Mister Mo’s TECNO Q1 review [updated]

tecno Q1

The TECNO Q1 is An android smartphone that packs a hardware QWERTY keyboard. Naturally, it is expected that only users who are interested in a physical keyboard will be interested in this device. The Q1 is not as sexy as the P3. If the P3 were to be described as a lady, the Q1 would be a hunk – or a hulk. That’s not necesarily a bad thing. Many ladies would love be seen with hunks. Looks aside, it feels like a well built device. This one will hold up to some more serious abuse. Will it live up to expectations?

tecno Q1 home

Quick Review

If you are not interested in the techie stuff, but just want to know if the TECNO Q1 works well, here is your section.
– solid hardware build
– cramped 2.6-inch display (Android UI’s large icons and real estate seem unsuited to small displays)
– text entry needs optimising: when typing, if you hit the Shift key to type a capital letter, you need to hit it again after typing that so as to return to lower case. Same process is required if you hit the Alt button to use numbers and symbols, you have to hit same button a second time to return to regular letter. This isn’t how we are used to typing, and it takes a bit of getting used to
– battery life is good and should keep through a busy day
– internal storage of 2GB, which is adequate; there are no “insufficient storage available” errors like occur on the P3 because of the very small internal storage space
– apps can also be installed on the microSD card as well
– an 8GB microSD card comes pre-installed in the Q1
– dual SIM functionality
– 13-month manufacturer’s warranty at TECNO service centres in the country for warranty and support issues

Technical Review

tecno Q1 drop down
For the techies and geeks who love to read all the details, here is the part of the review that you want. The Q1 runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM. In use, the device runs smoothly. However, the limited 512 MB RAM means that apps shut down in the background a lot. Of course, when you launch them, they open back to where you left off. 512MB RAM is more than most products from the competition offer at this price range.

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Apps, Management, Multitasking
Pre-installed apps include a Bible, a Quran, UC Browser, Yahoo Messenger, GO Keyboard, Af Market, PalmChat, Flash Share, Carlcare, Files, and Opera Mini, among others. There are also games by Gameloft. Little Big City is a game that looks like fun. I shall try it out later. There is also a handful of uninstalled app files on the phone – I counted 11 of them. The user can manually install these according to his wants. The Q1 allows you to set where you want your apps installed – phone memory or SD card.

I launched WhatsApp and got prompted to do an update, which I proceeded to run. First time on the Play Store, and that needed updating too, alongside 10 other app updates, but all updates were run over Wi-Fi without hitches, so all went well. In a few minutes, my mails were dropping in and all my contacts synchronised to the Q1 via Google. WhatsApp too was up and running in no time. I have not seen a single “insufficient Internal Storage” error in days of updating several apps. Pressing and holding the home button pops up the apps management menu, displaying a horizontal row of thumbnails of running (or most recently used) apps, from where you can select one of them.

tecno Q1 recent apps

Hardware QWERTY Keyboard
A hardware QWERTY keyboard is on board here, so we must look at text entry. The keyboard has large keys, and is comfortable to use. Very. However, text entry is spoiled a little by how the software works. The normal way text entry via keyboards work is that when you hit the uppercase key, the next alphabetic character that you type comes out in uppercase and the software switches back to lowercase automatically without you having to do anything. That is the same way that the ALT key works everywhere else. However, not so here on the Q1. Here, when you hit the shift key to type a capital letter, the software does not switch back after typing the next character. It stays in uppercase till you hit the shift key again. Same thing happens when you ht the Alt button to use numbers and symbols, you have to hit same button a second time to return to regular letter. This isn’t how we are used to typing, and it takes a bit of getting used to. It spoils an otherwise nice typing experience.

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Update on text entry software
Tecno Q1 Go keyboard typing
Like the TECNO P3, the Q1 comes with the Go keyboard aboard, and it turns out that when I activated and used this as default option for text entry, it corrects the above quirks and the typing experience is in line with how one is used to typing. I wonder why TECNO did not activate the Go keyboard as default from the factory. Also, do be sure to install the Go keyboard to the internal memory, or if you ever pop out the microSD card or use the phone as a USB drive with a PC, for that period, you are back to the quirky typing mode.

Dual SIM
Tecno Q1 phone menu
Using the Q1 as a phone is easy too. Of course, TECNO have become the gods of dual SIM phones, and that is present here on the Q1 as well. While the phone menu is not as sexy as the P3’s, it offers similar functionality. Once setup to ask which line to use when making calls, two dial buttons show up in the phone menu marked 1 and 2 to initiate a call on lines 1 and 2 respectively. To make a call, type out the number you want to call or select a contact and hit the corresponding green button. Presto!

