I must admit, like many, I was confused the first time I heard of TESLA, a company very different from TESLA Motors owned by Elon Musk, that makes electronics like TVs, Smartphones and Tablets. Their devices are exciting. The TESLA brand is owned by Comtrade Group, an IT organisation in Southern East Europe as inspired by the vision of Nikola Tesla.

I’ve been using the TESLA Smartphone 9.1 Lite for a while now and this post is about the things I’ve loved about it. But first of all you need to watch my unboxing video.

This phone comes with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, a 5.7 inch 18:9 Aspect ratio 720p res display, dual 13MP+5MP back cameras, 8MP front camera, USB type-C port, 2800mAh, and perhaps the biggest disappointment is that it runs Android 7 Nougat.

Getting away from the Android version, and considering the things you’re getting for just Ksh. 16800, this is an easy to recommend device. Here are the things that I’ve really loved:

TESLA Smartphone Kenya
Speaker is at the back, weirdly

Design:

Many companies this year are trying to have shiny finishes. From the Honor 10 to the new OnePlus 6. This device has a plastic finish, but it is shiny as hell. Reminds me of the Infinix Note 4. The shiny finish makes it a fingerprint magnet, prone to dust, and also hard to photograph. However, it also makes it looks so so good. I like that the display curves slightly, the back of the phone also curves in a nice way, and though it is big at 5.7 inches, it fits well in the hand because of that thin frame with reduced bezels. My only quarrel would be that it is heavier than even the Infinix Hot 6 Pro, yet it has a far smaller battery. I don’t know what causes it to feel heavier.

Display:

TESLA Smartphone Kenya

Many of these 720p displays aren’t good. This is one of the better ones. Contrast is amazing, so blacks are deep enough. Colour and saturation is also really good. If you didn’t know it is a 720p panel, you would mistake it for a full HD one. Though, outdoors you have to bump up brightness to max to be very comfortable reading. Indoors, however, brightness is normal and watching stuff on the screen is not bad even though you’re limited to a 720p output.

Software:

I really wish this was running Android 8 Oreo. It would make it so so worth it. Nevertheless, TESLA didn’t add anything to Android. It is pure. But for the icons, everything is pure Android. Which ideally would mean phone gets updates easily and fast. That as it seems hasn’t happened since it is still running Android 7. What I like is that the software experience is easy and smooth, you’re not learning a new UI here. You’re ready to go, and don’t need a launcher as the stock launcher is good.

TESLA Smartphone Kenya
Sim tray at the top

Performance:

The 3GB RAM and Octo-core 1.5GHz MT6750 Processor make the phone snappy enough for usual usage. I haven’t experienced lags, or any issues whether having a single or many apps open. You can play games on it, though you’ll definitely be patient as certain titles take a while to launch, which is nothing to complain about. Also, the fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate.

USB type-C plus Fast Charging:

TESLA Smartphone Kenya
USB type-C and Headphone jack at the bottom

There’s USB type-C. If there’s anything that makes me instantly love a phone, it is the USB port. Having USB type-C is the best thing about this phone for me. It means I can carry one charger for both laptop and phone. It means faster data transfer. And also, since device supports fast charging, it means a better experience with the small 2800mAh in-built battery.

What I don’t like:

  • Cameras: the back cameras suck. The bokeh mode is very agressive when it works. The front camera is good though.

TESLA Smartphone Kenya

  • Speakers: the speaker is located on the back of the phone. Someone decided to go with this design in this day and age. You put your phone down and can’t hear anything if you were playing music or watching a video. When gaming, you have to hold the phone in someway to not block the speaker.

Do I recommend this device?

Yes. USB Type-C. Snappy performance. Nice design. At a good price. Get it.

Don’t get this phone if:

  • You want good cameras
  • You want the best battery life: although given it supports fast charging, you can compromise.

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