In today’s review, we will focus on a new affordable smartphone from the Tecno brand – Tecno Spark 6. A smartphone with a large display, powerful hardware for its segment, an impressive battery and at the same time an extremely attractive price. So let’s take a closer look at whether the new product really has something to offer a potential user.
Tecno Spark 6 full specifications
|Network||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Launch||Announced||2020, September 25|
|Status||Available. Released 2020, September 25|
|Body||Dimensions||170.8 x 77.3 x 9.2 mm (6.72 x 3.04 x 0.36 in)|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Display||Type||IPS LCD, 480 nits (typ)|
|Size||6.8 inches, 109.8 cm2 (~83.2% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||720 x 1640 pixels (~263 ppi density)|
|Platform||OS||Android 10, HIOS 7.0|
|Chipset||Mediatek Helio G70 (12 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55)|
|Memory||Card slot||microSDXC (dedicated slot)|
|Internal||64GB 4GB RAM|
|Main Camera||Quad||16 MP, PDAF
2 MP, (macro)
2 MP, (depth)
|Features||Quad-LED flash, panorama, HDR|
|Selfie camera||Single||8 MP|
|Features||Dual-LED flash, HDR|
|Comms||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS|
|USB||microUSB 2.0, USB On-The-Go|
|Features||Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity|
|Battery||Type||Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||Fast charging 18W|
Price and positioning
In some countries Tecno Spark 6 comes in two versions. Both with 4 GB of RAM, but with different storage capacity: it can be 64 GB or 128 GB. The younger version is available for purchase for about $142, and the other one is sold for $155.
At the time of publication of the review, this is the most expensive smartphone of the manufacturer, which is available on our market. At the very least, it replaces the Tecno Spark 5 Pro, which we looked at earlier. The latter, by the way, is still on sale, so I recommend reading its review as well. Why? Because Tecno Spark 6, looking ahead, is not for everyone.
What’s in the box
Tecno Spark 6 comes in a large yellow-blue cardboard box with different textures. There is a lot of stuff inside: the smartphone itself, an 18 W power adapter, a USB/microUSB cable, a simple wired in-ear headset, a transparent silicone case, a lot of accompanying documentation with a 12+1 month warranty and a SIM card eject tool.
Personally, I like the case less than the one from the Spark 5 Pro, because it is completely glossy. But in general, it protects the smartphone fine: there is a side around the camera unit, around the display, the buttons are duplicated, and the ports on the bottom are with caps. And, of course, there is the Manchester City emblem, which fans of this football club will surely appreciate.
Design, materials and build quality
Design-wise, Tecno Spark 6 turned out to be interesting, although not in everything. In front, for example, there is a 4.85 mm front camera embedded in the screen in the upper left corner. And that’s not bad, in my opinion. The bezels on the sides and above the screen are not the thinnest, but bearable. But here the margin is really large at the bottom.
Let’s look at the back. First of all, the camera unit is round which makes it dissimilar to the typical design of smartphones from other manufacturers. The block itself protrudes slightly above the surface and is visually divided into two unequal halves.
Now with regards to the colors. In our case, we have the Comet Black model, which is black with a slight grayish tint at the bottom and broken diagonal lines there. There is also Ocean Blue on sale. There can also buy Dynamic Orange and Misty Violet, but only in certain markets.
The back plate is entirely made of glossy plastic. On the front there is a glass on which a protective film is applied directly from the box. The film is okay, but on my copy it was not glued well enough – there was a speck of dust with a bubble. The build quality is imperfect; when you press on the back panel, it creaks slightly.
What’s in the front? Everything you need and even more: a selfie camera, an earpiece and multimedia speaker, light and proximity sensors, and a front-facing flash – a classic element in Tecno smartphones.
On the right side there are two buttons: power and volume. The second is supposedly divided into two, but in fact they share the base. However, by touch you can understand where the finger is. On the left there is a slot (with a rubberized seal) for two nanoSIMs and a microSD memory card.
The top edge is completely empty, with no additional elements. Below, in turn, there is the main and only microphone, as well as a microUSB port and a 3.5 mm jack for headphones (or something else). Once again, I will complain about the use of microUSB, it is high time for the manufacturer to switch to a modern and relevant USB-C standard.
The back panel is concise: the camera unit, which I already talked about, the oval area of the fingerprint scanner under it, and the vertical Tecno Spark inscriptions at the very bottom.