Internet
Like most dual SIM Android smartphones that I have seen, the Q1 lets you peg one of the available SIMS on 3G for mobile internet. Both SIMs can be used for internet, but only one can be so pegged to 3G. This helps keep a lid on battery power consumption, of course. Network internet settings were automatically configured correctly for both Etisalat and MTN when I put their SIMs in. Wi-Fi is also available to use, if you have access to a hotspot. You can also configure and setup your Q1 as a hotspot too, which is standard Android fare these days.

Email
Tecno Q1 email attach
For email, both the built-in Gmail app and the generic mail apps are there. Managing email works fine. However, despite the presence of a file manager, when needing to attach files, there are only options to attach pictures and videos. Bummer! But I attempted a quick work around and got the problem solved. ASTRO file Manager is one of my favourite. I downloaded it from the Play Store and installed. Going back to attach files, I selected the option to attach a picture, and ASTRO File Manager showed up. Browsing using that, I was able to find and attach any kind of file to my outgoing emails.

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Tecno Q1 attaching files with ASTRO

Multimedia
Tecno Q1 music

Video plays well on the Q1. The landscape nature of its display means that the viewing is rather nice. There is a pre-installed Gameloft Asphalt Adrenaline 6 video that played back superbly without any stuttering. Same with the other videos that I watched on it. I tested one HD video on it and it played well. The video was AVI format too. FM radio is in there too. The music player is nice and audio quality is significantly louder and better than what obtains on the Nokia Lumia 610. It has much more bass and depth. there is support for playlists, shuffling, and has an equalizer.

Tecno Q1 back case

The 5 megapixel autofocus camera takes passable pictures in good lighting and not so good ones in low light situations despite the presence of an LED flash light. TECNO has included a semi-transparent plastic case that wraps around the back of the Q1 without hiding its body. This is the kind of carry case that I like, as I am not a fan of clothing up my phones. The back case fits snugly and gives access to all buttons, ports and the camera.

Conclusions
The TECNO Q1 does not feel as exciting to me as the P3 does, but again it does not have one of the limiting factors of the P3 either – the low internal memory. The Q1 gets the job done, though that text entry quirk takes some getting used to, and I have to mark it down for that. Can we hope for a software update from TECNO to address this issue? Update or not, you can use the bundled Go keyboard instead, or any other 3rd party keyboard from the Play Store. The small display too might be an issue for some. Like I said earlier, a 3-inch display could have been fitted on this device. Still, performance wise for an Android smartphone, there is little sluggishness in use and the TECNO Q1 chugs along well.

Mo Rating: 8.5/10.

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

61 thoughts on “Mister Mo’s TECNO Q1 review [updated]

  • June 2, 2013 at 4:42 am
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    Good job from Tecno mobile. any. idea about the display, how visible is the screen in direct sunlight. can u play HD videos on it? what about FM radio? finally any idea about the price range? Welldone as well Mr. MO!

    • June 2, 2013 at 4:49 am
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      Awikonko,

      The display washes out in direct sunlight. I tested one HD video on it and it played well. The video was AVI format too. FM radio is in there too. I will update the review with these bits. Thanks.

    • July 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm
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      pls i need help my phone Q1 is if i did’nt on 3G i no go receive call and me too i no go call so i need solution on the problem, and if i on 3G it will be the one that i on that i will be using answering call

  • June 2, 2013 at 9:14 am
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    The Q1 is a phone I’m surely gonna get someday just for the love of my qwerty keypad. But then, kudos must be given to TECNO for such massive jump in the improvemennt of their phone line up.

    Be that as it may, Tecno has proven that those of us desirous of using smartphones don’t have to break any bank before we own them. Cheap, but equally reliable Tecno smartphones are now awash in the market place. Big up guys and Mr Mo, keep those juicy weekly deals coming. I’m loving every bit of it.

  • June 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm
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    I love the phone already. Dual-SIM Android ICS with 2GB internal memory for just less than N17,000? And can i just say the physical keypad trump card is nicely played? That will attract a lot off BB addicts, especially as 4.04 ICS ensures it will be elligble for BBM in July. Budget phone of the century, in my opinion

  • June 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm
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    @Obinna I’m sorry, I don’t understand guys like you. All these things Tecno have been doing in the past year don’t count as re-branding? If you’re so ashamed of the name because it’s “chinco” why don’t you churn out more money and get yourself a Samsung or Nexus

  • June 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm
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    Interesting device! Nice review. Mo, can we have a comparison review of Tecno Q1 and Infinix Buzz X260 sometime soon?

    • June 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm
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      Mo, can we have a comparison review of Tecno Q1 and Infinix Buzz X260 sometime soon?

      brym!,

      Sure! As soon as I can get my hands on the Buzz.

