Tecno P3 Review: Budget Superstar

When I first set my eyes on the Tecno P3 last week, I was awed. Here was a good looking budget Android smartphone. The first versions that I saw were Etisalat branded, and those really look super. The black, green and white branding just made it one tasty looking device – something you wanted to take home with you. Here it is:

wpid-IMG_20130507_104959.jpg

It wasn’t until later in the day that I set my eyes on the non-branded version. This version is exactly the same design but comes in black. It is all black except for the red touch on the camera lens rim. Here is what the unbranded version looks like:

Tecno-P3-apps-menu
Not bad at all.

Looks aside, the P3 feels sturdy in the hand and seems well made. Activating and using the 3.5-inch touchscreen display for the first time gave me a surprise – the screen felt so smooth and responsive! This doesn’t feel like any other budget Android smartphone that I had used. It seems like there is some coating on the display that makes it feel this good. This impression has stayed and the display feels just as good after almost a week of regular use.

The Tecno P3 is an Android smartphone, meaning that you have access to download and install apps to customise it to your needs. Out of the box, the following apps came pre-installed: FileExplorer, Opera Mini, WhatsApp, GO Keyboard, Flash Share, UC Browser, Torch, Palm Chat, and You are able to install several others using the “Assistant” app. There is also Afmobi Market, Tecno’s own app store.

Buyers of the P3 also get a 13-month manufacturer’s warranty. Tecno has service centres in the country for warranty and support issues.

Tecno-P3-warranty

Quick Review

Not everyone is interested in the techie stuff. Some of you just want to know if the P3 is a good deal; right? Yes; the P3 is a good deal. It is dual-SIM, feels good in the hand, has a good display, a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash, connects you to social media, plays music, and performs smoothly. It has Wi-Fi, 3G internet, and lets you share that internet via Wi-Fi hotspot. All for less than N15,000. If you have a budget in that range and want a smartphone, the P3 is highly recommended. You can stop reading now and go buy one.

Technical Review

For the techies and geeks who love to read all the details, here is the part of the review that you want. The P3 runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and is powered by a 1GHz single core processor and 512 MB of RAM. In use, the device runs smoothly. However, the limited 512 MB RAM means that apps shut down in the background a lot. Of course, when you launch them, they open back to where you left off. It can’t be helped at this price range. The P3’s 512MB RAM is much better than what many competing products offer.

Tecno-P3-pack-open

In the sales pack are: Tecno P3 phone, USB cable and charging adapter, a white headset, and user guide. There is also a warranty card. Everything is tastefully packaged.

The 320 x 480 pixel resolution display is beautiful and a joy to use, though it washes out in direct sunlight. Again, the washing is common to low-end devices, so that is not a minus to the P3.

Tecno-P3-Dialler

This has to be said: the dialer on the P3 is gorgeous. I am not sure how many times I have launched it just to stare at it. It looks good, feels good, and works as it should. When you have only one SIM in the phone, it displays with only one dial button. When both SIM slots are occupied, you have two dial buttons present. Nice. It is the little touches – like this one – that makes the P3 a superb smartphone.

Tecno-P3-web-browser

With regards internet connectivity, the P3 pulls and configure your network settings when you put in your SIM. Cool. One SIM can be pegged to 3G for fast internet, while the other stays on 2G to help con serve battery. Nice touch. Web browsing on the P3 is smooth – surprisingly so. Email works as it should. No surprises. The Android dropdown menu gives easy access to toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Data, and Hotspot. I find these shortcuts very convenient.

Tecno-P3-DropDown-Menu

Pressing and holding the home button pops up the apps management menu, displaying icons of running apps, from where you can select one of them, as well as clear recent apps.

Tecno-P3-running-apps

During the week, I got a number of app updates on the P3. Every other update ran and installed except for the Facebook update. During installation, I got an error that said, “Insufficient storage available.” I uninstall an earlier Go keyboard update to make room for it, but even at that, the update failed again and gave the same error.

