The Tecno Boom J8 is a recently launched mid-range Android smartphone and is currently one of the most popular smartphones in Kenya.
I was able to get my hand on the Boom J8 soon after it launched in Kenya and I have used for about two weeks now.
That said, here is my comprehensive review of the Tecno Boom J8. You should also check out my unboxing article to get an early impression on what the Boom J8 has to offer.
It is my hope that at the end of the review you will be to make a decision on whether the Boom J8 is worth the purchase.
The Tecno Boom J8 is marketed as a music-centric smartphone and this is the core reason why Tecno wants you to buy the phone.
As a music centric smartphone, the Boom J8 comes with a number of optimized hardware and software audio features. For the hardware, you get the Boom speakers (powered by MaxxAudio) and a pair of complimentary Maroon Boom headphones.
The Boom headphones are placed at the bottom of the smartphone, a deliberate design feature to ensure pristine Audio output regardless of how you place the smartphone. The Boom speakers are placed adjacent close each other and are separated the by charging port.
The positioning of the Boom speakers enables the smartphone to provide a cool stereo output. The speakers are able to provide a smooth two-channel music playback which is clear and crisp, especially when playing high quality Audio tracks.
The speakers aren’t particularly loud and therefore, they won’t substitute your home stereo system.
The Boom headphones are first thing first, very beautiful. Their scarlet color is really awesome and they easily attract attention. The headphones have this comfortable leather-like padding that give them a premium look and feel.
On the Boom headphones performance, it all depends on your perspective. If you are used to high-end headphones that cost more than the Ksh. 16,999, the Boom headphones will struggle to impress you. On the other hand, if you are accustomed to using stock-earphones-that-come-with-the-phone, the Boom headphones will wow you.
The bass (enhanced by Maxxbass) is awesome and you will definitely love the surround two-channel audio that the headphones provide. Audio quality is really great and you can achieve a Frisson effect, especially when playing your favorite tunes. The headphones try to mimic a noise-cancelling effect, but at times they fail, especially when playing Audio tunes at low volumes.
The Boom headphones feel comfortable at start but with time they start feeling a bit tight on the ears, especially if you are blessed with enormous ears :-).
There is a lot to say I can say about the Boom Headphones, and if you are interested in the fine details, I would advise you check out my separate review of the headphones (working on it).
Overall, I give the headphones a 7.5/10 rating. When you use them, i am certain that you will agree.
Display Size: 5.5-inch
Display Type: IPS LCD
Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720 Pixels
Screen Resolution Density:
Screen Protection: None
You get a 5.5-inch 720p IPS LCD display with the Tecno Boom J8. This isn’t exactly eye-pop specifications when you take into account that there are a number of budget smartphones that features a similar display profile.
The 5.5-inch display, however, looks very good on the Boom J8 and therefore, I count it as one of the highlights.
The Boom J8 display is vibrant, especially while in the indoors. The display also performs extremely well in the outdoors even under direct sunlight. The display is so good that you can easily mistake it for a 1080p full HD display at first impression.
The 5.5-inch display is 0.5-inches larger than that of its predecessor and but it doesn’t look that big, something that I think is due to its extremely slim profile.
The downside of the device is that it doesn’t come with any form of screen protection, you only get a screen protector ‘pre-installed’ on the Boom J8. The lack of a protective layer is a fail considering that its rival, the Zero 3, comes with one.
Other than that, the Boom J8 display is fantastic, and I totally love it.
Dimensions: 150 x 6.3 x 7.3mm
The design of the Tecno Boom J8 is definitely one of the standout feature of the smartphone. Tecno seemed to have fully embraced the Apple design philosophy and it is an open secret that the smartphone looks a lot (or tries to look) like the iPhone 6 Plus.
This is particularly in terms of the very slim design profile (7.3mm), which coincidentally is exactly the same thickness as the iPhone 6S Plus and not most importantly the metallic sides that enclose the Tecno Boom J8.
A blatant copy of the iPhone or not, the truth still stands that the Boom J8 is pretty, really pretty. The smartphone looks and feels good and to be honest, it doesn’t look at all like a Tecno smartphone, since it’s a complete deviation from what most expected from Tecno Mobile.
The downside of the design is that the smartphone isn’t unibody and instead you have a flimsy removable cover. It would have been totally awesome if the Boom J8 assumed a solid unibody design and instead of the polycarbonate cover, they could have placed the SIM Card and Micro SD slot on the sides.
