If you are a follower of this site you’ve probably already read my first impressions on this device titled “7 things I love about the TECNO Boom J8“. That should be a review on its own but I would be misinforming people. There are many things about the phone; good and bad. And this full review, I hope, will give you a clear picture on everything you need to know about the phone.
From the big packaging you get:
- The Phone
- Phone’s battery
- Charging brick and USB Cable
- Free Flip Cover
- Plastic screen protector already attached on phone
- Red TECNO Boom Headphones
The packaging is nicely done. And opening everything for the first time is somewhat an experience, minor as it may seem.
If you don’t already know this, here are the phone’s specifications.
- a 5.5 inch HD screen (720p resolution)
- 2GB RAM and 1.3GHz Quad Core processor
- 3000mAh battery
- 13MP back camera and 5MP front camera both with Flash
- Supports 4G/LTE networks
- TECNO HiOS on top of Android 5.1
This is my favourite bit about the TECNO BOOM J8. And I’ll keep saying this: it is the best designed TECNO. I have the sandstone black version which means my phone doesn’t easily slip off surfaces and feels good to hold.
- It feels premium on the hand.
- It is thin and very light. Way lighter than you’d expect, of course, if you’re moving from Infinix Note 2.
- There’s a metallic frame around it which so far is still intact and with no scratch
The battery is well fixed at the back even though not removable.
The speaker grills at the bottom. (even though only one is a speaker) look beautiful. And the volume buttons are simple, with nice travel and comfortable especially for one-handed use.
I was not happy when the phone launched and I learnt that the display was not 1080p. I had obviously imagined that in 2016 all phones costing more than 16k should feature full HD panels.
But this isn’t to say that the display on the Boom J8 is not good. Far from it.
This phone has a seriously good 720p display. Blacks are really black. Colours are well saturated. Details are well done and no 720p display I have used does colour and brightness this well.
For the about 4.59 inch (horizontal) screen you get about 320 dots per inch on a really good quality panel.
I have some sought of hardware glitch that occasionally brings about a horizontal flicker on the screen. Which I think is the fault of the delivery people. Everyone I have asked who has the Boom J8 says their phone is perfect. And I have linked down below certain reviews and impressions.
The phone has 2GB RAM and a Quad Core 1.3GHz Processor. There has been no major lag ever since I started using it a week and some days ago.
Here’s a screenshot of Antutu Benchmark score for the Boom J8:
Though not at the level comparable to flagships, it scores pretty highly and this is evident in general use. You can very easily switch between tasks and a lot of applications stay in memory without it lagging.
The phone features a huge 3000mAh battery. And I never thought I’d say this but I am happy switching from a 4000mAh battery on the Infinix Note 2 to this one. Sounds crazy but one can easily get over 6hrs screen on time on this phone! And that is whether you are on 3G or WiFi.
See that below? That’s 7hrs 7mins screen on time when it hit 1%. And that 1% still does between 10 to 20mins.
I haven’t tested 4G networks because obviously… but I’m sure it can do 5hrs or more.
If you are buying the TECNO Boom J8 the factors I have listed above; Design, Display, Performance and Battery life are what I think are the best features about this phone. On those 4 factors, this phone performs amazingly. And that’s why I listed them first.
But from here SOME things are not as amazing as we would expect of a 17k phone, while other things boil down to personal preferences.
The back camera is 13MP while the front camera is 5MP. Both have LED flash. They perform averagely. Nothing incredible. You can check out photo samples here.
The back camera takes good close up photos. But try a wide range shot and you lose some colour and details, which maybe only the very keenest of eyes will notice. Try it in low light and you’ll not like the photo much.
The front camera is meeh.
I want to really rant about the Camera UI. But I don’t know exactly how to put it. There’s a lot of borrowing from the iPhone camera UI which is not bad. But there’s also a lot of sick stuff especially in camera settings. This bit of settings should have been left stock. One can’t do stuff with the camera app. It needs a thorough look into. People should have their usual Camera Settings to be able to toggle modes, and resolutions and all the other things.
Verdict on cameras: TECNO could seriously do better in this department. I feel let down.
I know their next camera phone (Camon C9) will probably have really good cameras plus that dedicated camera button, but they should have tweaked a little here.
