The TECNO Pop 8 is easy to review. I could do this TECNO Pop 8 review in just one paragraph and be done with it. This affordable smartphone is impressive for the features and performance it delivers for its price. I could end this review here, but many of our readers want more details, and so I must elucidate further. I won’t bore you; I promise.

I have reviewed a handful of TECNO Pop smartphones in the past and know not to expect much from the range in terms of design and performance. The Pop 8 breaks that pattern: it has a beautiful and catchy design, and performance is smooth. Not premium flagship smooth. Not upper midrange smooth. But smooth enough that this does not feel like a TECNO Pop smartphone. Which is saying something. Of course, this also reflects in the price. Nothing goes for nothing; right?

TECNO Pop 8 review

TECNO Pop 8 Quick Specs

Here are some of its key specifications:

  • Display: 6.6-inch IPS LCD with 90Hz refresh rate and 720 x 1612 pixels resolution
  • Processor: Unisoc T606 octa-core (2×1.6 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.6 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • Memory: 64GB or 128GB internal storage, 3GB or 4GB RAM (plus 3GB or 4GB extended RAM)
  • Camera: 13MP rear camera with dual-LED flash, 8MP front camera with dual-LED flash
  • Battery: 5000mAh Li-Po battery with 10W wired charging and USB Type-C port
  • Other features: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, dual speakers, FM radio, Android 13 (Go edition) operating system
  • Colours: Mystery White, Alpenglow Gold, Magic Skin, and Gravity Black.

In The Box

In the box of the TECNO Pop 8 are the following items:

  • TECNO Pop 8 phone
  • 13-month warranty card
  • Free data card from MTN
  • Transparent soft case
  • 10W charging adapter
  • SIM card tray extractor
  • 3.5mm audio headset
  • USB Type-C cable

There are also free data promo stickers included on the box, offering the buyer data from all four big networks – MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9mobile. I feel cheated every time because when I attempt using the promo codes, I get a reply that my line is not eligible. God dey. I am not sure who I offended.

Have a look at the unboxing video for a good look at the box, its contents, and the phone itself:

Appearance

Our review unit is in Mystery White, which is quite a beautiful colour scheme. It is a fingerprint magnet, though, and you have to keep wiping smudges off the back panel. That same back panel has a design that is all too familiar – one that has been replicated in up to eight (8) different phones released by Transsion brands in 2023. But it is beautifully done. I like the looks of the Pop 8.

At the top of the 720p screen is a punch hole that houses the selfie camera. Let’s take a pause here: how many phones from competing brands that cost ₦100,000 have punch hole displays? What most of them have are those hideous waterdrop notches. A punch hole adds to the aesthetics of the Pop 8 and elevated its appearance above its fellow entry-level Android phones.

At the top and bottom edges of the phone are loudspeaker grills. Yes, the Pop 8 has dual speakers. Of course, they are not premium-grade speakers. This is an entry-level smartphone; remember? But they are good. They are the darnedest best audio I have heard on a phone at this price point.

The design of the phone incorporates flat edges, such that you can stand the phone up on its own, without any support. The whole experience is iPhonesque.

In the hand, the Pop 8 feels just right – the right size, the right weight, the right feel. It is difficult for me to not be excited about a smartphone that immediately wins my heart that way. But then, there is more to a smartphone that those features. How does it perform? What is the battery life like? Do the other features work as advertised?

Performance

I have maintained for a while (since Android 12) that the minimum amount of RAM for Android to run smoothly has gone up to 4GB RAM. Once upon a while, it was 3GB RAM, but that is history now. If you want a smooth experience, get an Android phone with 4GB RAM.

What of the processor? I daresay that it doesn’t matter any more. The Pop 8 has a barebones Unisoc T606 chipset and it runs smoothly with 4GB of RAM. I suspect that the performance would not be significantly different if it was the lower T603 chipset used. Anyway, TECNO Pop 8 is proof that 4GB RAM makes a world of a difference in entry-level Android phones.

I couldn’t get Geekbench 6 to install on the phone, but Geekbench 5 did and I ran a CPU benchmark test with that. How did TECNO Pop 8 fare?

  • Single-core score: 313
  • Multi-core score: 1202

By way of comparison, in our review of the itel S23+, with a superior Unisoc T616 chipset and 8GB RAM, the S23+ produced a Single-Core Score of 444 and a Multi-Core score of 1542. The Pop 8 does not do badly at all.

Don’t get me wrong: the Pop 8 does not deliver anything outside of entry-level performance. If you push it hard, it will remind you that it is an entry-level Android phone, but apps run much smoother than what we have been experiencing on older TECNO Pop smartphones.

Camera Review

Photography with the TECNO Pop 8 is fair for the price segment. The camera isn’t outstanding, though I have been able to capture some really solid photos with it. For the most part, it is a hit-or-miss affair: sometimes, it performs really good; most times, it is just there. While I also got some good selfies, the rear camera is the more capable of the two and delivers better results most of the time.

Battery Performance Review

The Pop 8 has a 5000 mAh battery, which is quite adequate in a modern smartphone. Coupled with the decent processor and display, it produces good battery life. In addition, the phone has 10W charging. While this is not quite fast charging, it is still faster than regular charging, and I appreciate that. What USB type does it have? Type-C, baby. USB Type-C. Which is fantastic.

TECNO Pop 8 Review: Verdict

TECNO Pop 8 review - back panel design and cameras

The Pop 8 is handy, lightweight, and performs smoothly. In terms of performance, it is an enjoyable budget smartphone. It even has fairly decent dual speakers. Where you begin to notice it’s entry-level nature is in the photography department. Both the selfie camera at the front and the main camera at the back are distinctively entry-level shooters. And that is okay, because this is an entry-level Android smartphone, and superb cameras are not cheap.

If you have a budget of ₦100,000 for a smartphone and want one that looks peng and doesn’t act up for the most part, the TECNO Pop 8 is highly recommended. You can watch the video review on YouTube.

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By Mister Mobility

Nigeria's foremost tech blogger and smartphone reviewer. Call me Daddy.

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