AT A GLANCE: Tecno Spark Go 2024 | iPhone at Home

Can we get the iPhone? No, we have an iPhone at home

It’s been a while since we actually did a first impressions. Our next review will have it as well. It’s a regularly occurring series. Today’s special is the Tecno Spark Go 2024. From the two weeks we had it with us, I’d say, in terms of design, there is really a lot to talk about here! Look at that golden glow!

Transsion Loves the iPhone Design. So Do We!

This is our first review unit that isn’t blue or black. We went for the Alpenglow Gold colour, though its main colour is really the Magic Skin Green which we heard is made of antibacterial vegan leather which really gives that premium look. Thankfully, the Gold colour is also same in that regard. Sure it’s made of plastic but it looks like what Transsion did is brush the phone with metallic gold that gives that luxurious feel. And yes, we did feel luxurious holding this device. It’s pretty fancy-looking. We got bored over black and blue ones because they are the colours we normally get from different brands that send us units. Even white feels less of a monotony.

If you inspect the sides, you can see that it is also coloured in the same brushed gold metallic as the rest of the body although the frames are made of plastic. On the top frame, you can find one of the speakers, a good placement for this device. Many cheap phones would have the speakers at the back of the phone, especially in the older days. At the right side is where all the buttons are placed. This means the phone can lay completely flat on one side making it comfortable to watch movies in and will not wobble. This also reduces accidental presses on each button. The bottom frame is also very busy. This is where the 3.5mm jack is placed alongside a microphone, the USB-C port, and of course, another speaker because this won’t be a true dual-speaker experience without it. Finally, the left side is not 100% empty. This is where the SIM Card Tray is placed. This SIM Card Tray has an orange watertight rubber band to prevent the insides from getting wet. Even in a cheap phone, Tecno treated the phone with care and delicately.

By the way, the phone has huge bezels. We’re talking from forehead down to the chin. The bezels are so big you could house an entire LED flash on it. Well, that’s exactly what they did. There is an LED notification LED on top that shines pretty bright and will also light up whenever you are charging the phone. The main function of this strip of light is to provide a soft light flash for your selfies in case it gets super dark. In our full review, you’ll find out that this is actually very useful.

The Tecno Spark Go is colorful and that also goes with its two other colour options which include Mystery White and Gravity Black. Also, we’d like to note that the front uses a dot notch, making it more modern and more updated than the dewdrops or waterdrop notches with other devices. See, if Transsion can do it at this very low cost, what’s stopping the others? Although, this comes at an expense. See, the bezels are big and the chin is bigger than leafy’s. 2016 YouTube is just so different.

We couldn’t also help but constantly stare at the back camera arrangement. We really like that iPhone aesthetic that many other brands are copying but Transsion might be closest to the iPhone 15-like look. This is complete with the Dynamic Island notification which the brand calls “Dynamic Port”. Also, as you can see, the colour shifts when you put the phone at a certain angle. It’s dazzling and quite an interesting choice considering this is a phone that costs pocket change, about PHP 4,999 (4/128) but on sale, you can even get it down up to PHP 2,599 with the right vouchers! If that isn’t value, we don’t know what is!


There is really nothing interesting to see on the inside of the Tecno Spark Go box. What you see is what you get so here we have a clear silicone case, the charging brick with 10W cable, a manual, a warranty card, the phone obviously, and the SIM Ejector tool.

They say “do not judge a book by its cover”. Well, the box is like a cover and we’ll judge it. That’s literally our job. The inside might be typical but the box is actually well-designed. Much better than the plain white ones we get with almost every other phone and the phone’s render just slapped on top of it. The Spark Go’s box is pretty interesting because there are some nice little tidbits the brand added that is normally not seen with other brands. They did not need to go the extra mile for such a cheap device but they did and we appreciate them for it. So, the box has camera island watermarks that is visible at a certain angle. The phone’s name in orange and the features highlighted in a Gold and Black sticker. Oh, that 8GB + 128GB RAM/storage count? Yeah, there’s a disclaimer underneath. Because the phone really only has 4GB physical RAM. You get the other four virtually. A tactic we’ve seen Transsion uses to make their phone appear more valuable than it actually is. The numbers game we tell you.

