14 September 2020


Seriously doable

Recently we delved into the world of TCL's new smartphones that, despite their impressive specs, fell firmly into the category of 'budget phone'. However, if you don't think £400 could be easily considered the budget option, read on. We've got here an ultra-affordable phone in the form of the IMO Q4 Pro.

It's okay, we'd never heard of IMO, either. The British mobile company is, apparently, dedicated to keeping everyone connected in the most affordable manner, and that is surely backed up by the Q4 Pro's price: just £60 for the handset, outside of a contract, from Tesco. Yep, just 60 quid.

So, based on that price, you might be expecting a total wash-out in terms of features and build quality. But you shouldn't. The IMO Q4 Pro is running Android 9 GO on a quad-core 1.4GHz CPU with just a single gig of RAM. The screen is 5.45 inches at 540 x 1132 dpi, and there is an 8MP main shooter, supported by a 5MP selfie cam. Not bad, so far.

In the hand, the Q4 Pro feels suspiciously light. That might be as we've mostly become accustomed to handling glass or metal smartphones of late, meaning the plastic back of the Q4 Pro makes it alarmingly light. That plastic back will actually pop off, revealing the SIM and Micro SD card slots, as well as a removable battery - something we haven't seen in years.

Speaking of that Micro SD slot - you'll probably want to use it, as the the phone comes with only 16GB of build-in storage. That isn't much at all, especially if you're wanting to use those cameras a lot, and download all those vital apps. Still, the Q4 Pro accommodates cards of up to 64GB, so no worries there.

Despite the relatively low (compared to other, admittedly more expensive "budget" phones) dpi of the display, it functioned well enough to show everything you need for day-to-day use. Android 9 Go might be lacking in features, but at least it looks good on the Q4 Pro's screen, and the refresh rate was fine for flipping between apps. Watching video over the likes of YouTube looked a little flat but, again, this is in comparison to phones that cost four to five times as much. So we gave it a break.

The main 8MP camera performed pretty well. It was nothing to sing and dance about, but remembering that the phone carrying the cam was only £60 means we were pleasantly surprised. Colour reproduction was okay, and noise was low - apart from in low light conditions when it struggled. The 5MP selfie shooter did everything we asked for, and we only noticed a reduction in quality when viewing the snaps on a large screen. To be honest, keep you photos on the device itself, and you'll be more than happy.

One feature that surprised us with its presence was face unlocking. Set up through Android as you would with any other phone, this allows you to unlock the Q4 Pro with just a glance to the selfie camera. And it worked excellently, at least during the couple weeks we were testing the device. Plus, having a feature like this, that you would normally expect to find on higher-end smartphones, was a real delight and only served to impress us further.

So, who should buy the IMO Q4 Pro? Well, it would be difficult for us to recommend people like us; those who enjoy leading-edge features and materials in their smartphones. But clearly IMO haven't built the Q4 Pro for us. Instead, this would an excellent first, second or third smartphone for a child or teenager. It has all the features they need to stay in touch with friends, plus you aren't going to be too mad at them if they lose or break it.

It would also serve older people quite well; those who perhaps have so far resisted the transition over to smartphones. They certainly won't quibble at the price (especially as they can pick it up with their weekly shop at Tesco), and it isn't lacking in any features that would make them feel like they'd bought a dud.

And hey, if you're someone who needs a constant connection to the world via a smartphone, consider getting one of these to sit in a drawer as an emergency back-up phone. If you lose or destroy your expensive Samsung, whip this out for a while during the repair or replacement process. At £60, who's complaining?

Impressive price, surprising features, and endless versatility, the IMO Q4 Pro is a budget smartphone that brings in more than you'd expect.


Available from tescomobile.com

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