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The Tecno N3 came in sometime last week. Here are opinions and thoughts
while using the device. We’ve split it into parts so you can jump right
into a section by clicking any of the titles below or you can read the
The Tecno N3 is made entirely of plastic. It’s Light enough yet not
too light so it feels like you’re holding a phone. There are volume
buttons on the top left, sleep/on button on the top right, 3.5mm audio
jack at the top and a micro-USB port at the bottom. The usual home, back
and menu buttons for Android are at the bottom. Its camera pops out of
the top, right in the middle of the device.
I have the black version with me, it also comes in Red, White and a special Arsenal version pre-loaded with Arsenal content.
The design isn’t mind blowing but it works. As for durability, it
fell down once from a stool and the back opened with the battery out.
You probably want to get a pouch for this phone.
Specs and Performance
The N3 runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread on an 800Mhz Qualcomm CPU and
512MB of RAM. Internal storage comes at 512MB with an 8GB memory card
included. The phone can take external cards up to 32GB. Although the
unit in this review has a 256MB RAM so there’s a bit of lagging although
it’s not frequent. The device sports WiFi[with hotspot abilities],
Bluetooth, A-GPS, an accelerometer and gyroscope are included. The phone
has 3G capabilities in places where 3G is available. 3G works fine and
I’m quite impressed that it picks up networks better than the BlackBerry Curve 9320
The Tecno N3 comes with a dual-sim capability and you’re given the
ability to tweak certain capabilities of both SIMs. For example you can
turn off data completely on one SIM and make the other your primary data
SIM. I did find it difficult locating the buttons at night due to its
lack of backlight.
The Tecno N3′s screen is a 3.5-inch, HVGA screen with a resolution of
320×480 pixels. It’s bright enough for you to see it in moderate light
and in the dark but when it’s super hot and bright like it is in Lagos
right now, I had to squint to see the screen when I was on the road.
Its rear-facing camera is 3.0 megapixels so don’t expect awesome
photos. It doesn’t work well in low-light situations, although you can
tweak the white balance and exposure. However, images become blurry when
you use the zoom option so you’ll want to move as close to your subject
as possible when you’re using the camera. The N3 lacks a front-facing
camera so there’s a difficulty in making video calls. Here are sample
images and a video. The images and video are unedited. This is exactly
how they are on the N3.
Tecno’s N3 comes with an earphone, a mini-USB cable and a power plug.
The earphones are quite loud so you don’t want to walk the streets of
Lagos without tuning down the volume. The internal speakers work fine
and like the earphones they can also get pretty loud if you turn the
volume up. The screen isn’t protected by scratch proof glass which means
a screenguard is required if you want to use this for a long time.
The Tecno N3 runs Android
2.3.5 Gingerbread. That’s an Android operating system from about 2
years ago. It’s not up-to-date but it works just fine. A large number of
Apps available for the N3 work well – apps for Social Networking or
reading content have no problem. The lock screen has special options to
switch to the Phonebook, Messages, Camera and your home screen. Tecno
also added a few extra features to the top bar of the notification
centre like turning of mobile data or switching between different
display brightness options. I really loved the brightness tweaking
option. It saves you all that time of going to settings.
If you’re switching from Jelly Bean like I have, the major difference
is that you can’t pause, play or fast forward music from the
notification centre like you can do in Jelly Bean. You also can’t view
notifications from the lock screen. In settings, you’ll notice is that
there’s no ability to view how much data you’ve consumed. Another
problem is switching from your running app to your home screen and then
The phone takes a while to load you onto the home screen like you’ll
see in our review video. This is probably specific to this phone because
that doesn’t happen on Samsung’s Galaxy Pocket. I noticed the Tecno N3
did a bit of refreshing of apps. When I switch away from an app and I
want to return, it restarts the app. For browsers like Opera Mini, it
refreshes the pages or will sometimes end your session. I’ve been told
that happens with a lot of Android devices although I never noticed it
on my Nexus 7.
The N3 Comes with Spinlet
and 175 Spinlet credits loaded, a special battery saver app – DX
battery saver, Email, Flash Share, Facebook and Opera Mini next. Tecno
says they’re working to include 2Go support and Whatsapp functionality
so you don’t have to download it. Tecno has pre-installed a special
Flash Share app that allows file sharing for Tecno phones. When 2 users
wish to share files, they can create a quick account(works offline
within Flash Share and transfer files via a specially created network.
The Videos app isn’t great for playing movies so I suggest VLC For Android Beta
Due to the processor of this device, The maximum resolution of videos
that can be played is 480p. 720p videos hang all the way. If you like
games like Temple Run and Agent Dash, sorry they won’t run on this
device. The Music app also works fine. It can play mp3 and midi files. I
encountered no problem using it. The hardware isn’t top notch enough to
allow you play games that include running and sliding simultaneously. I
also noticed large-sized games around 100MB or above won’t just work.
I Charged up the N3′s 1400 mAH battery till its fullest at 9.30 AM
and didn’t have to recharge it until 7 PM. Within that time, I had no
SIM card on the device so I relied on WiFi for about 4 hours during the
day. I also played music throughout that time. When I eventually
inserted a sim card and turned on mobile data, the battery lasted about 6
hours. This is largely due to network inconsistency. It should usually
last between 8 to 10 hours without recharging. The best part about the
Tecno N3′s battery is that the N3 is equipped with the DX Battery Saver
app I mentioned earlier. The app alerts you when your battery is going
low and offers to switch to special modes that can turn off certain
radio services and even reduce brightness. It also accurately estimates
how long it’ll take the phone to get a full charge.
Tecno N3 vs. Samsung Galaxy Pocket
The closest competitors to the N3 are the Saumsung Galaxy Pocket and
Etisalat/Huawei’s Gaga. We couldn’t get a Gaga for this review so we’ll
compare the N3 with the Galaxy Pocket. The N3 scores better than the
Galaxy Pocket in terms of screen size, weight, hardware support and
Although, the Galaxy Pocket has more internal storage at 3GB than the
Tecno N3, but the N3 comes with an 8GB memory card. Where the Galaxy
Pocket trumps the N3 majorly is in its camera. It’s a 2 megapixel camera
but it is brighter and takes pictures faster. On durability, the Galaxy
Pocket’s back is made of brushed metal so you can let that fall
sometimes. The Pocket’s home screen buttons are also backlit which is
useful at night.
The Tecno N3 wins in terms of pricing and basic specs but loses in
the camera and ability to play large apps. It has the potential to
reduce the market share of Samsung’s Galaxy Pocket and other near-priced
Android phones. When this phone officially hits the market, consumers
will be able to buy Tecno N3 units from Airtel and get 40MB data for 6
months, provided they load N1,000 of airtime each month. All you have to
do is load the stated amount of airtime.
Tecno is promising even more Android phones in 2013, we’ll be
watching to see how much market share they can capture in Nigeria. 95
percent of all phones in China currently run on Android, we’re looking
to see if that can happen in the Nigerian market. If you’ve used the
Tecno N3, we’ll appreciate it if you leave us a comment about your