The back of this box are the specs and some other important wordings, including their social media presence.

(H)iOS 13

Since we have grown somewhat tired of ColorOS and its variants, we decided to look for a phone that’s a tad different to keep things interesting. We don’t want to sound like a broken record here. The software is primarily the reason why we decided to look for a Transsion phone at any price range. It doesn’t matter whether the brand is Infinix, Tecno, or Itel, the software remains highly similar to each other because they are made with the same company the same way how OxygenOS is just a clone of ColorOS nowadays.

Tecno uses an Android fork named HiOS which of course, does not sound like the fruity’s operating system. It’s probably no coincidence that the brand named it this way. Close to how one would pronounce it but differed in terms of its overall design. Currently, the Tecno Spark Go runs HiOS 13 based on Android 13 Go Edition. You heard it right, Android Go phones now require at least 4GB RAM to run smoothly. Go figure! (Pun not intended).

While it is Android Go, just like with the realme note50, it is heavily modified so it looks like the regular HiOS Tecno is running on every other device. Take note this is our first time using HiOS and it is already highly different than what we are used to. When we told that MagicOS has a high learning curve but still easy to adapt, HiOS is a different story. It has an even higher learning curve and we find it hard to adapt to it much easier than MagicOS. And this is the most basic version. What more if it is the regular version of the OS?

For instance, the notification menu and control panel are separated here. Unlike HyperOS/MIUI, OneUI, or ColorOS, dragging down at any part of the screen except the battery icon will reveal the entire notification menu. Meanwhile dragging down from the battery icon reveals the control panel in a similar fashion as iOS. This is some learning curve that even after a week of use, we’re still not used to. We found out that dragging to the right of the notification menu also reveals the control panel. Also, to take a screenshot, almost every device we tested apart from the Honor 90, lets you do a three-fingered slide-down gesture. The phone does indeed have gestures but it only supports up to two fingers at a time. While customizable, none of them have an option to take a screenshot. What a shame.

The UI, just like almost every Android skin we used, is littered with ads and bloatware, some you cannot remove. This is also present in the app drawer which is thankfully enabled by default. We got to admit though, we had a bit of fun playing some of the built-in browser games the phone has to offer, even if many of them are rip-offs or flash games from the early 2000s.

It’s not all bad. For instance, for a budget phone, the Spark Go has a lot of themes to choose from and even has its own theme store. Some of the themes are paid but many are free for download. If this phone has an OLED screen and Always-on Display (AOD) is supported, we’re highly sure that it will be included in the theme store. We also like how convenient it is to add apps in folders. You can scroll left or right to browse through different folders and press the “Add” button to add more apps in that folder. No need to drag and drop everytime. The phone has a built-in screen recorder which is convenient since we don’t need to install a third-party recorder for our gaming tests. It also has that neat dynamic port, “inspired” from Apple’s Dynamic Island that displays notifications, completing the iPhone look.

Lots of Things to Say for a Simple Phone

In a nutshell, that is what the Tecno Spark Go is at first glance. It is essentially an “iPhone at Home” like you bought a knock off at a shady store near your local black market. However, unlike fake iPhones, the Tecno Spark Go (or the Tecno Pop 8 if you live elsewhere) has its own identity and can still be viewed as another Tecno phone. Its premium-looking design, complete with the essentials a casual user might need and more, makes that PHP 3,000 price look very appealing. Plus, it has stereo speakers with DTS enhancement! Something you will never ever see at a phone in this range. Others would have substituted it for a gimmicky ultra volume mode or whatever it is they call it. No compromises made for the audio here, and we applaud Tecno for that.

Transsion has always been a brand that brings the most unconventional features at a lower price point. The POVA 6 for example, brings an unconventional gaming phone at a price anyone can afford. The Infinix Zero once brought periscopes at a sub-15K price point, and the Smart 8, a budget phone with the same caliber as the Spark Go, brings the LED softlight once introduced by Vivo down to the budget range. A premium look, combined with practical features, make a phone look a lot more worth it.

Stay tuned for the full review. We got a lot of exciting things to cover. Remember, this is a phone slotted at the lowest end of the smartphone spectrum but it already has a lot going for it all the while making it dirt cheap!