  • June 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm
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    @Obinna why would you want them to lose their identity. If they were from Korea or Canada the name wouldn’t be an issue. I feel you though.

    Mr Mo there is usually nothing on SARS rating for ’em phones. I wouldn’t want to find out in the future that Geektony (geek gluttony) caused my brain to boil over from leaking radiation.

    Tecno F7 anyone?

  • June 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm
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    Good review Mr. Mo. Tecno did an excellent job with this one. Unfortunately, it is always difficult to get a phone that will take care of all the angles with some quirks here and there, in this case it comes in the form of the input system software.

    … The Q1 gets the job done, though that text entry quirk takes some getting used to, and I have to mark it down for that. Can we hope for a software update from TECNO to address this issue?…

    I understand some software keyboards in the Google Play Store also works well with physical keyboards. Touchpal Keyboard claims to predict with physical keyboards too, so hopefully if used with the Tecno Q1 will take care of this deficiency. I think there are some other keyboard software in the Google Play Store that will also work with the Q1.

  • June 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm
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    Yes, you will experience a better typing experience when you install SwiftKey on your Q1. That’s what I currently use.

  • June 4, 2013 at 6:05 am
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    Hello everyone,

    I have updated the text entry section with new details. Thanks for all the feedback.

  • June 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm
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    I love ds phone already. sofar it has ics and I ll b able to get bbm on it. I’m getting one. Bye bye blackberry.

  • June 30, 2013 at 6:49 am
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    I love the phone regardless of the name , cause the name is nothing to me , but the only mess up I am having with my phone is that the battery drains of soo soon after I have made efforts at reducing many things that control the cell consumption such as the backlight , auto on and off , sounds , brightness.

    All I hope is if the company can do more lasting batteries for the Tecno Q1: and I am believing that its due to the Android version 4.0.4

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:12 am
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    nice posts here….i’m luvin d fone alredi…but der’s a question i wanna ask: can i get anoda case(body) for d fone wen d original washes out? I knw china fones dnt av cases in market..i’m hopin dis one is different

  • July 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm
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    mr MO thanks for great job. Buh i’ve this confusion on BBM on tecno q1, pls I need clarifications.

    • July 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm
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      Hello Justice,

      Thanks for the kind words. BBM is not available on any smartphones part from BlackBerry for now.

  • July 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm
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    I played with this phone today and I can’t recommend it to anyone.. the screen is just to small for the body.. the screen on my old E71 felt much better while holding the phone…

    Android on a blackberyesque form factor doesn’t work for me at all (maybe Tecno no try at all, considering I have used the Blackberry Q10 for two days and it was OK)

  • July 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm
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    First, i must commend you, Mr. Mo, for this beautiful post. The excitement is glowing in my mind, TECNO is too much. When they started, a lot of people did not value their products. But now, Tecno is one of the best phones in the market. I like their products right from the very first time they came into the market. TECNO did a very wonderful work for Nigerians, and Africa as a whole. It is them that made the price of phones to come down. Now, they’ve done again, Tecno Q1 has satisfied my need. Tecno products arr worth patronizing. I like it.

  • July 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm
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    thanks 4 dis post,Mo.I just need a fone among n3,p3 and q1.which 1 do u advise me to buy?i’m a lover of games and i love 2 watch live football matches online.expectin reply.thanks

  • July 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm
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    pls i am using the q1 presently and its wonderful bt can I upgrade it?

  • July 29, 2013 at 11:42 am
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    The camera is my problem its not worth the 5mega pixel as claimed. pictures are very dull and dotted….other aspects to me are perfect.

  • July 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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    Pls I need to get one of this techno phone, amongs them, the Q1, N3, P3, and L3 which one is better, becus i need it for my games and wacthing of football of dstv live, pls rply me fast, so dat i no what to do. Thanks

  • August 15, 2013 at 11:02 am
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    sir pls,i am usein dx product of tecno q1 and i wnt 2 sy is a machine 4 evry one.bt sir dia z a litle problem whc is the wifi.i am oportuned 2 hv a wifi at hme bt it is passworded,whc i added the paswrd 2 mi phone bt it kepx telin degtatin me i.p adress since the day i bought the phone.sir pls is the tecno q1 only active 2 wifi that is open to the public?tnkx wil b waitin 2 hear 4rm u.

  • August 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm
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    i just bought one. am enjoying it but something just happened. i cannot set the language. how do i do that. it is no more in english. please assist

  • August 17, 2013 at 6:59 am
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    pls sir my q1 auto operates itsef most tyms and spoils whatever am doin at d moment. how do i stop dis. and d touch screen is none-responding sometimes. how do i stop all dis? tnx

  • August 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm
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    I appreciate this blog.and thread. TECHNO IS DOING A WONDERFUL JOB.

