option of our review device, which has some beautiful iridescent qualities, changing subtly depending on what angle light hits it from.

This is far from a new technique employed by phone makers, but this is one of the better facsimiles we’ve encountered of late. We also like the matte finish to the back cover, which provides a premium feel to the touch. Even with the generic plastic protective cover (included in the box) fitted to this phone, the iridescent qualities shine through.

As such, we expect the Pearl White option to be the better seller of the two options being made available in South Africa.

Sticking with aesthetics and the Spark 10 Pro is a sizeable device. It’s sporting a 6.8″ FullHD+ screen that we will touch on shortly, but this phone stands tall at 16.8cm. This height adds to the premium feel, and helps the Spark 10 Pro feel like a solid slab in hand.

The rest of the phone is quite clean, with the usual volume rocker, power button, dual SIM tray slot, USB Type-C port found were you’d expect to see them. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack too, which feels like a rarity these days when wireless earphones are in vogue.

Imaging, front and back

Next let’s talk about the rear camera housing. As is the trend at the moment, the housing juts out significantly. The trio of lenses on offer are sizeable too, although they don’t look an eyesore, which is sometimes what we encounter.

Sticking with the imaging the primary lens is a 50MP wide-angle option that features software assistance to improve shooting performance and make it more consistent for users. Added to this is a 0.8MP depth sensing lens, with the aforementioned 50MP doing all the heavy lifting.

In general we found this setup solid in a variety of scenarios. We also enjoyed toggling the 50MP mode on most of the time, but this also means the file size of images snapped are considerably larger compared to the standard point and shoot mode. All said you are getting a nice smartphone camera that won’t leave you wanting.

Up front is a 32MP selfie camera that’s large on the megapixels and detail, but to be honest we rarely whip out the duck face these days to do this lens justice.

As for the display that the front facing camera resides in (it’s a punch hole option), the display is large, bright, and relatively crisp. The only gripe we had with the screen is some slight over-saturation of the display on the edges, but for the most part, watching videos and movies is a pleasant experience.

A little more

Now let’s address performance. In terms of specifications the Spark 10 Pro is boasting what we’ve come to expect from this price point in the market. Here an octa-core Helio G88 processor is present, paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB onboard storage.

This setup yields a willing and able smartphone, but every once in a while there is some lag while multitasking, searching through settings, or quickly switching between apps. It is not a frustrating experience, but is noticeable. This bore itself out in benchmarking, with the Spark 10 Pro scoring a little lower than we anticipated.

On this front, it recorded a single-core and multi-core score on GeekBench 6 of 421 and 1 398 respectively. This is lower than TCL 20 R 5G that we reviewed late last year, which also comes in at R3 899 (RRP).

It could therefore be argued that the Spark 10 Pro could pack a little more punch.

One area that this device performs well above average, however, is battery life. This thanks to a large 5 000mAh battery that seems to sip on juice to last a full two days before a visit to a charging point is needed. It goes without saying that for South Africans, this is a big plus.

Final verdict

For R6 999 (RRP) the TECNO Spark 10 Pro is a solid mid-range smartphone that looks as good as a flagship offering.

It is missing two elements though – better processor performance and 5G.

The latter is of note as TECNO plans to release a 5G flavour of this phone in SA sometime this year. Precisely when, and for how much, remains to be seen, but when you know a slightly better option is on the horizon, it can cloud the value of what’s right in front of you.

As such, we would have liked to see a 5G iteration land locally too, especially for those wanting to spend R7k to purchase a “futureproof” phone.



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