Mister Mobility gets his hands on the 2021 TECNO POP 5 entry-level Android smartphone and shares his experience. This phone is a looker, but it can’t be hurried.

TECNO POP 5 hands-on review: a charming phone, but you have to go easy on it

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TECNO POP 5 is the successor to the popular POP 4 (which we reviewed here) from last year. It is an entry-level smartphone, meaning that it has the most basic specs. This is a phone you get only because you cannot afford to spend more.

Have you heard of anyone who buys an entry-level car when they could really afford something better? Maybe there are a few odd individuals like that. But the rest of us….. So, if you are going to buy the POP 5, you need to bear in mind that it is an entry-level phone. Don’t expect a superb camera, a superb screen, or superb performance.

Perhaps the only superb thing you can get from an entry-level phone is battery life. TECNO POP 5 has a big battery and just might offer that. Let’s jump into the key specs of the phone.

Tecno pop 5 review: beautiful back panel

TECNO POP 5 quick specifications

  • Operating System: Android 10.
  • Release Date: April 2021.
  • Network Type: 2G/3G
  • Display: 6.1-inch, 720×1560 pixels resolution
  • Processor: MediaTek MT6761
  • Selfie Camera: 5 MP
  • Rear camera: 5 MP dual
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • ROM: 16 GB
  • Memory Card Slot
  • Battery: 4000 mAh

You can see from the specification sheet above that apart from the 4000 mAh battery, everything about the POP 5 is basic. You get a basic processor, basic screen, 3G network support, low RAM, small built-in storage, and basic cameras.

TECNO POP 5 hands-on review: what’s in the box?

TECNO POP 5 hands-on review: what's in the box?

When we opened the box, we found the following items:

  • The phone itself
  • Transparent hard silicon case
  • Wall charger
  • USB cable
  • 3.5 mm headset
  • Warranty card

TECNO POP 5 hands-on review: the user experience

TECNO POP 5 hands-on review

The reason why you are here reading this article is to see what I think of the POP 5 in use. The first thing I will say about it is that if you have used a more capable phone before getting the TECNO POP 5, you have to tame your expectations. A lot. This is not a power bike. It isn’t even a standard bike. It is a moped or scooter.

in other words, what you get here is basic performance. It gets you online, takes calls, shoots photos, and all, but slowly and at a level that will annoy you if you are in a hurry.

The POP 5 is slow. Tortoise slow. If you tap an app icon to launch it, you have to be patient for the app to load. If you accept an incoming Internet call, you have to be patient for the phone to connect.

This is the kind of phone you call “Baba Go-slow”. It cannot be hurried. You cannot afford to be in a hurry, because it will ignore you. I reviewed the TECNO POP 4 last year, and it wasn’t this slow.

Also, internal memory is a measly 16 GB, out of which you have 12 GB free to use. 16 GB is fair game for an entry-level smartphone, and there is a memory card slot, so you can add more storage space for your files.

What of voice calls? Callers at the other end say quality is low. They can hear me, but there is quite some static interference. Call quality at my end is similar.

In terms of internet connectivity, this is a 3G phone. 3G is slow enough in 2021, and on a basic phone like this, it takes forever to get anything done. You can use Wi-Fi to connect to a faster network, but the slow processor will still tug at your trousers or skirt.

Tecno Pop 5 camera and fingerprint scanner

What of photography? Let’s just say that nobody buys an entry-level smartphone because of the camera. You will get photos from the POP 5, but don’t expect to get the best. This is understandable. Good cameras are costly to build.

That is not to say that you cannot take some superb shots if you are an expert photographer and know how to edit images. But if you don’t have those skills, get a more expensive phone if you are particular about better pictures. Entry-level phones do not exist for that purpose.

Having said that, my experience with the POP 5 is one of the most disappointing I have had with cheap smartphones in a while. I understand the poor camera and slow performance at this price point, but it could at least have delivered on good call quality. That’s unforgivable in my books.

Oh! I do have to mention that it is a really beautiful phone, especially if you get the Blue colour. That back panel is a work of art. That a smartphone is cheap doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.

Battery life is superb, though. That is the huge saving grace of the POP 5: most other phones in this category have measly battery capacities in the range of 2400 mAh. They do not hold a candle to the POP 5’s massive 4000 mAh battery. They will all die on you after a few hours of usage. Not TECNO POP 5: it keeps the lights on long after others have given up. You will easily get a day’s use out of it.

If battery life is the most important need for you and you can’t afford to spend more, TECNO POP 5 is one of your few options at this price point. It costs $87, €70, or ₦40,000, depending on the store and location you pick it from.

You are reading Mobility Arena.

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