The Tecno Spark 6 is a very large smartphone, even now that 6.5-inch devices are considered commonplace. Here, 6.8″ and the dimensions of the Spark 6 speak for one thing: it is unrealistic to use the device with one hand comfortably.
Despite being 9.2mm thick, the device doesn’t feel too bulky. The buttons are very well located – your finger lies just between the power and volume buttons, and you can use reach them with either hand.
Tecno Spark 6 display
One of the main features of the Tecno Spark 6 display is its size. As mentioned, this is a 6.8-inch panel. The screen uses IPS LCD technology, its resolution is HD+ (1640 × 720 pixels), the aspect ratio is 20.5:9, and the pixel density is 264 ppi. The manufacturer also reports a peak brightness of 480 nits.
How good is it? Well, it’s decent. It has good color rendering, a decent maximum brightness and good viewing angles. Under certain angles, it fades slightly, but at linear angles everything is fine.
But the resolution is not high enough. It, in my opinion, was not enough for 6.6″ in the Spark 5 Pro, and even more so for 6.8″. If you have good eyesight, you will notice that the icons on the desktop are not very clear. In general, the resolution is the weakest point of Tecno Spark 6 screen.
There are not many settings: eye protection mode, system dark theme, accidental touch prevention and… that’s it. Interestingly, in the new version of the shell, the ability to turn on the black fill of the area on top was removed. But I absolutely do not see this as a problem, since it’s really not needed here.
Tecno Spark 6 Performance
The smartphone is powered by Helio G70, a mid-level chipset from MediaTek. It includes 8 cores, which are divided into two clusters: 2 Cortex-A75 cores operate at a maximum clock speed of up to 2.0 GHz, and the remaining 6 Cortex-A52 cores operate at a maximum clock speed of 1.7 GHz. They are helped by the Mali-G52 MC2 graphics accelerator.
RAM, as already mentioned, in all modifications provides 4 GB, memory type is LPDDR4x. In general, this is the golden mean for devices in the budget segment. And Tecno Spark 6 is no exception – this volume is quite enough to ensure the normal performance of a smartphone.
Storage here, let me remind you, is 64 or 128 GB, but the eMMC 5.1 drive is not the fastest. I tested a 128 GB version, of which 110.33 GB are available to the user. But even if you choose the option with a smaller drive, you can always install a microSD memory card up to 256 GB. There is a dedicated slot that does not take away the ability to use two SIM cards, which is always nice.
In operation, the smartphone is quite fast and even smooth. The shell works fine, the apps as well. Of course, no one is insured against microfreezes, but it’s fine overall. With games, things are not bad considering the price segment. Here’s what the measurements made through the Gamebench utility:
- Call of Duty Mobile – medium graphics settings, depth of field and shadows enabled, Battlefront mode, an average of 54 FPS; Battle Royale, an average of 39 FPS
- PUBG Mobile – high graphics settings with shadows and anti-aliasing, an average of 30 FPS
- Shadowgun Legends – ultra graphics, an average of 40 FPS
These are the maximum graphic settings available for this smartphone, and unlike the Tecno Spark 5 Pro, the device can handle even such resource-intensive titles. It will cope with less demanding ones with a bang; the case does not heat up much.
Tecno Spark 6 cameras
Cameras. There are many of them in the smartphone, but not all of them work as you expect. The main unit consists of four eyes: the main module is 16 megapixels, f/1.9 with PDAF phase focusing, there is also a 2 megapixel macro camera f/2.4, a 2 megapixel depth sensor and a QVGA module for determining the scene.
Tecno Spark 6 makes photos typical of this price range. During the day and in good light you can make decent pics, with sufficient detail and correct color reproduction. But the worse the conditions are, the more digital noise and less detail will be noticeable. Interestingly enough, the settings include a background blur mode, AR effects and AI optimization.
There are no revelations about the macro camera either. It’s the same as in entry-level and even mid-range smartphones. What I mean is that it it needs very good light and, preferably, a static object. There is no autofocus, we have a fixed distance of about 4 cm from the peephole to the actual subject.
Curiously, the maximum video resolution is not Full HD (1920 × 1080), as you would expect, but 2K (2560 × 1440). I can’t say that this somehow strongly influenced the final results. And yet, sharper footage is obtained at higher resolution. In any of the available resolutions, video is recorded at the same frame rate – 30 FPS, and no electronic stabilization is provided. But there is a bokeh effect for video, although in this mode you cannot select a resolution higher than 720p.
