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Budget smartphones are the sweet spot for many Kenyans. This is clear thanks to the many smartphones that launch in this category.

Itel’s latest kid, the Itel S31 is a selfie focused entry-level smartphone, selling under the tagline, “snap the best of you”. The Tecno W5, is a more generic type of entry-level smartphone, with no special emphasis on its camera abilities, selfie expertise or battery power.

Having spent some time playing around with both devices, I have jotted down a few notes for anyone looking to buy a either of the two. This is by no means a review of the two, just my initial impressions.

Camera

Yes, I will start with the cameras. This is the most sort after feature on a smartphone, followed closely by battery and performance. These two devices being entry-level, we could expect some low quality cameras, to bring down the prices. I was not surprised when I snapped a few photos and ended making a face at both results.

The Itel has a 5MP main shooter and a 5MP selfie shooter while the Tecno W5 has a 13MP main shooter and a 5MP selfie camera. The S31 produces overexposed images compared to the W5. Although, the dynamic range of the Itel seems slightly better than that of the Tecno, especially when shooting against direct sunlight. Color reproduction is off for both devices, with a lot of uneccessary sharperning and loss of details, especially when you zoom in.

When we switch over to the front camera, well…you decide:

Design

Both devices are covered in plastic. Lots of it, which is expected from devices in this price range. Button and port placement is the same, with both featuring a front facing flash on the top bezel, to the left of the earpiece. Both devices have capacitive navigation buttons and there’s very little in design differentiating the two. However, the Tecno W5 feels a little more premium thanks to its soft plastic back compared to the Itel’s texturized back.

Battery Life

The Tecno W5 comes with a non-removable 3000mAh battery, which isn’t all that but considering the 720P display does not require that much power due to the low resolution, it serves just fine. You will easily go through the day with the W5, with moderate usage. The Itel S31 comes with a removable 2400mAh battery, resulting in the need to recharge the device much sooner that you would with the W5.

Both devices do support fast charging, however the Itel S31 has a removable battery, meaning you can carry an extra battery and just switch them up whenever one dies.

Software

The Itel S31 and Tecno W5 both come running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with the Tecno W5 skinned with HiOS. The Itel S31 has a skin on top of Android as well, and it looks so much like HiOS, it’s going to be hard for an average person to tell the difference.

Extras

The Itel S31, does little to offer you more than you would get with a device at this price point. the Tecno W5, tries so much to impress, it actually has a fingerprint reader on the back.

The Tecno W5 also has 4G LTE capabilities, something that the Itel S31 lacks.

Anyway, below is a complete specs comparison of the two devices:

  Itel S31Tecno W5
DisplayTypeIPS LCDIPS TFT
Size5.5"5.5"
Resolution1280*7201280*720
ProtectionNoneNone
PlatformOperating SystemAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow with HiOS on top
ChipsetMT6572MT6753
CPU4X cortex A7 Quad-core, 1.3GHZQuad-core, 1.3GHz
GPUMali T720Mali T720
MemoryRAM1GB1GB
Internal16GB16GB
ExternalmicroSD, up to 32 GBmicroSD, up to 32 GB
NetworkTechnology3G4G LTE
SIMDual SIM (Micro + Mini)Dual SIM
CameraMain5MP AF13MP AF
Front5MP wide angle lens with soft flash5MP with LED Flash
BatterySize2400 mAh3000 mAh
TypeLi-ionLi-ion
ColorsRose gold, Red, Black and WhiteBlack, Gold, Grey
Features-Fingerprint reader (rear-mounted)
PriceKsh.9,000Ksh.12,500

Verdict

Seeing that the two devices have a lot in common more than there are differences, the determining factor for most will be the price. The Itel S31 has a lower price tag, and will most likely attract more people for that reason. However, adding a little thousands will get you a better design, slightly better camera and a fingerprint reader. Question is, do you really need that?

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