Tecno-P3-updating-Facebook

The Tecno VP that I spoke with explained to me at the P3 launch that the well known in those devices.ability to update some apps on Tecno smartphones have to do with the limited memory on the devices. Right now, my P3 unit has only 37.39MB internal storage left. This limited storage will be a problem for app junkies, who often want the latest versions of their apps.

I also have had issues with the Twitter app logging me out regularly. Whether that is a problem from Twitter, my network provider or the P3 itself, I cannot say at this time.

The P3’s 3 megapixel camera is not going to be nominated for any awards. It is a basic performer. The flash is good for close up shots only too, so don’t expect any outstanding photos from the P3. Here is a sample photo taken indoors around 10am in cloudy weather and without flash:

Tecno-P3-camera-sample

As you can see, it isn’t the best of photos you have seen around. The photo isn’t so sharp or clear. But again, it is adequate at this price point.

Battery life of the Tecno P3 is good, as it saw me through a day of usage without the need to plug into a socket.

Conclusions

I like the Tecno P3. It is full of surprises and packs a wallop for its price range. Yes; it has a few limitations, but that is common to the low-end smartphone segment, and none of those limitations hamper usability in a terrible way. There is little sluggishness in use. The P3 comes highly recommended.

Mo Rating: 9/10.

About Moverick
AKA Mister MO. Owned over 100 mobiles. Digital Media is the game: web, mobile and social. Follow him on Twitter @Moverick, on LinkedIn at YomiAdegboye, and circle him on Google+.

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56 comments on “Tecno P3 Review: Budget Superstar”

  1. lammyng Reply

    As much as i would love to get the Teno P3, i cant stand the limitations of not been able to install as many apps as i want. so a budget Android device is a NO NO for me as an APP JUNKIE. But i will recommend it for ordinary phone user. Thumbs up to Tecno

  2. eye_bee_kay Reply

    // This limited storage will be a
    problem for app junkies,//

    did somebody just mention MY NAME?

    That’s the LEG breaker, for me.

    Good as the device is in other areas, what’s the essence of a device that struggles to do its primary function – run numerous apps…lol?

    That said, Nokia really has an uphill task with its SmarterPhone phones quest for budget_level domination!

  3. martinkem Reply

    I think the guys at Nokia really need to see this. It costs just as much as their Asha 501 with better specs and ecosystem.

    For the Facebook try uninstalling the older Facebook app and installing it again

  4. Tijjani Reply

    How good is the camera flash? Does it take good picture in low light conditions? I know it’s not a lumia, galaxy or an iphone but just how good is it?

  5. @nelsonisibor Reply

    Mr Mo, I have been following you for a while, I honestly believe that phone doesn’t deserve a 9/10.

  6. saiddigge Reply

    To be honest, this looks like a publicity stunt, no offence. It doesn’t deserve a 9, period

    • Mister Mo

      Nelson and Saiddigge,

      It is not enough just to say that it doesn’t deserve a 9 without saying why. State your reasons please.

  7. Khene Reply

    I guess the relative “oomph” and the price point is the reason for the 9/10 grade. I’m definitely an app junkie. The last device to force-close on me was my Nokia E72 (2010-2011). Its 2013.

    Good work Tecno. A little more “oomph” in the gut of your devices is sorely needed.

  8. @nelsonisibor Reply

    @mrmo starting on a scale of ten

    1. In use, the device runs smoothly.
    However, the limited 512 MB RAM means that apps shut down in the background a lot.

    Minus 1 point that’s 9/10

    2. The P3?s 3 megapixel camera is not going to be nominated for any awards. It is a basic performer . The flash is good for close up shots only too, so don’t expect any outstanding photos from the P3.

    Minus 1 point that’s 8/10

    3. Right now, my P3 unit has only
    37.39MB internal storage left. This limited storage will be a problem for app junkies, who often want the latest versions of their apps.

