Review of the $22 MTN Smart T ‘smart’ feature phone

by | Mar 26, 2019

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.

The MTN Smart T unboxed

The MTN Smart T unboxed

Pros

  • Minimal data consumption
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Supports some smartphone apps like WhatsApp, Xender, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, FlashScore and many more

Cons

  • 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.

Advertisement

  • 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.

Quick review

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.

Advertisement

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.

Battery life

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.

Camera samples

One can’t really expect much from the 1.3MP rear and selfie cameras. Below are a few sample shots.

IMG 0015 1 e1553526069972

Taken with the 1.3MP back camera

IMG 0013 e1553526048442

Taken with the 1.3MP back camera

IMG 0001 e1553525613530

Taken with the selfie camera

Conclusion

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.

Yinka Awosanya
Yinka Awosanya

Mobile & African Tech Enthusiast │ Data Analyst │ Music

On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
3 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Adam
Adam
4 months ago

How can I get it

Khadija
Khadija
2 months ago

Does it support any Java games

Temitope
Temitope
27 days ago

I need the phone can I still get it

Recent News

Uber’s bet on ‘Okada’

Uber’s bet on ‘Okada’

Today on #TechpointDigest, @nifemeah discusses Uber’s launching its motorbike hailing service, UberMoto, in Ibadan.

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Crypto Explorer

A monthly series featuring in-depth analysis on the cryptocurrency sector in Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap