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Tablets have become a category of gadgets that we no longer see much of anymore. With phones becoming bigger and bigger (reference the Samsung Galaxy S8), it is not surprising that tablets have really nothing more to offer over a phone.

The Tecno PhonePad 3 is a hybrid tablet of some sort, or should I just say that it is a really big phone? Well, however you take it, it’s all in the name, PhonePad.

The PhonePad 3 is the successor to last year’s PhonePad 7II. Looking at Tecno’s product line-up it is easy to get confused, we have the PhonePad series, which are smartphone-tablet hybrids, we have the DroidPad series, which are “mini laptops” that run on Android and the WinPad series, which run Windows. All caught up? Ok, let’s dive into the PhonePad 3.

Design

There’s no denying that the PhonePad 3 looks really good. From our initial impressions until now, the design of the PhonePad 3 has not disappointed. We have an aluminium uni-body design, with small plastic sections at the top and bottom of the rear side for antenna purposes. The volume rockers, power button and fingerprint reader are all on the right side of the device. The headphone jack is at the top and the speaker grill is at the bottom, together with the USB port.

At the front we have some bezel, which make the device feel larger than it should, but then again, this is not a high end luxury product, it’s affordable first, so we will just close our eyes on this one.

The Fingerprint reader

PhonePad 3 Fingerprint reader

As a first from Tecno, we have a side-mounted fingerprint reader. Exciting isn’t it? Well, you shouldn’t be. At first, the fingerprint reader failed to read my fingerprint over 80% of the time (No, I am not exaggerating). This is due to the small size of the reader. So, I had to be very precise when placing my finger on the reader. Which beats the point of having it there, as sometimes I would take more time trying to get my finger recognized as opposed to just inputting my PIN.

As much as it doesn’t do so well at reading fingerprints, the reader also includes some scroll gesture to help with scrolling through a document or a webpage. The scrolling gestures work like a charm.

The Business Aspect

PhonePad 3 Business

A lot of hype has been created around the business prowess of the PhonePad 3. Tecno is referring to the device as “your business assistant”. So, what exactly do they mean? What does the PhonePad 3 offer you, to help you carry out your day-to-day business activities?

Out of the box, the PhonePad 3 comes with an already created folder on the home screen aptly named “Biz Assistant”. Open the folder and you’re met with a bevy of third-party apps. WPS Office – to help you read, edit and create documents, Xender – to help you send files to another device and vice versa, CamCard – to digitize business cards, however you have to sign up to the app to use it, CamSCanner – which turns your camera into a scanner, TrustLook – which is an antivirus, then there’s Email, Calendar, Notebook and a Sound Recorder.

There’s also a “Meeting Mode” app on the home screen, which is just a neat shortcut to change your sound profile to “Do Not Disturb”.

All these additions come together to give the PhonePad 3 a business aspect that most will appreciate.

The Phone aspect

You could ignore the “Business Assistant” hype and just buy the PhonePad 3 because, well, you need a phone. With 7 inches of 720P HD Screen, you will definitely look weird making calls, but who cares, it’s your life yeah?

Calls quality is good, incase you’re wondering. Aside from the PhonePad 3 covering half your face while you’re on call, everything else is what you would get with a standard smartphone.

Battery Life

PhonePad 3 Battery

The 720p resolution and 4100 mAh battery really do the PhonePad 3 justice. For the period I have used the device,it has soldiered on in-between active use and standby mode. Light social media usage, a bit of document reading, entertainment through games and YouTube still leave no significant impact on the battery life. When it comes to battery life, the PhonePad 3 does not disappoint.

Others

Camera

PhonePad 3 Camera

Clearly not the stronghold of the PhonePad 3, but it does take good enough pictures to share on social media. The 13MP camera on the back is complimented by a dual true-tone flash and has an 85 degrees wide-angle lens. At the front, there’s a 5MP shooter with a similar 85 degrees wide-angle lens and front facing flash. Here are a few camera samples:

Software

PhonePad 3 Software

With the PhonePad 3 you get Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with HIOS running on top. There’s a lot of brown going on with the UI, which I absolutely don’t like, but you could always slap on a third-party launcher. There are really no extra software tweaks implemented by Tecno to use the extra screen real estate but at least you get Google Assistant.

Performance

With 2GB RAM and a Quad Core MT6735 processor, the PhonePad 3 holds out quite well. Expect to see a few stutters here and there and the occasional lag when using resource-demanding apps. However, for an average user who will stick to simple social media, and minimum gaming, the processing power of the PhonePad 3 is enough.

The PhonePad 3 has a 16GB internal storage, and SD Card support. This combined with the big screen, make the PhonePad 3 the perfect entertainment hub at this price point.

Verdict

The Tecno PhonePad 3 does live up to its creator’s marketing of being a “Business Assistant”. The included list of pre-loaded apps do what they are supposed to do. If you’re looking for a somewhat affordable tablet (it retails at Ksh.22,000), which you could easily turn into a phone, and look good while doing it, have enough RAM to play around with (seeing that most Tablets out there only come with 1GB) and last long enough throughout your day,  this is the device for you.

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