    Minus 1 point that’s 7/10

    4. Right now, my P3 unit has only
    37.39MB internal storage left. This limited storage will be a problem for app junkies, who often want the latest versions of their apps.

    Minus 1 point that’s 6/10

    I think this phone should be 5/10 at best. But hey what I do know?

    I remember you rated the Samsung Galaxy S3 a 9/10 if I’m not mistaken.

    • Mister Mo

      Nelson,

      I see where the problem is. When I rate a phone, I rate it within its own category, and not against phones in other categories. The P3 is in the budget category. In that category, it stands out. It would be wrong to be comparing the P3 with the Galaxy S3.

      Take the P3 and compare its usage with other Android smartphones in its category, and its 9/10 is well deserved.

  9. Ayodele A Reply

    Well said Mr Mo, there should be no basis for comparison with other high end phones. This is a budget phone and as such that rating is well deserved compared to its peers. For Pete’s sake, what is any serious techie expecting from this 13k – 15k dude? An iphone or S3 wanna-be? Please… Good job Tecno.

  10. kris Reply

    Good-day, Mr. Moo. Nyc review. Plz wea in lagos can I purchase d unbranded version of tecno p3. Tanx

  11. Dan Reply

    I think you forgot to include a picture of the back-side of the phone,at least to show the flash,camera position and for proper appraisal.moreso,how does it fair when playing games and what type of games.

  12. otobong Reply

    Lol. I use to like Tecno Android phones especially Tecno N3 but when I came in contact with D3 that has only edge I began to hate tecno android phone. Even this one you are saying, am still doubting you!

  13. Tingles Reply

    Those points raised as the downside to the phone could be solved by rooting, can’t it? E.g you can install apps on the memory card of rooted phones, increase the ram with , what else is the problem? Camera? Leave story jor, at that price, it deserves a 9/10.

  14. Mumitani Reply

    Awesome review!

    This does it for me as I am looking for a budget smartphone at the mo.

    The limitations I can endure, till I am ready to spend more naira on a mobile phone.

  15. charles Reply

    Mr Mo it is so obvious that Tecno is paying you some major chop chop . You are bragging every few days about Tecno. No Naija man in his right mind would brag about a chinko product without some nice chop chop on dey side . Na Wa Oh ! you dey fall for the dey money

    • Mister Mo

      Dear Tecno people,

      I love the picture that Charles has painted above. He has attested to my ability to market your products effectively. Can you guys please get in touch and let’s do business?

      Signed

      Mister Mo

  16. JUCI Reply

    Great job you’re doing on this site; more grace to your elbow. Keep it up!
    I have been an owner of the Tecno D5 for 5 days and I must say I am very happy with my purchase. For the price range its performance exceeds expectation, beating other ‘low-budget’ Android devices from Samsung and LG that cost more (pointing to you Galaxy Pocket).

    I totally agree with your review and rating. In fact, I’m getting a P3 for my younger brother as a birthday gift this month.

  17. banjhie Reply

    Mister Mo this your review is very good, you explain everything about the phone including the limitations nad ur personla view, unlike other reviews that just tell us the basic functions of the phone.
    The Tecno P3 is Good! Its a good phone at that price. The Limitations of the phone is really not an hindrance. All Phones have there limitations that’s why Phone makers do Upgrades. NO phone is soo Perfect! Believe Me, there is surely going to be a Problem or disadvantage in a phone. Like this P3 is like the Upgrade to N3. Tecno is really doing well, the phone I will love to have Tecno Phantom, please Mister Mo can I get a review of Tecno Phantom? Tanx!

  18. banjhie Reply

    @charles Tecno is not a chinko phone, its just that majority of there fones have chinko characteristics, buh dere re little differences between a Normal chinko fone and a tecno phone! That’s why tecno fones have taken over the chinko market instead of the normal chinko fones, so people now refer to tecno as chinko!
    Really tecno is not really a chinko fone

  19. Kenchatsu Reply

    Nobody has made any comment on the performance of the front camera of Tecno P3.
    Share your experiences please.

