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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.


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