We went to town to ask some digital citizens of Nigeria what they think of the new wave of outrage against TECNO and Infinix smartphone brands, especially as seen on Nairaland, Nigeria’s largest discussion forum. It seems to be fashionable to call those brands names these days. The launch of the Phantom 9 seems to have turned the heat on TECNO especially.
So we pulled a list of doctors, ICT professionals, writers, and more, and asked them if they think the backlash is justified. We got some interesting feedback that will interest everyone who has an eye on the Nigerian smartphone market.
The Good Stuff
We kick off with the good stuff, and up first is the response from Austin Ezemelue, MD., a medical doctor who runs a clinic in Lagos:
“I’ve used TECNO phones, especially the Camon series. I used TECNO Camon C9 and CX. They are really good phones especially when you consider their prices.”
Seyifunmi runs an IT business and tweets at @Im_a_MARVEL and contributed this:
My first personal experience with their products was the first Infinix Hot. I remember I asked Mister Mobility for a phone with the latest Android version, dual SIM and a large storage with a good price. He recommended the phone. It was my biggest up until then and my cheapest ironically. I remember being thrilled about how it wasn’t like the regular chinko phone like TECNO and the rest, given the general impression of TECNO being a chinko phone, substandard and all. Then he told me it was the same company making both. That the Infinix brand was their more luxury brand.
The phone was good for me. 16gb storage and 2gb ROM. It served me well for 2 years before I needed something better. I broke the screen a few times and replacement wasn’t so bad for my pocket. I quite easily recommended the brand to people, until I found out that my experience with the phone/brand wasn’t exactly universal.
I have had people complain about how it is no good and no better than its sister brand, TECNO. So I then wondered if the earlier models were better done than the newer ones or I am just an especially good phone user. Well, I do use things well, if I do say so myself.
Then the first Phantom came out and I saw the hype and testimonies and was a bit surprised that it was TECNO, instead of Infinix, that was getting that big improvement. I know people who use those, who have access to/use flagship phones from bigger brands like Samsung and iPhones. Yet these people have great things to say, even though a large number of people still give poor impressions of the TECNO brand.
Fred heads the Pastoral Care Department of a church in Ibadan:
I think it is generally the fans of Tecno/Phantom that are mostly disappointed at the turn of events. Imagine someone that bought the 8… And was looking forward to an upgrade only to discover he’s never going to get any based on the direction the company has decided to follow. To me though, it’s about the bottom line and it’s a no-brainer that companies will always look at this primarily before anything else. Transsion will be OK.
I have been using Infinix devices for about 4 years now (Never used Tecno) and I’m planning on going for Zero 6 next or the next Note if it comes out fast. There are better brands cash for cash but I have to consider after sales & support availability.
Tope is an accountant based in Owerri and says:
Tecno n infinix has been above par for me. The infinix note 5 I’m using is superb,battery wise n camera wise. Tecno phones that I’ve used are also 👍
Tunde Aji is a software developer in corporate Nigeria and has his office on Lagos Island.
I’ve not had personal experience using either of the two brands, but I’ve very close friends and colleagues who uses several variants of Techno. They are happy with them and have not made any complaints of any sorts. I asked them about their devices and one of they gave the following response:
“Me I am die hard Infinix fan o 😂
“I pre-ordered Infinix first product: Infinix Zero and since then I have not bought or used any other brand as my main phone.
“I have used Infinix zero, Note 3 Pro, Note 4 Pro multiple times.
“I use Infinix for the features, design (shape and feel) and very importantly too the battery life of all the models I have used.
“The backlash to me may not come out of experience of the products but what some people just think out. I was in a public place one day and someone close by me talked down Infinix products. I simply asked the man if he had used any of the products before… you guessed his answer… NO. So there are a lot of people who judge things based on either secondary or tertiary info which they themselves have no personal experience to buttress.”
Personally I think it is the ‘chinko’ categorization many have given those brands that is behind the bias. Some of my colleagues have not used an Infinix phone but are already biased against it because of that ‘chinko’ appellation.
Noelle thinks the backlash is a consequence of one brand’s recent entrance to the Nigerian market:
One word: Xiaomi.
If people think they can get more bang for their buck with Xiaomi and get lesser on a Tecno and Infinix that costs more…
I still have my Camon C8. If I do upgrade, it will be to another Tecno. At least I know what I’m getting and I’ll happily support a company that has stuck it out in Nigeria. But that’s me.
By the way, do all Android phones have advertising on them like Xiaomis do?
Not at all, Noelle. Not all Android phones have advertising on them the way Xiaomi phones do.
Dr. Richard Ezeibe, an officer in the Armed Forces, responded with this:
It’s just a 2-bit group of people who want to rubbish those names. They could have been paid to do so. I remember Mister Mobility’s article on why there would no longer be a Phantom series, but I’m glad they’ve proven him dead wrong by coming up with a really better phone.
Nigerians have a herd mentality, so if OPPO is reigning, they go with the flow, or if Nokia is brandishing a new phone, they pitch their tents there. The issue of branding is almost non-existent.