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  21. Eric Reply

    I would like to know what causes the tecno P3 to have an echo when calling? could it be the settings or is that device faulty? thank you

  22. Maxi Reply

    Who tell u say China no dey do good phones,let me tell u a secret,nokia phones are produced in China and completed the rest in dia own country,neva had any negative mind abt china,it is the specifications given to them that they follow to produce….

  23. mimi Reply

    Pls people,how wow is this tecno p3 cos am abt to purchase mine this week.does the battery lasts like at least nokia I no so well?and how gUd is the camera?all these internal storage am hearing aboUt,how abt I Use an external memory card,wUd it still exhibit d same problem?and all d same bravo!!! To tecno

  24. goonezwii Reply

    pls is the p3 really as good a their painting it to be am about to buy mine this week i need advice

  25. damilo Reply

    well there’s natyn like limited memory just root the device and u would be able to store apps in your memory card and besides that the phone memory is expandable

  26. smith Reply

    my earphone is not working well. it only plays beat of a song. and d sounds is not produced well.. what can i do, please help. again do u know any tecno office in lagos???

  27. Daylay Reply

    I just bought dis device but only de etisalat line browses. The other line doesnt. what can i do?

  28. michael Reply

    pls how can i root my tecno p3,cuz dis internal memory of a tin is rily annoying,and pls how do i locate d front camera as wel.thanks,we b expectn a reply.

  29. Micah Reply

    Dear Mo, thanks for the review. I have a P3 and I like it very much. However, I have been trying to download Google earth with it without success. Is there a way I can do that, please?

  30. HEavenbound991 Reply

    please MR MO, am abount to change my old but lovely N2690, & am considering getting a phone with 3G, good camera work, can read pdf, multitask copy & paste (basic MOffice work)…& preferably a NOKIA product (‘cos am a somwat butterfinger, so something dat wouldnt break away at a drop lol) and between #22,000-#30,000. please what phone would u have me buy. thanks 4 ur prompt reply.

  31. HEavenbound991 Reply

    Mr Mo….I think I read somewhere that the Lumia 520 screen is fragile..please how true is that?

  32. Freny Reply

    Mr Mo. So if i wana download apps lyk 2go,facebook,whatsapp,badoo, twitter d p3 memory wil nt b enof?

  33. Dennyie Reply

    Mr mo,pls is p3 sti in the market? And how much is now it.pls reply me in time its urgent

    • Mister Mobility

      Dennyie,

      The P3 went scarce many months ago. You are not likely to find it in the market. Check out the S3 instead. It is a good upgrade to the P3.

  34. Blaqman Reply

    It really gats me sooooo crazy, if I can not make use of the front and rear camera…. hw do I go abt it Mr. ??? cos it permanently on the FRONT CAMERA VIEW… Thank U sir…

    • Mister Mobility

      Blaqman,

      Most likely, you hit the switch icon at some point in time. Launch your camera. One of the icons available there is a camera with two circling arrows. Tapping it toggles between the front and rear cameras. Tap it to switch to the rear one.

  35. tonvybu@gmail.com Reply

    Hi Mr.

    1.since i bought p3, it never accepted the accessibility to internet using WI-FI. Even when Wi-Fi signors is excellent, it can’t load a website. which settings can i apply for it to work? please reply to me soon.

    2.How can i expand ROM
    3.Touch about Looting. gat no idea. Thnks!

    • Mister Mobility

      tonvybu,

      1. Does it connect to the WiFi hotspot at all? If not, what errors do you get? Have you tried different hotspots?

      2. How can i expand ROM: As far as I can tell, you can’t, maybe except by rooting it.

      3. I didn’t get that. Can you repeat the question please?

      Thanks.

  36. Frank Reply

    My P3 Has Shutted Down Unexpectedly Itried To Change A Battery But ThE Problem Still Does Not Fixed Help Me What To Do

  37. Anonymous Reply

    my p3 does not show d charging sign and when it later shows it does not really charge

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