    I WANT TO SELL MY Q1 FOR 14K. and P3 For 11k last . 19 Days old, good as chasis. call: 08086729864 .

  • August 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm
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    tecno q1 is very nice but whenever i receive messages, those front lights don’t blink. any help?

    • August 26, 2013 at 5:57 am
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      Chigo,

      I don’t own a Q1 any longer and so cannot verify whether it runs Skype or not. Hopefully, someone else here who owns one can help with your question.

  • August 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm
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    well,q1 is a nice fone and its nt bad for anybody………….rootin it is d only problem am encounterin for now. I dont really ave an idea of rootin it. ……..any elp?

  • August 30, 2013 at 8:49 am
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    Hi,
    Trying to run whattsup but directing to adjust date.What do i do?

  • August 30, 2013 at 8:52 am
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    I lv Tecno Q1 bcos it look lky bold five blackberry. Tecno product na baba ooo, I love Tecno Q1 very well.

  • September 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm
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    Hello, sir. I’ve been seeing some contradicting specs as regards GPS, processor and hotspot. Does it has GPS and wireless hotspot? Also, is the processor a dual-core processor? Pls, do reply. Thanks in anticipation of a true response.

  • September 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm
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    gud day doc,pls am having issue with my tecchno q1,if my 3g network is selected on any of the sim,i found it difficult to use the other sim,cant make call,i cant receive call,just cant use the sim,pls can u help me out

  • October 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm
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    pls though tecno Q1 na baba cos i dey use am bt sir recently av been unable 2browse wit whatsapp on it just dey tell i shd adjust date nd time pls help

    • October 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm
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      Temitope,

      Have you adjusted your phone’s date and time?

  • October 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm
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    will bbm on tecno q1 be on landscape or potrate pls some one ans

  • October 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm
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    Weneva i set my 3g on a sim,the other sim will not function at all.pls help me out,what shud i do.tecno Q1

  • November 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm
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    Mr Mo, i heard bbm works now on Q1, pls again, can i video chat on dat Q1? Apart from its keyboard ting, dere isnt anyting wrong wif it? Pls reply to my post!

  • November 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm
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    Pls sorry for disturbing u again buh pls just answer my question pls. I tink on Q1, i can switch application nd i can also use BIS on it right, pls tell am confussed. I dnt want 2 make a brutal mistake for buying it. Am waitin sir!

    • November 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm
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      Queenzayne, Yes; BBM should work on Q1, since it runs Android 4.0.4. I am not 100% sure of video chat though. I guess you mean multitasking when you mentioned switching apps? Yes; the Q1 multitasks. I hope that helps.

  • November 13, 2013 at 10:30 am
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    please how can i get to upgrade it to the latest version of android

  • November 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm
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    MY Q1 IS HAVING NETWORK PROBLEM, IF THE PHONE STAY FOR A LONG TIME WITHOUT USE, IT WILL NOT CALL OR RECIEVE . WHAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM? ADVICE.

    • December 9, 2013 at 7:01 am
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      am havin d same problem. pls i nid a solution

  • December 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm
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    I too am experiencing same network problem, pls wat is the solution to network siezing in tecno q1

  • January 15, 2014 at 8:00 am
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    pls can d battery last long up to 8hrs handuse? Kudos 2 u Mr. Mo for d grt update abt Tecno Q1

  • January 15, 2014 at 8:18 am
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    pls one more thing that i wanted to be sure abt d fone is, “Does d fone truely comes with 8gb externa memory card pls?”

    • January 15, 2014 at 8:37 am
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      Olamide,

      My review already provides the answer to this question.

  • January 15, 2014 at 8:20 am
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    pls one more thing that i wanted to be sure abt d fone is, “Does d fone truely comes with 8gb externa memory card pls?”

  • January 19, 2014 at 2:08 am
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    Playstore not loading, whatsapp keeps telling to set time and date even when it’s correct, what is the solution to this?

    • January 19, 2014 at 5:32 am
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      tainabusola,

      Have you tried:

      1. restarting the phone
      2. resetting the phone

  • August 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm
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    Please, on my tecno Q1 I have enough space on my memory card and the storage settings is on memory card, whenever I want to update or download an application it will be telling me ‘insufficient memory’ Please what do I do?

    • August 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm
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      It doesn’t work that way. Any app you install irrespective of where the storage setting is set, takes a part of the internal memory. Check for the (heavy) apps you have installed, remove the unnecessary ones to create some space.

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