TECNO Spark 8C Review: A budget smartphone with good looks, good performance, and outstanding battery life

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TECNO Spark 8C is an interesting proposition, primarily because it is one of the most affordable budget smartphones to feature virtual RAM. To be more precise, the Spark 8C has two memory variants – one with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, and a second with 3 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. According to TECNO’s website, only the 3/64 GB variant supports virtual RAM. This point is important to note if you have had an eye on the phone because of that feature.

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TECNO has given their virtual RAM feature a brand name, Memory Fusion. Some models have it listed as MemFusion. The naming inconsistency aside, you get the picture. What virtual or extended RAM does is allocate a small part of your phone’s built-in storage memory for use to assist apps run.

TECNO Spark 8C Unboxing and Review

TECNO Spark 8C Review: Quick specs

    • OS: Android 11
    • Supported Networks: 2G/3G/4G
    • Display: 6.6-inch, 720 x 1600 pixels resolution, 90 Hz refresh rate
    • Processor: Unisoc T606
    • Selfie Camera: 8 MP
    • Rear camera: 13 MP dual
    • RAM: 3 GB
    • ROM: 64 GB
    • External Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot)
    • Battery: 5000 mAh
    • Charging: 10W charging

TECNO Spark 8C Review: Unboxing

TECNO Spark 8C Unboxing and Review

In the box are the following items:

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    • The phone itself
    • Transparent soft silicon case
    • 3.5mm audio headset
    • Wall charger
    • USB cable
    • SIM ejector pin
    • 12 + 1 months warranty card

TECNO Spark 8C Review: Physical Build

The front of the phone is the typical touchscreen slab; it is nothing out of the ordinary. The back is where it gets interesting. The Spark 8C has a design that is quite catchy. The right side of the back panel has vertical grooves with embossed text and TECNO Spark branding on it.

TECNO Spark 8C Camera Review

In the top left corner, you will find the dual camera pod and the fingerprint scanner built into a raised island, and different colours used to demarcate them (pictured above). It is a visually pleasant arrangement. Initially, I wondered what the experience would be using the fingerprint scanner. But it works well. I don’t find my finger tapping on the camera instead of the scanner.

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TECNO Spark 8C Review: User Interface and Software

TECNO Spark 8C runs HiOS 7.6 based on Android 11. HiOS is the name of the company’s custom user interface. It is packed full of useful features. Those feature include: screen recording, peek proof (for hiding what you are reading or typing from Peeping Toms), Vault for keeping your apps and files safe, dual apps, so you can use two WhatsApp lines on the same phone, themes, and game mode, among others. It is a feature-packed toolbox.

However, HiOS can also be annoying, thanks to the barrage of notifications and ads you get peppered with as soon as you set the phone up and it makes an Internet connection. There is an army of pre-installed apps fighting for your attention, and it is quite overwhelming and annoying. The amount of bloat in HiOS is on the high side.

Thankfully, some of those pre-installed apps can be uninstalled. Those that cannot be uninstalled can be disabled. You can also dive into the settings to disable notifications from any app. So, HiOS can be tamed to behave how you want: it is just a lot of work.

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TECNO Spark 8C Review: Network, Phone Calls

In-call audio is a mixed bag. At the other end, callers say the audio isn’t sharp, though it didn’t prevent them from hearing me. At my end, I hear my callers well, though the tonal quality is deep and a little subdued. Which isn’t out of place for a mobile phone in this class.

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TECNO Spark 8C supports 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Setting up the phone for internet access was without issues. Once the SIM cards were in (it is a dual SIM phone), it locked on to the networks and the Internet connection came on. There was no need to dig into the phone settings for anything.

TECNO Spark 8C review: Multimedia

The FM Radio works fine. It requires for a 3.5mm cable to be plugged in and serve as an antenna. You can play radio through the headphone or speakerphone. You can also record shows for playback at your convenience. Music and video playback is good as well.

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FM Radio in TECNO Spark 8C

TECNO Spark 8C Camera Review:

At the back of the Spark 8C is a 13 MP main camera and a QVGA lens, with dual-LED flash. At the front of the device is an 8 MP lens for selfies. I took both for a spin. Have a look at the sample photos below.

