The TECNO Boom J8 is the second coming in TECNO’s music-centric Boom range. The first, the Boom J7, was a device that we love very much here at Mobility Arena. We loved the design, Boom Player and the impressive loudspeaker. But for some reason, the J7 just didn’t make as much waves as we felt it deserved. But the Boom J8 is here now and is looking to change that. Will it? Is this a Hallelujah moment? Come with me on this detailed review of the Boom J8.
– Slim, beautiful design
– Good battery life
– Comes with Boom headphone
– Extra functionality via HiOS
– Smooth/fluid user operations with nice transition effects
– HiOS needs polishing in a few places
– Lag in drop-down menu
The Boom J8 is a well designed smartphone, but it is tiring how every smaller brand now produces one smartphone or the other that copy the iPhone’s design lines. The J8 is another iPhone-lookalike. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? You tell us.
The device is predominantly plastic with metal strips here and there. Or metal-like strips. Overall, it is a pleasing design.
The TECNO logo is imprinted boldly on the rear where the camera lens and LED flash sit. It has two micro SIM slots and one microSD card slot. The usual suspects are all there – 3.5mm port, microUSB port, volume buttons and power button.
The TECNO Boom J8 is the first smartphone to run HiOS, TECNO’s new custom user interface. HiOS is light and fluid. Everyone who I handed the J8 to try out has liked the UI. For more details on how HiOS performs, see my earlier Review of HiOS.
Issues Encountered Using Boom J8
On a daily basis, I would get a pop up that says, “Messaging has stopped” or “Calendar has stopped”. As you can imagine, that became quite annoying. Sometimes, when such messages pop-up, whatever app I am using is terminated.
Also, on a number of occasions, I would create a contact and save it, but when I search through the Contacts app, the contact doesn’t exist.
Lastly, when you swipe down from the top to pull down the drop-down menu, there is a very noticeable lag before the menu responds.
These are in addition to some of the stuff I have already mentioned in my HiOS review. I suspect that these issues may be from HiOS needing more polishing.
Music On The Boom J8
The Boom J8 is sold as a music smartphone. A Boom headphone even came with our package. So, does it live up to expectations? I would say Yes to that. First up, Boom Player is just as good as it was a year ago. Even better now, it allows discovery of music videos too. Which is cool.
But all sorts of apps have been added to enhance the music experience of the J8. There is Boom Maxx, a standalone app that lets you choose various preset audio quality settings. You can create yours too, if you like.
Boom Player has all the standard features you would expect from a music app, plus it lets you find music and videos by African artistes conveniently. It also notifies you of new music when they are available.
What of audio reproduction? After all, what is the point of all the music discovery in the world if it sounds crappy? The builtin loudspeaker is only mono, but it is fairly, not very, loud. Audio quality of the loudspeaker is good too, but not outstanding. Where you get outstanding audio is when you plug the Boom headphone to the J8. Damn! The party really gets started then.
Camera and Photography
The Boom J8 sports a 13 megapixel camera just like its flagship sibling, the TECNO Phantom 5. However, this is not the Phantom 5. The camera is good but does not deliver as good as the 5. If you want a TECNO that takes outstanding photographs, you know where to look.
TECNO Boom J8 runs smooth for everyday tasks, but if you give it more demanding tasks, you will feel it struggle to keep up. Of course, that is expected in this class. It is no heavyweight. That Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM are just enough for everyday use.
We put up the J8 to the usual benchmark tests and came out with the following results:
- AnTuTu: 32,037
- GeekBench: 623 Single-Core, 1,807 Multi-Core
- Quadrant: 14,233
The Boom J8 has impressed us with battery life. We regularly get a full work day of use when connected to a WiFi network and slightly lower endurance if using a 3G network. When using 4G, we still got close to a full work day on it, having to top it off just once during the day.
This is a good phone. It is beautiful and it lives up to the marketing hype. However, HiOS needs fine-tuning. Those errors that keep popping up get annoying after a while. Hopefully, TECNO will fix them in an update. Don’t forget to check out the full TECNO Boom J8 specifications.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.