For those interested in reading it, the specific article by Mister Mobility is included in our TECNO Phantom 9 specs page.
Trae‘s response is brief:
Uhm not even aware of backlash. With old age and increase in spending power I’m not so much cost centric these days.
But I guess Samsung and Nokia (with good brand names) increasingly having good low budget phones is a factor.
Ibukun Olaoya, AKA EyeBeeKay, is a tech head and finance professional in Lagos:
I have not used a lot of smartphones in my life (should conveniently fit on the fingers of my two hands), but I have used the TECNO, Infinix, and Xiaomi Redmi brands.
And I buy smartphones for people – on a steady basis. I don’t have a cascade of complaints.
I generally use my smartphones for a minimum of three years Have owned an InfiniX Note 2 (x600) and the TECNO Phantom M9. Both served without issues for at least three years. Excellent phones, decent battery life, those.
If these are any example of the quality of those brands, the trouble-free operation is enough to convince me of their reliability and ruggedness. I would buy them again, and recommend, any day.
Compare an InfiniX s4 with a Redmi 7, and tell me Infinix is rubbish!
The new kid on the block, the Xiaomi sub-brands like the RealMe and RedMi are making waves. They are relative newcomers , so they have to ‘step out to stand out’. They are selling faster than àkàrà balls., and the Law of Accelerating Acceleration is taking place – the Bandwagon Effect.
Having used a Redmi 7 for a few months now (and listening to ululations from co-owner), it is clear that it is a solid brand that would go places. The quality is up there ; the pricing is ultra-competitive, and it is capable of upsetting the Apple Cart (sorry, Infinix / TECNO Cart) .
But that doesn’t make the Infinix / TECNO brands ‘rubbish’. Not by a long shot.
What I think should be done by TECNO and Infinix is become more aggressive in their pricing, as well as increase the efficiencies of their operations.
Quality-wise, I wouldn’t say TECNO / Infinix is rubbish. No.
But since value is a function of pricing, Tecno /Infinix needs to step up – to be on par with the Umidigis, Ulefones and Redmis of this world, who are out to – and are actually – stealing their thunder!
And The Bad Stuff
Anthony works in Lekki. Here is his take on the outrage:
I do think the backlash is justified, because tecno and infinix have come a long way imitating each orders designs and spec of there products. Not really improving the brand standards to a higher competitor.
New brands are out, that makes the same spec and designs. Whole lot of competition.
Gbolahan Odukoya is a Gospel musician and celebrity guitar tutor.
I bought a Tecno Pouvouir after 2yrs of using Infinix which I noticed lasted exactly 1yr before it became necessary to change it. The Pouvoir seemed like all I wanted & I also had a 32GB memory card transferred from my Infinix. I bought the TECNO last July & finally discarded it & reverted to a Samsung this early May. It was absolute torture using that TECNO Pouvouir & I will never wish that experience on my enemy. U may go ahead & use my name sir. It was a horrible experience, that will never repeat itself. I will stay true to Samsung no matter how expensive they become.
From Udegbunam Chukwudi of PatchWorkOfTips:
I’ll always say it, my experience with those brands have been a mess. First was the Infinix Zero 3 which was great for like 2 months and then it started misbehaving. Lagging terribly and what not. I held on to it because of the excellent camera but eventually had to let it go as my priority shifted heavily to performance.
I see this lag issue play out with EVERYONE close to me who has ever used their devices.
Up next was the Tecno WX3P which worked fine for like a month or so and suddenly the battery life went to hell. The 5000mAh effect just wasn’t felt anymore. Infact I just purchased a Xiaomi Redmi Go 3 days ago to replace the TECNO WX3P as the battery started swelling like over 6 months ago. It started like a wet spot on the screen which I ignored thinking it was screen protector air bubble until a month ago when I noticed the battery was actually swollen and pressing against the screen🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️.
TECNO and Infinix need to sit up and realize that it’s not business as usual anymore. They need to up the quality of their mobile device components.
Xiaomi is here to stay and will eat their market share without breaking a sweat if they don’t sit up. They already have the camera department secured and just need to work on software that actually works (It’s not by force to do custom UI biko. Vanilla Android works just fine) and hardware that delivers.
My 2 cents ✌️
An Ikoyi-based Administrator, who asked to remain anonymous, had this to say:
I do think they are kinda inferior but then again it pays to remember that they ain’t high end phone so one should expect too much from it.
The only period you’d enjoy it is just for a few months after it has been bought. After that the performance in all ramifications starts to degrade. My mum currently uses a tecno and when I handle it , it takes all I have not to chuck it at the wall. My friend requested a different phone from Samsung and I helped get her a high end phone infinix. Within 2 weeks we sold it at a loss and she went back to Samsung. Had a litany of complaints but the main issue was it get so hot during charging n use, she was afraid it would burst into flame one day.
To me it’s a half baked phone which caters to a market for people that are looking for cheap phones and one shouldn’t expect too much from it but then again it doesn’t mean that tecno should skimp out on the basic decent quality of a phone that makes it enjoyable.