Rear Camera:

TECNO spark 8c rear camera indoors lit
TECNO spark 8c rear camera outdoors cloudy sky
TECNO spark 8c rear camera kit park cloudy afternoon
TECNO spark 8c rear camera kit park flags

Selfie Camera:

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TECNO spark 8c selfie camera outdoors
TECNO spark 8c front camera outdoors portrait

TECNO Spark 8C Review: Performance

This section is super important to this review, because it is the unique selling point of the Spark 8C. The extended RAM feature is to improve performance, after all. However Virtual RAM works is that a portion of the phone’s storage memory is allocated to boost the built-in RAM and help keep apps from running out of memory and shutting down in the background.

Our review unit has 3 GB RAM built-in, and Memory Fusion let us enable 1GB, 2GB, or 3GB virtual RAM. We ran the phone without Virtual RAM enabled and then with the feature enabled, and we can say that Memory Fusion does provide a performance boost. With 3 GB virtual RAM enabled, we experienced less shutdowns of apps in the background and so could keep more apps running. 3 GB RAM + 3 GB extended RAM does not deliver the same performance that 6 GB of RAM does, but it does assist.

Personally, I think that Virtual RAM is one of the best developments we have seen in Android phones of recent. We reviewed the Camon 18 Premier and saw it in action there. It is good to see that it is available on the Spark 8C as well.

TECNO Spark 8C Review: Battery Life and Charging

Lastly, we look at the battery life of the Spark 8C. With a 5000mAh battery, we weren’t expecting poor battery life, and we were not disappointed. We readily pushed the phone hard and did not run out of juice till the end of the day. With moderate use, we easily got two full days of battery life. There is 10W charging for topping up the battery as well.

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Last Word

And so we have come to the end of our TECNO Spark 8C review. This is a striking mid-range smartphone that offers decent performance. Battery life is superb, and the cameras are not bad at all either. And you will love to flash the phone wherever you go, because of its distinctive back cover design. It comes in four colour options: Turquoise Cyan, Magnet Black (the colour of our review unit), Iris Purple, and Diamond Grey.

The 2/64 GB base variant sells for ₦59,500, while the 3/64 GB variant with Memory Fusion sells for ₦66,000. Those are competitive prices in the market. If you are looking for a good mid-range smartphone, you should give TECNO Spark 8C consideration.

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One comment

    • It is interesting that we often don’t know thay we are missing until / unless we experience that thing ..

      Before getting this Umidigi A5 Pro, screen resolution was never one of the first thing I look for in a phone. Usually, my focus is on battery size (life) and screen size..

      But the Umidigi changed that.

      For a bargain basement dirt_cheap phone, the screen resolution is 2280 x 1080 (FHD+). With exceptional screen sharpness on a rock_bottom phone, my eyes were literally opened to the joy of sharp screens.

      Been looking for a really cheap phone with similar screen resolution – without success. Phones with FHD+ screen are typically more expensive than those with lacklustre screens.

      So, when I come across a phone now, the first thing I check, apart from the screen size, is the ppi / resolution

      I see something for this 8C like…

      ….
      Display: 6.6-inch, 720 x 1600 pixels resolution, 90 Hz refresh rate..
      …..

      And I immediately tell myself…

      .. naaaah, that’s a poor screen right there , and move on.

      The Umidigi literally opened my eyes.

      Concerning virtual RAMs, what’s the idea? Why bother with VIRTUAL RAM (similar to Paging .. on desktop PCs) if you can simply get a phone with more conventional RAM? Not sure the extra processing needed to swap RAMPages about wouldn’t cause the lag we try to avoid in the first place..

      Then, is also the issue of wear and tear on the memory…

      It’s worth noting that the feature involves constant reading and writing, which is not good for flash memory, as they have limited read and write cycles. So frequent use of internal storage for Virtual RAM reduces your storages predicted lifespan..

      Maybe in data intensive applications like spreadsheet, there could be some improvement in performance, though, but I would simply go for a phone with the biggest conventional RAM apposite to my needs. .

      Virtual storage can do more harm than good where internal storage lifespan is concerned. This is a major reason why Google has avoided this feature..

      Like Adoptive memory that would eventually kill your SD card, virtual memory implementation a phone is probably something I would avoid. A failure of your internal memory from unrelenting read – write cycles may be the end of that phone.. as that’s the brain.

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