A lot has been said about the Made in India smartphones; however the data specifying the actual numbers of handsets getting manufactured in India is still a topic of discussion. Amidst the ambitious 'Make in India' scheme, Tecno Mobile, a part of Hong Kong based group Transsion Holding that also owns iTel has announced five Android smartphones for the Indian market.
Interestingly, these are not made in India products, but are claimed to be made for India devices. The company says that the handsets are especially designed keeping in mind the usage of Indian consumers by integrating region based features to enhance the usability.
Tecno has announced five handsets- Tecno i3, i3 Pro, i5, i5 Pro and i7 for India. The most affordable handset in the lineup- the Tecno i3 is priced at Rs. 7,990 and the flagship handset-the Tecno i7 will sell at Rs. 14,990, which we are going to talk about in detail in this review.
Here's what we have to say about the Tecno i7, the sub Rs. 15k Android smartphone featuring an all metal build, 4GB RAM and Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the box.
Design: Tecno i7 is by far the most premium handset in the sub Rs. 15k price-point
A look at the device and its feel in hands will make you say that Tecno i7 is build to turn heads and to last long, something we Indians admire a lot. The all metal construction gives the handset a solid feel and also a substantial weight, making it a bit heavy when compared to other smartphones in the ame price-point. Tecno i7 is also quite sleek and has been given rounded corners and edges for a comfortable feel in hands.
There are minimal bezels on either sides of the display and you also get a fingerprint sensor fitted on the clickable home button at the bottom of the screen. Two touch capacitive buttons are also provided to let you access recently opened apps and to return to previous menu.
Sadly, these touch capacitive buttons have no inbuilt light and no toggle feature is provided in the settings menu to make them lit up. This makes it a bit tricky to operate the handset during night.
The power button and volume rockers are also metallic, placed on right and offer a good tactile feedback. The hybrid SIM card tray is positioned on left and the 3.5mm headphone jack is placed on top. You will find the microUSB charging port at the bottom with speaker grilles.
Coming on to the rear side of the handset, the matte finish metal feels good to hold and does not feel slippery in every day usage. The 13MP camera module is placed at the left corner along with a quad flashlight module. Besides, another striking design element is the shiny chrome antenna lines at top and bottom of the rear panel that gives Tecno i7 a unique look.
Overall, Tecno i7 is ergonomic, feels sturdy in hands and is one of the most premium looking smartphone in its price-point.
Display: A Crisp and Vibrant 5.5-inch Full HD screen
Tecno i7 features a 5.5-inch full HD IPS LCD screen. The display also gets a 2.5D curved glass on top that adds a premium touch to the front fascia and also improves the viewing angles. The screen offers a pixel density of 400ppi making text, pictures, videos and other multimedia content crisp and sharp to look at. I also found the screen very bright and vivid to be easily usable in outdoor conditions.
As far as screen protection is concerned, Tecno i7 comes with Nippon Electric Glass to protect i7's display against accidental damages. A slight shift in colour reproduction can be noticed, but that too when you view the screen from very steep angles.
Tecno has added an 'Outdoor' mode for a comfortable outdoor viewing experience. The feature boosts up the brightness to maximum level for the first 15 minutes under direct sunlight. After 15 minutes of usage, the handset adjusts the brightness level depending upon the surroundings.
Hardware: Effortless multitasking
Powered by a 4GB RAM, Tecno i7 sails through every day jobs with an ease and can also handle memory intensive tasks without breaking up a sweat. You can use social media apps, play games, edit pictures, ply music, etc. simultaneously on the smartphone. The smartphone is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek 6750 chipset, which is not the best bet in this price-point but gets the job done.
Tecno i7 is also not build to run heavy games, but it can easily manage casual games like Contact Killer, Spiderman Unlimited, Temple Run without nay performance issues. Besides, the audio performance is decent and the fingerprint sensor that also comes with anti-oil coating works smoothly and wastes no time in unlocking the handset.
There is 32GB internal memory that can be expanded via microSD card.
Software: Runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the box.
A highlight feature of Tecno i7 is the Android 7.0 Nougat mobile OS out-of-the box. Not many handsets are providing the latest iteration of Google mobile operating system and it's good to see the handset running the latest one.
The UI is not stock Android, as expected, and you get a layer of customizable skin- Hi OS on top of it. The Tecno's Hi OS customized skin is quite colourful and is mostly clutter free. It runs smoothly for most of the part and also features several pre-loaded apps that come handy in everyday usage.
For instance, Hi Manager provides useful insights about smartphone's data and memory consumption. You can also manage apps and clean up memory with just a tap. The Hi OS also comes with Hi cloud to backup and restore contacts, messages, call logs, etc. and you also have a dedicated theme store- Hi Theme to change the look and feel of your handset.
There are other useful features embedded into the customized skin. These nifty software tweaks include 'inadvertently mode' that automatically locks the handset when you place it in pocket. You also get Flip to mute, cover screen to silence incoming calls, long press home key to trigger flash light, etc.
The smartphone also comes with WhatsApp mode, a feature designed to let you stay in touch with your contacts in case of emergency. The feature disables the data access for all other apps except the WhatsApp, so that you could connect easily with friends and family when you have less data and battery in your phone.
Camera: Decent performer
Like most of the smartphones in sub Rs. 15k price-point, Tecno i7 features a 13MP rear camera that works on f/2.0 aperture. The rear camera captures decent pictures with good detailing in daylight conditions.
It also comes paired with a quad LED flash module, i.e. double the amount of light of what you normally get with other smartphones. This is the reason the company calls Teno i7 as India's first night camera phone.
For selfies, the smartphone sports a 16 MP camera that utilizes one dedicated LED flash light and the screen flash to brighten up the images you capture in low-light conditions.
Battery and Connectivity: Large 4,000 mAh battery and all required connectivity features
Another highlight feature of Tecno i7 is its large 4,000 mAh battery unit. Despite the fact that the smartphone has a very slim profile, the manufacturer has managed to squeeze in a big battery unit that easily manages to last a day on a single charge even with a heavy usage.
As far as connectivity goes, Tecno i7 offers dual-SIM, FM Radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 4G VoLTE and GPS.
It's quite tough to create a name in a new marketplace, and especially in a market like India where we have so many capable smartphone makers. However, the company seems to have delivered a good product in the form of Tecno i7.
It is a capable mid-range Android handset that brings a premium all metal design, crisp full HD screen, the latest Android 7.0 Nougat and some pretty decent imaging hardware. The smartphone also lasts long with the help of a large 4,000 mAh battery unit and offers all the required connectivity features.
It will be interesting to find out how the smartphone performs in the already crowded sub Rs. 15k price segment, which is mostly dominated by handsets from Motorola, Xiaomi, Huawei, etc.
Tecno i5, i5 Pro, i3 and i3 pro will all be available across 3 states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab from April 22, 2017; while the Tecno i7 will be hitting the stores early May 17. The Tecno smartphones will be available in Champagne Gold, Sky Black, and Space Grey colour variants via offline retailers.