Transsion Holdings, which has a presence in 58 countries, made its debut in India last year with its Itel smartphone brand. Now, the company is gearing up for a major push into the Indian market with the new Tecno Mobile brand.
Transsion claims to have a market share of over 40 percent in six major African countries, and believes that its products can do well in India, one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. Tecno Mobile, a subsidiary of Transsion Holdings, recently unveiled five smartphones for India. Apart from Itel and Tecno, Transsion Holdings is also known for its Infinix brand.
The prices of these new smartphones from Tecno Mobile start at Rs. 7,990 for the Tecno i3, and go up to Rs. 14,990 for the Tecno i7. Unlike most of its competitors, Tecno will sell these new smartphones offline.
The company is hoping that the Tecno i7 will take on some of the heavyweights in the same price segment, including the Moto G5 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. It packs some impressive features and specs including an octa-core processor, Android 7.0 Nougat, fast charging support, and a 16-megapixel front camera, but is that all that matters? We find out.
Tecno i7 design
The Tecno i7, with its metallic body, gives a solid first impression when you take it out of its box. It has curved sides, giving it an overall shape similar to that of current iPhone models. The front panel is dominated by the screen, with a fingerprint scanner embedded into the Home button just below it. At the India launch of the Tecno i7, the company claimed that it has used an ‘anti-oil fingerprint sensor’ which allows users to unlock smartphones even with “Indian lifestyle and weather conditions”. There are capacitive Back and Overview buttons on either side of the Home button.
The power and volume keys are on the right, and have decent tactile feel. There is a hybrid dual-SIM slot on the left, and a Micro-USB port and two speaker grilles on the bottom.
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The rear camera is placed in the upper left corner, with a quad-LED flash below it. There’s also Tecno branding and a large “Rocket Charging” logo on the rear. There are antenna bands running across the top and bottom of the rear, making this phone look like several other budget models.
Overall, the Tecno i7 isn’t bad at all in terms of design, and its solid build quality will give you confidence while using the handset every day. The phone will be going on sale in Champagne Gold, Sky Black, and Space Grey. We received a Sky Black unit for our review. It came in a standard retail box with a data cable, power adaptor, earphones, SIM ejector tool, and documents. The company is also giving buyers a complimentary transparent case and screen guard.
Tecno i7 specifications and software
The Tecno i7 features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixel) IPS display. It is powered by 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6750T processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. The handset packs 32GB of storage which can be expanded by up to 128GB using a microSD card. One of the biggest highlights of the Tecno i7 is its 16-megapixel front camera which is being marketed as a “night selfie camera.” It has its own LED flash and can also use the screen as a flash. The Tecno i7 also has a 13-megapixel rear camera with a quad-LED flash and PDAF.
Another big selling point for this phone is its 4000mAh battery and support for fast charging. The Tecno i7 supports VoLTE, GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. There is one Nano-SIM slot and one Micro-SIM slot, but users have to choose between a microSD card and a secondary SIM.
The Tecno i7 is the only the second smartphone at this price level to launch with Android 7.0 Nougat in India, the other being the Moto G5. The Tecno i7 runs a customised UI named HiOS on top of Android which completely tweaks the icons, fonts, and theme of the handset.
Much like iOS, HiOS has a separate search screen where users can type to search for apps, contacts, and messages, and see widgets with commonly used apps and the latest news. Unfortunately, there was no way we could customise the news feed according to our interests. Since this will use mobile data, there should at least be an option to turn it off.
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One of the most interesting features of HiOS is that it mimics functionality similar to Apple’s 3D Touch. When you long-press an icon, you’ll see options to create a new folder, delete, share, see info, or freeze that app. The number of options you get when long-pressing depends on the app. For example, preloaded apps don’t give you the option to delete them. There are plenty of preloaded apps including PHX Browser, Music, Hi Manager, Hi Cloud, Feedback, User Guide, Hi Theme, Video Player, Micro Intelligence, and Fingerprint. The Customer Care app can help you connect to a service executive and also shows a list of service centres in your locality. The Tecno i7 also ships with HiOS’s own app store called Aha for downloading games and apps.