Mister Mobility’s TECNO POP 4 Review is straight-to-the-point and touches on all the important things. Come on this journey of 2GB RAM, Android Go Edition, and 3G Internet.
TECNO Pop 4 is an entry-level Android smartphone released this year (2020). For some reason, I took an interest in it almost immediately after it was released. I said to myself that i had to get my hands on this phone.
Perhaps that interest is because it is one of the first 2GB RAM phones with Android Go Edition. In case you missed the news, recently, Google made it mandatory that 2GB RAM phones run Android Go. In case, you did not know, Android Go Edition is a lean and trim version of Android that is optimized to run more smoothly on low-end hardware.
Before this time, usually, only 1GB RAM phones ran Android Go Edition. They did run smoother than they would have if using full Android. But they barely did. If you have used a better equipped smartphone and picked up those 1GB RAM Android Go Edition phones, you would quickly feel some mild pain at using them.
I have had TECNO POP 4 with me for a week, and I can say that Android Go and 2GB RAM are a match made in heaven. Every Android phone with 2GB RAM out there should switch to Go Edition, please. The users will sing the Hallelujah chorus again and again.
I have used flagship and upper mid-range smartphones most of my adult life, so you must understand how smooth the POP 4 runs for me to say that this is a smartphone that I can actually use as a daily driver. I’d be pissed by the cameras, though, because I love great cameras. But I can live with the performance.
TECNO POP 4 review: Quick Specs
- 6-inch IPS LCD screen
- Android 9 + HiOS v6.2
- 5 MP selfie camera
- 8 MP rear camera
- 5000mAh battery with 5W standard charging
- MediaTek MT6580M
- 2 GB RAM
- 32 GB internal storage
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- 3.5mm audio headset port.
TECNO POP 4 review: Quick Pros And Cons
Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this device.
- It is well-built and feels solid in the hand
- it has very good battery life
- performance is impressive for a 2GB RAM phone
- the operating system and user interface are riddled with bloatware and ad banners
- it has no 4G LTE radio
TECNO POP 4 review: In the box
In the box are the usual suspects:
- the phone itself
- a hard silicon case
- wall power plug
- USB charging cable
- 3.5 mm headphone
- warranty card
TECNO POP 4 review: Hardware and Design
TECNO POP 4 is a beautiful smartphone. Flip it over to see the back and you will likely fall in love with it immediately. It is plastic, of course, but the phone has a good feel in the hand still.
The back cover can be peeled open, but the battery is not removable. There are two SIM slots and a dedicated microSD card slot.
TECNO POP 4 review: Software
The POP 4 runs TECNO Mobile’s custom user interface, HiOS v6.2, which is based on Android 10. Android 10 is great, but HiOS hasn’t changed much from what it was years ago and so messes up the experience a bit for me. Sure, it has useful features, but it gets in the way too often.
Shortly after setting up the phone, the first ad popped up in the notification shade. I pressed and held down the notification to bring up the menu, and it turns out the ad was routed via the weather app’s notification. So I disabled the weather app from showing notifications, and the ad disappeared.
But it didn’t take too long before another ad banner popped up again in the notification shade and I had to repeat the process to disable notifications for the offending app. And the cycle repeated itself that way – an irritating dance between the phone and myself. Anyway, here is how to block ads on your TECNO phone.
Besides ads popping up at random, TECNO POP 4 came with a truckload of pre-installed apps – pretty much bloatware. I counted at least 17 of them. They include:
- Phoenix browser
- AI Gallery
- Vskit Lite – short videos from Malaysia, etc. Uninstalled.
- Ficool Go – novels and books. Uninstalled.
- AHA Games
- Scooper – a content platform, news, human interest, etc. Uninstalled
- Phone Master
- TECNO SPOT
- Boomplay – can be uninstalled
- RAM cleaner
Some of them – just a handful – could be deleted, and I did uninstall them. Most of them could not be deleted off the phone. Bummer. I don’t use most, yet they are there taking up space.
