Fulfilling the promise of a ‘smart’ feature phone that will retail for ₦8,000 ($22), the Nigerian unit of the MTN Group unveiled the MTN Smart T device in Lagos recently.
Don’t get your hopes up too much. The device is a feature phone, only that it supports some smartphone apps and functionality.
- Minimal data consumption
- Long lasting battery life
- Supports some smartphone apps like WhatsApp, Xender, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, FlashScore and many more
- You need an SD (memory) card to really enjoy the device
- An MTN SIM card is a requisite to use the device
- Both cameras are just 1.3MP each
What’s in the box
The MTN Smart T comes in two colour variants — black and gold. Our review unit is black.
- MTN Smart T device
- A user manual
- One earphone
- One charger head and a USB cord
- A 2000mAh battery
- A voucher for free 500MB per month for 6 months.
The MTN Smart T: Specs
- Operating System: KaiOS 2.5
- Dual SIM, dual standby (standard and nano SIM)
- Supports SD card
- Screen size: 2.4 inches
- Rear camera: 1.3MP
- Front camera: 1.3MP
- 256MB RAM, 512MB ROM
- Torch/Flashlight, flashlight, radio
- Connectivity: 2G, 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
A number of useful apps
The MTN Smart T comes pre-installed with optimised versions of apps like Google Maps, Music+, Facebook, YouTube, Google Assistant, Twitter, Google as well as the Kai Store, which currently has over 30 applications that are compatible with the device.
It also supports utility applications like Xender, QR Reader, Weather, To-do among others. And interestingly, there’s an application for sports fans in the Kai store — FlashScore which provides scores for some sports.
Apps are not only optimised for the device, but they are also economical in data consumption.
SIM, memory card requirements and telephony
Without an MTN SIM card in either of its slots, you cannot use the MTN Smart T for any cellular activities. Thankfully, there is Wi-Fi connectivity available.
You may also need to get an SD (memory) card to get the best out of the MTN Smart T. Without a memory card, even when the only installed 3rd party app (aside the preloaded apps) was WhatsApp, our review unit was often unresponsive and kept complaining about low storage.
Unlike most smartphones which allow you save contacts on the cloud, the MTN Smart T restricts you to saving contacts only on the phone or SIM memory.
Note: The end call button functions as the power button as well as the delete and back key. Pressing the key while dialing a number or writing a text deletes the characters one after the other.
Limited WhatsApp functionality
Unlike on Android and iOS devices, WhatsApp on the MTN Smart T doesn’t support video and voice call or status update. However, you can send and receive text, images, videos, audios, locations and voice messages.
You may find it difficult installing WhatsApp initially. I was only able to install it after many tries. When I eventually installed it, I couldn’t activate the app which I think has to do with WhatsApp and not the phone itself. So, I had to do a factory reset before I was able to activate it after installing it again. Your experience may be different.
Voice functionality inside
The Google Maps app on the MTN Smart T supports both text and voice search. After initiating a location search, you can get a preview of the directions showing the exact location of each of the turnings along the route to your destination.
With the pre-installed Google Assistant, you can also give voice commands to call someone from your contact list, send text messages, launch apps among others.
The MTN Smart T’s 2000mAh battery comes handy, I used the phone for about 8 hours watching YouTube videos, chatting on WhatsApp and playing Subway Runner — a miniature version of Subway Surfers — and I was still left with 51% battery power at the end of the day.
One can’t really expect much from the 1.3MP rear and selfie cameras. Below are a few sample shots.
The MTN Smart T is best-suited for those that have never used a smartphone before. It will, no doubt, enable them access the basic online services like social media and instant messaging, giving them a taste of the internet world.
It’s 2000mAh is definitely a plus, especially for people in rural areas with limited access to electricity supply.
Those who own devices with a battery capacity of 4000mAh and more, looking to use the MTN Smart T as a secondary device will also find its battery durable enough. As a secondary phone for me, it lasts more than two days on a single charge.
The MTN Smart T is okay for an ₦8k ($22) ‘smart’ feature phone, it’s an efficient secondary device for those with smartphones and a good primary device for people that are just joining the internet world.