TECNO Spark 20 Review: For Your Consideration

In recent years, TECNO Mobile has truly surprised us. The lesser known of the current wave of Chinese phone makers looking to make inroads in South Africa, the brand has slowly but surely been making ridiculously affordable devices available locally.

Yes, that is the model that most Chinese phone makers employ, but with TECNO is feels a little different, as its devices, and in particular the Spark series, have served up a no frills, solid smartphone experience that has proved impressive.

It is part of the reason why the Spark 10 5G was one of our picks for great affordable phone options recently.

This week the Spark 20 series has been launched in SA, led by the intriguing Spark 20 Pro 5G which is earmarked to land in July. Our attention now, however, is on the lesser specced Spark 20, which is available to purchase for R6 999.

With TECNO offering up a number of devices within the Spark 20 lineup to git different price points, and the aforementioned Pro model on the way, can this model stand out from its own brethren, as well as an extremely competitive mid-range market?

We have had the Spark 20 in for review over the past couple of weeks to find out. Here’s our verdict on this new phone from TECNO.

Simple is best

Kicking off with design and we’ve become big fans of how TECNO approaches the aesthetic of its more recent Spark series phones.

It keeps things ultra simple, and our review model comes in a colourway called Gravity Black. The rear cover has a slight iridescent quality to it, and overall the device has a real premium feel to it that is certainly better than some of the devices in a similar price bracket that we’ve reviewed in recent months.

In terms of what you get in the box, which is an important consideration in the mid-range space, TECNO does not leave you wanting. This as a generic plastic protective cover, wired earphones with 3.2mm jack, USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable, and 18W two-prong wall charger are present alongside the phone.

While the cable is usually included, having all other accessories has increasingly become a rarity among other smartphone brands.

The full specifications of the TECNO Spark 20 are as follows:

TECNO Spark 20
Display6.6″ LCD (1612×720)
ProcessorOcta-core MediaTek Helio G85
RAM8GB (+8GB extended RAM)
Battery5 000mAh
Rear Camera50MP wide-angle, 0.08MP auxilary
Front Camera32MP selfie
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2, WiFi 5, 4G/LTE
RRPR6 999

No notes

Now for performance and here the Spark 20 features a little trick we’re more and more of from mid-range phones – extended RAM. Natively featuring 8GB of RAM, the Spark 20 can incorporate up to 8GB of visual RAM from the plentiful 256GB of storage in order to give the device a little more oomph for processor-intensive tasks like mobile gaming.

In the case of our review device, it already had the additional 8GB of extended RAM set as default. This yielded a snappy performance in hand with the phone quick to load applications, switch between them, and multitask when needed.

As for benchmarking, the Spark 20 performed ably here too, recording 429 and 1 458 for the single-core and multi-core tests in GeekBench. Interestingly this is not more than the Spark 10 5G we reviewed last year mustered, but is more than the Huawei Nova 12i in certain aspects.

All in all, the Spark 20 is well specced enough and should not let you down, especially when it comes to battery life, as the large 5 000mAh battery onboard sips on power and gets two days of use out of it pretty handily.

Shifting to the camera performance and this too is solid. There is a 50MP wide-angle lens on the rear which is accompanied by a far smaller 0.08MP auxiliary one. The former does all of the heavy lifting and in our experience shoots well, capturing nuance and detail, as well as reproducing colour accurately. We were also pleasantly surprised that images did not look overexposed in outdoor conditions, which is sometimes a downside to cameras found on phones within this price bracket.

The camera on the Spark 20 should then prove a dependable tool, although we did wish there was a way to toggle the 50MP mode on as default, as having to select each time we open up the camera app can get a little frustrating.

Final verdict

At R6 999 (RRP) the TECNO Spark 20 is well priced, but there are other options on the market that are similar in specification and performance while not costing as much. As solid an experience as the phone delivers, South African consumers are becoming increasingly cost savvy as the price of technology also rises.

For that reason, while the Spark 20 ticks all the necessary boxes, it’s priced at an amount that feels just slightly too much. If the asking price were R1k less, it then becomes a can’t miss device for discerning smartphone users.

Given how competitively priced mid-range phones need to be these days, this latest offering TECNO just falls shy of hitting the mark for us. It may be worth waiting for the more expensive (R10 999) 5G-supporting Pro model to roll around instead as a better value proposition as a premium mid-range phone.

Still, TECNO has assembled a mightily solid phone here in the Spark 20.



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