Most Android smartphone makers do this anyway. Samsung. Xiaomi. Huawei. Infinix. If you don’t want bloatware, go with Google Pixel phones and Nokia phones. All the others are guilty as the devil.
TECNO POP 4 review: Network And Telephony
This is a 3G smartphone. That made us a bit apprehensive at first. What would it be like using 3G Internet in 2020? It turns out that 3G is still very usable. As a matter of fact, 4G speeds are not significantly better, most of the time, so we didn’t feel that we lost out on speed that much.
As far as telephony is concerned, the POP 4 performed well. I didn’t notice any performance issues at this end.
TECNO POP 4 review: Display And Multimedia
The display is a basic one, as we are talking about an entry-level smartphone here. It comes with a screen protector pre-installed on it, so I can’t tell how the screen itself feels like. But the quality of the screen protector is good. It isn’t one of those low-quality ones that makes you want to keep your hands off a phone.
Despite the low resolution, video playback is crisp. Audio is loud, and expectedly lacking in bass. That is standard fare for low-end smartphones, so it isn’t a strike against this one. All good.
TECNO POP 4 review: Photography
You don’t buy an entry-level smartphone expecting to be able to snap great photos. You’d be wasting your time. But it helps if your phone takes better pictures than most other devices in its class.
A comparison is good for seeing where a device stands positionally with the competition. So, we did a camera shoot-out between the POP 4 and itel S15 Pro. The POP 4 shoots better photos, and that is saying something. Its photos are more detailed, if nothing else.
Ultimately, this is a good camera phone for its price. That is good enough/ There is a reason why the best cameras are on more expensive smartphones.
TECNO POP 4 review: Multitasking And Performance
I was a bit apprehensive about the kind of performance that the POP 4 would deliver. Low budget Android smartphones have a terrible reputation here. Performance is important to me because I use my smartphones for work – some editing, image editing and uploading, social media, etc.
I am happy to say that using TECNO POP 4 didn’t result in me wanting to tear my hair out. It is not the smoothest performance, but it is much better than anything else I have experienced on a ₦36,000 smartphone.
If you have ever tried to edit a WordPress article on phones in this class, you would know how frustrating it often is. In this case, I experienced little frustrations. The experience was mostly good.
It looks like Google’s decision to insist that 2GB RAM phones use Android Go Edition is producing the desired results.
TECNO POP 4 review: Battery life
I charged this guy full and set out to use it. After 24 hours, I still had 56% battery power. With heavy use, the battery still gave me 2 days of use. With moderate use, I got 4 days out of it. You read that right – 4 days.
So, a 5000mAh battery in a 3G phone produces superb battery life. I think this is the whole point. But what will frustrate you, as it did me, is the charging speed. The POP 4 has only good old snail charging – it takes forever to charge up.
Don’t ask me how long it takes to charge it. I play it smart and just plug it when I am going to bed. It is fully charged by the time the cock crows the next morning. Bliss. Be like Mister Mobility; be smart.
TECNO POP 4 review: Final Words
TECNO implemented an e-Warranty Card on the POP 4 (see above screenshot). You activate it over an Internet connection (though it took several tries over 6 days for the activation to go through). I find it a nice touch. The days of paperwork for everything are gradually getting behind us. Electronic ID cards, electronic warranty cards, electronic SIM cards, etc, are becoming more mainstream.
In all, I have had a good time with the POP 4. It is an impressive entry-level smartphone. If HiOS were more refined than it is now, I imagine that the POP 4 will shine even brighter. The ads are irritating but can be got rid of with some digging. The hardware is good and the software can be tamed.
If you need an entry-level smartphone that isn’t so sluggish that it makes you want to tear your hair out, has good battery life, and generally gets the job done, and if you don’t mind not having 4G Internet, TECNO POP 4 is the one.
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Way back from the days of EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems, founder of MobilityArena, Mister Mobility, has owned a few hundred smartphones and tablets, and counting.