I say this with emphasis since it’s rather redundant that the Tecno Boom J8 features a removable rear cover whilst the 3000 mAh battery is non-removable. I am of the opinion that the plastic rear cover really diluted what would have otherwise flawless design.
However, it is really awesome that the Tecno Boom J8 has this cool breather notification light just below the lower bezel. The breather light is really cool and it has some sort of a heartbeat synchronization with what is playing on the Boom Player.
Another awesome design feature is the placement of the speaker grill. Just like the iPhone 6s, Tecno placed the speaker grill on the lower side of the Boom J8.
At that position, Audio Output is great regardless of how you place the smartphone (as said above). Also, instead of one speaker you get two, with that, you have awesome 2-channel stereo setup.
Operating System: Android 5.1
CPU: 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53
RAM: 2 GB
Internal Memory: 16 GB
Micro SD: Yes, up to 128 GB
The performance profile of the Tecno Boom J8 is good, but not that impressive. You get a Quad-core CPU clocked at 1.3 GHz. A quad core MediaTek CPU at this age hardly excites as it is what you get on most budget smartphones.
However, it is commendable that the Tecno Boom J8 features some 2 GB of RAM. 2 Gigs of RAM is also not that impressive, considering that the Infinix Zero 3 provides 3 GB at almost the same price.
Interestingly, in real life, the Tecno Boom J8 performance is stellar. Lags are literally non-existent and the phone handles very well, whatever you throw at it, be it intensive applications or games.
The Tecno Boom J8 runs Android 5.1 out of the box, which is really disappointing. It is, however, noteworthy that Tecno Mobile has assured us that they will soon start seeding the Android 6.0 (some Tecno Camon C8 users already have the update)
Check out the Boom J8 Antuntu and CPU Z scores.
The icing on the cake is definitely, Tecno Hios.
So what is Tecno HiOS?
Have you noticed how Tecno, Samsung, Huawei and other Android devices feel completely different, even when they run the same version of the Android OS?
This is because of the different levels of customization. Tecno have a proprietary user interface they dub HiOS. The customization is extensive and the user interface boasts of a number of extra features that adds lots of value to the Android OS. The good part is that HiOS is lean and devoid of stutters and lags.
HiOS is broad, very broad, and I need to do a dedicated article about HiOS in order to cover all the nitty gritty of the user interface.
Rear Camera: 13 MP
Secondary Camera: 5 MP
LED Flash: Yes
The Tecno Boom J8 features a 13 MP Rear camera for general photography and a 5 MP camera for selfies. The 13 MP camera performance is great, especially in areas with plenty of natural light, but tends to capture grainy images in low light even when you use the LED flash.
The selfie camera performance is average, but Tecno could have definitely done better.
Check out a couple of samples from the Rear and Selfie camera. Photos were taken during the Tecno Brand Day at Garden City Mall.
Battery and Extras
Battery Capacity: Li-ion 3000 mAh
The Tecno Boom J8 features a non-removable Li-ion 3000 mAh battery. That battery capacity is large, meaning you have to struggle a lot to take it from 100% to 0%, but when you flip the coin, it also means it also takes a while to charge it from 0% to 100%.
The frustrating about the Boom J8 battery is that it doesn’t support quick charging. This is fail, since the smartphone takes a significant amount of time for it to fully recharge.
Battery performance is erratic. You can have some impressive battery stats today and the next day you get totally different results.
The Tecno Boom J8 is a fine device by all standards and I really enjoyed spending time with it. It’s really pretty and the complimentary Boom headphones is another reason that makes the smartphone to stand out.
There are very few music-centric smartphones in the market right now (one is the recently launched HTC 10) and Tecno being able to offer such as phone at such a price is commendable.
The Tecno Boom J8 is definitely for someone who desires to own a pretty trendy smartphone while balling on a budget. I don’t like it, i love it.
Why you should buy the Tecno Boom J8
Impressive Display Profile
Awesome Design concept
Complimentary Boom Headphones
Cons of the Tecno Boom J8
Lacks Display Protection
Pricey for a budget smartphone
Price in Kenya
The Tecno Boom J8 has a suggested retail price of Ksh. 16,999 in Kenya.
What do you think of the Tecno Boom J8? Be awesome and rate the smartphone.