Software Experience with HiOS:
TECNO’s new skin on top of Android looks good and, some say, is the best thing about the phone. But it isn’t a simple UI to get over. Especially the Home screens where there’s so much going on.
I obviously downloaded Nova Launcher once I realised using the default HiOS launcher was impossible for me. TECNO should know one thing about UIs: the easier to use, the better. I am writing a review about my HiOS experience. Wait for it.
There are other great things about HiOS though:
- Custom Fonts – HiFonts
- Custom Themes – HiThemes
- Hi manager
- Micro Intelligence
Hi Manager is basically a hub to control extra tweaks that HiOS brings to your phone. This includes:
- Cleaning up junk in your phone, and closing unused apps/processes to speed up phone
- Bandwidth management – which apps access internet, which don’t. Plus you can switch on the speed meter to see how your Data or WiFi is performing while browsing. Which is pretty cool.
- Harassment block – which blocks numbers and people who you don’t want to contact you.
- Auto Start management and App Management – which controls which apps can autostart and which apps can push notifications respectively.
I expected much with the name Micro Intelligence. But what we have here is also pretty cool too.
This is a “hub” that controls gestures and stuff. You can switch on/off double tap to wake and to sleep, switch on/off gestures to launch various apps when phone is asleep, switch on/off gestures to control your music even when phone is asleep (which is dope), amongst other things.
This is a music phone. And it’s in the market for people who love their music. So does it live up to expectations? Well yes it does in some ways. Read whole music experience post here.
1. Boom Player:
The Boom player is your default music player. Apart from being able to stream music from various artists across the African continent, you can also download their songs and albums. It also lets you listen to your own collection of songs stored in phone or SD card memory.
2. Boom Maxx:
This is the app (powered by WAVES MaxxAudio) that has presets for audio for various genres of music and even video. For example when you are listening to a reggae song, go to Boom Maxx and choose the reggae preset and it will auto equalise everything for the best reggae sound quality. If you are watching a video, tap on video and audio will be enhanced for movie quality.
It also equalises audio based on your headphones. If you are using normal earphones, go to Boom Maxx and select normal earphones. If you are using Boom headphones, or Beats by Dre headphones go to the app and select either. It then changes the audio equaliser to match what is thinks is the best setting for quality audio
You can even create your own desired preset.
3. Boom Headphones.
They are not out-of-this-world headphones when you first look at them. Neither are they when you use them. But when you select them in Boom Maxx, you get a good preset for the type of audio you are listening to, you get to appreciate the effort by TECNO. Waves MaxxAudio is a leading developer of audio technologies and recipient of of a technical Grammy Award for contributions to the recording industry.
I have some really good Sony Headphones which I do love and use regularly. The Boom headphones can’t compare but are nevertheless good. So I am thinking of giving away the Boom Headphones to one lucky subscriber. What do you think? You want them?
The speaker at the bottom is also quite something. You need to use it to understand. I have found myself comfortably using them to listen to music or YouTube videos, something I rarely do with any phone or even tablet speakers.
They somehow get audio correctly in a way most speakers don’t. They also get quite loud.
Opinion and Verdict:
The best things about the Boom J8 are design, display, performance and battery life. There’s no argument on this. Plus there’s the ‘pulsating’ notification light bar at the bottom bezel which I really really love. It even lights according to the rhythm of the song you are listening to!
— Tech-ish.com (@TechishKenya) April 6, 2016
The not so satisfying things about the phone are: the cameras, and the price. Before the phone launched I had expected it to cost between 13 and 15k. It was sad to me that it goes for 17k. Although one can argue that that is totally justified with the premium design and feeling you get. But then again you can look for an extra Ksh. 1500 and get MY best phone this year: the Infinix Zero 3.
Tell me, what do you think about this phone?
I think it is a good phone and a premium experience at a budget price. Go get it if you are looking for beauty and class with a little compromise in the cameras department. Though it still takes better photos than almost all phones you’ve used.
- TechArena – TECNO Boom J8:Is it worth your money?
- TechRez – Tecno Boom J8 Review: A N41,000 Phone That Crushes Its Rivals
- Mobility Arena – The Second Coming: TECNO Boom J8 review
- Techlector – Tecno Boom J8 Full Review With Photos, Video, Features & Price