Itel remains one brand to try when you’re on a low budget. They aren’t exactly known for powerful specs but you can get a decent Itel phone at a good price. A while back, Itel phones were strictly for the brave; little was known about fixing them plus they hardly had a working recovery partition. This changed with their introduction of some Android 4.4 (Kitkat) models. I purchased the Itel 1452 (which I named Koku Baboni) and it served me quite well but is dead now with a hardware issue (I hope I find time to sit down and fix it). See, I’m a really heavy user and the only low end Android phone that has survived my exploits is my Tecno M3 which I named “Lazarus”. Thanks to detailed tutorials and videos at the Hovatek Forum, fixing Itel phones is now much easier. Team Hovatek’s Project Muse has also seen Clockworkmod & TWRP recovery ported for Itel phones with plans to release custom ROMs very soon.
Itel phones typically run on a System on Chip (SoC) called Spreadtrum. Spreadtrum phones (In my opinion) are generally cheaper than Mediatek phones which are in turn generally cheaper than Snapdragon phones. Here’s an overview of Spreadtrum chipsets:
|3G||SC7731G||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.3GHz||Mali-400||8.0 M.P.||1920*1080|
|SC8815||Single||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||3.0 M.P.||800*480|
|SC7715||Single||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||3.0 M.P.||800*480|
|SC5735A||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||aim at tablet|
|SC8735S||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||13 M.P.||1280*800|
|SC7735S||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||13 M.P.||1280*800|
|SC8830A||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||13 M.P.||1280*800|
|SC7730A||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||13 M.P.||1280*800|
|SC7730S||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.3GHz||Mali-400 MP4||8.0 M.P.||1280*800|
|SC8825||Dual||ARM Cortex-A5||1.2GHz||Mali-400||8.0 M.P.||1920*1080|
|SC8810||Single||ARM Cortex-A5||1GHz||Mali-400||5.0 M.P.||800*480|
|SC7710||Single||ARM Cortex-A5||1GHz||Mali-400||5.0 M.P.||800*480|
|SC7727S||Dual||ARM TM A7||1.2GHz||Mali-400||5.0 M.P.|
|SC7713||Same as MedidTek MT6580 MT6570|
|SC883XG||Quad||ARM Cortex-A7||1.4GHz||Support TD-SCDMA Dual Sim Dual Standby Android4.4|
|SC9610||NT40 CMOS,Intergration Multi-ModeCommunication Standard,as TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, quadcore EDGE/GSM/GPRS|
|4G||SC9620||Support TD-LTE/LTE-FDD/TD-SCDMA/HSPA+/GG. Same as MTK6732 and Qualicomm410|
|SC9830||Same as MediaTek MT6735/MT6753|
|4G||SC9830A||Quad-core 64Bit||ARM Cortex-A7||1.5GHz||Mali-400 MP nbsp;||13 M.P.||1080P|
Over the last one year, Itel has made a few improvements for the low end community. Lets take a quick look at the specs of the Itel 1516 Plus versus it1556 .
|Dimension||145.5*72.8*9.95 mm||156*79.3*9.9 mm|
|OS||Android 5.1||Android 5.1|
|Camera||Back 5.0MP AF/Front 2.0MP||Back 5.0MP/Front 2.0MP|
|Battery||5,000 mAh||5,000 mAh|
|Other||OTG reverse charge||OTG reverse charge|
|Price as at launch||~ NGN 29,000||~ NGN 27,000|
|Place an order||Click here to order the it1516 Plus||Click here to order the it1556|
The selling points of the it1516 Plus and it1556 are their 5,000 mAh battery bank and OTG (reverse charging) support. The 1556 falls a little short on RAM where the 1516 Plus has 1GB. This is however not the first 1GB RAM Itel phone we’ve seen. There’s been the it1702, it1505, it1406 and it1701.
At the time of this publication, the it1516 Plus goes for about NGN 29,000 while the it1556 goes for about NGN 27,000; prices of course vary with location and source.
Itel is so far yet to field a Marshmallow (Android 6) device. We also look forward to an SC9620 or SC9830x powered Itel phone for 4G LTE support. Speaking of Spreadtrum and LTE, Samsung seems to be testing the Spreadtrum waters more aggressively with the Samsung J2 (2016) and J3 (2016) powered by SC8830 and SC9830 respectively; both supporting 4G. It remains to be seen if Samsung will double-down on Spreadtrum (instead of Mediatek) powered phones to cover their low end markets (while Snapdragon remains for their mid to high end markets) in the face of rising competition, increased user preference for cheaper alternatives and of course, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 disaster. If Samsung does do this, I would like to know what brand Davids like Itel would do against brand Goliaths like Samsung.