The front-facing camera in the smartphone is 8 megapixels with f/2.0 aperture and it is not particularly impressive: the detail is mediocre, the colors are slightly pale and the dynamic range is poor. For video calls in general, it will be enough, but if you take a selfie, then it’s better to do it with HDR turned on, which in this case really helps. Colors, in turn, can be slightly embellished with built-in filters. The video on the front-facing camera is also written in 2K resolution. Various beautifiers are also provided: smoothing the face, changing the skin tone, enlarging the eyes, and so on.
The camera application has many modes: short videos (up to 15 seconds), videos, photo, beauty mode, blur, AR shooting, slow motion, panorama and documents. A little life hack – if you pull down the top row of quick settings, it will go down to about the middle of the screen. This also makes interaction with a smartphone a little easier.
The fingerprint scanner is located on the back of the smartphone, it is at a very good height and works just fine. The unlocking is accurate and lightning fast. Again – a cut above the scanner in Spark 5 Pro.
Face unlocking also works well and if there is at least some light around, it will be fast. And when it’s dark, you can turn on automatic increasing the brightness of the display backlight.
As for additional features of the fingerprint scanner, we have the following: choosing an app to launch when you apply a certain finger, blocking apps, turning off the alarm, recording a call and accepting an incoming call by touching the pad.
To unlock with a face, there is only the aforementioned increase in the brightness of the display and the choice of an action after a successful scan; you can either stay on the lock screen or immediately go to the desktop or an app.
Tecno Spark 6 battery life
Despite its impressive dimensions, the smartphone received a battery of the same capacity as the Spark 5 Pro, 5000 mAh. But either more energy-efficient hardware has been installed here, or maybe the software is more optimized, but despite the increased screen size, the device holds the charge even better.
On average, the smartphone survived for two full days of various activities with 10-11 hours of the screen. If you use the device less often and do not overload it with games, it is quite possible to get three days. The PCMark 2.0 battery test at maximum screen brightness reached almost 11 hours and 57 minutes. For comparison, this is an hour and a half longer than the Spark 5 Pro.
The manufacturer reports that the smartphone supports fast 18W charging, but in fact, I would not call this process too fast. The supplied power adapter (18 W) and the Tecno Spark 6 cable charges the phone from 0% to 94% in 2.5 hours. This is quite slow by modern standards, even for such an impressive battery.
- 00:00 — 0%
- 00:30 — 21%
- 01:00 — 40%
- 01:30 — 60%
- 02:00 — 79%
- 02:30 — 94%
Sound and communication
At the beginning, I already mentioned that the speaker in Tecno Spark 6 is solitary and it serves as both a an earpiece and a multimedia speaker. Why they decided not to put a separate speaker for playback in such a massive smartphone is not entirely clear to me. But such a step back spoiled the impression somewhat.
As an earpiece speaker it works well. But for listening to music or watching movies, it is not suitable because of the narrow frequency range and not the highest volume. This is the default. There is Dirac technology in the sound settings, which significantly increases the volume, but does not produce any positive effect on the sound quality. The sound is decent in the headphones, Dirac also works, but I liked the default sound more.
There are not many wireless modules. There is no, for example, NFC, which is obviosly irritating. But there is Wi-Fi 5 with dual band support, as well as Bluetooth 5.0 and A-GPS. In the test sample both these modeuls worked fine, but GPS has problems with positioning. I hope the updates will fix this.
Firmware and software
The software side of the smartphone is the proprietary shell called HiOS 7.0; it’s based on the Android 10 operating system. On the whole, it is convenient, highly customizable and relatively feature-rich. There are two types of system navigation (full screen gestures and buttons), game mode, Social Turbo (various add-ons for the WhatsApp messenger), a sidebar with quick access to some actions, and a whole range of different gestures.
Tecno Spark 6 turned out to be a very interesting option in the end, but as I said at the beginning, it’s not for everyone. Because its main feature, a 6.8″ display, will scare away some people. But if the large display is fine for you, then you’ll get the following set of features: productive hardware, good memory (considering the price tag), excellent battery life and a nice design.
In addition, some of the flaws that were observed in the last generation of Tecno Spark were corrected in this smartphone. However, the manufacturer still has something to work on. For example, it needs to improve cameras not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively. Also, with such a large display, I would like to have a higher resolution. Tecno Spark 6, I think, will suit gamers – it has a large screen, decent hardware and a lot of memory – as well as just fans of large displays and long-living devices.
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