Etoniru Chibueze was once on the MobilityArena staff. He now runs a web design firm in Abuja. His response indicates that this backlash is nbeing discussed elsewhere too:
Honestly, we had this same conversation in the Geek group 😃 I didn’t even know it reached Nairaland. This new TECNO Phantom 9 is crap. I heard about it, watched the review and was really disappointed. They are just churning out without looking to bring uniqueness to the brand.
The Phantom 5 was a huge innovation at its time, but this is shit. It is foolish to cramp a 6+ inch 1080p screen along side 3500mah battery. That phone cannot take you through 1 day. It’s not as if TECNO can boast of optimizing performance.
No USB C. The only good thing there is the onscreen fingerprint scanner. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 of almost same price is 10 times better purchase option.
Sokabullah is an Ibadan-based banker, and he responded with this:
Thank you very much sir for this great opportunity.
I must confess that I sold my infinix hot 6 pro and bought Nokia 3.1+.
Once TECNO and Infinix launch a product, that’s the end. Most times, the device gets no updates. Even the one they give most times will end up destroying the phone, their customers will start shouting that they want to downgrade.
Just yesterday, I got another update on my current device, with June security patch.
Their processor most times is below par. I am not repeating what others have said. It is what I have experienced. Personally it’s over between me and TECNO and Infinix.
Goke, a Lagos-based content creator says,
“I tried TECNO twice in 2015. I had to switch to Samsung. My J7 lasted 3 solid years! If not the my daughter broke the screen I’d still be using it. Now I’m on S9. The TECNO brands quickly pickup malware. May be it’s intentional, maybe the antivirus capabilities are poor, I dont know. But the malware issue is highly suspect. Not Nokia, Huawei, Samsung or any of the global brands have this issue. So something is really wrong at TECNO brand softwares. Their R&D dept needs to step up.
“They launched their high end models to conquer the premium phone market but with these issues it’s not going to work. No one will spend N100,000 on theirs when there’s a much more long lasting competitor. The new Nokia series are a very good run for their money. They can continue to dominate the low end market but that’s not going to be for too long if these issues aren’t dealt with.”
Soji Ogunnaike is Founder & CEO of a next generation video content firm:
Bloatware, false advertising and inferior materials have plagued the tecno brand for years. They really should stop trying to position it alongside flagships when at best they are mid-tier phones. They should take a cue from Xiaomi.
The Not-So-Bad, Not-So-Good
Abiola is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer. He also sells smartphones and so is quite analytical in his response:
It has been a while I followed news on TECNO or Infinix, nor do i understand Transsion’s market strategy. TECNO and Infinix has been piss poor in the mid range “flagship” category and it has been going on for several iterations of the Phantom, Note and Zero series.
For users aware of offerings from other Chinese manufacturers – Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, Asus, Meizu, Ulefone, UmiDigi – Transsion’s devices are under-powered and expensive. Users want better value. I’ve never used a TECNO or Infinix device.
The Phantom 9, although reasonably priced, could have been better. The Helio P35 could have been any Snapdragon 600 series, and it would win the hearts of users averse to Mediatek processors.
The storage option is very good, 6GB 128GB and the dedicated card slot is a plus.
Screen is an AMOLED display and replacements are going to be expensive. The under display Fingerprint too. Glass protection is not mentioned, build quality takes a hit.
3500mah battery with no mention of fast charging. Fast charge is king. TECNO has a habit of hiding specs, I’m sure you know.
Transsion is trying in the entry level department, but they leave much to desire in the mid-range department, and users are right to point that out. They may have captured camera-centric customers with the Camon series, as well as with the availability of accessories and customer service too.
So there you have it. I’ll pick a Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 over Phantom 9 any day.
An Abuja-based journalist, who requested for anonimity, had this to contribute:
I can’t say if backlash is entirely justified or not, given I have never used TECNO before. Infinix on the other hand is another story entirely. I generally had a good experience with my Infinix Note 3 Pro, though it gave me some charging problems asfter a while. It is not likely that I am buying the brand again and that’s because one, I am an adventurer with mobile devices and more importantly, like most consumers, I want better durability.
I guess people are a little angry that the devices are no longer as durable as they once were. But if you look at how relatively affordable those smartphone devices, it’s not very likely that they will be. I doubt if the makers of Infinix and TECNO have the financial muscles to give consumers durable and affordable products at the same time.
And On A Final Note, Some Food-for-thought
Nejeeb Bello has a very interesting spin on the ongoing outrage:
“TECNO started this hype of blowing up the features and performance of their newly launched phones out of proportion.
“They used influencers, especially on Nairaland and Twitter, to claim that their newly launched phones were either of the same quality, or better than the latest iPhone models. When people bought the phones and got disappointed, this backlash started building up, and now, there’s an entire army of attackers on these platforms, ready to tear anything from TECNO apart.”
And on that note, the results of our Vox pop over the ongoing outrage against TECNO and Infinix smartphone brands comes to an end.
Feedback has been a mix – there are those who have had good experiences with the two brands and think that they are doing fine, while there are those who have had less pleasant experiences with them.
Where do you pitch your tent? What has been your experience with TECNO and infinix phones? Where do you stand in this heated period?