Budget price aside, the crippling performance woes make it third time unlucky for this fatally flawed handset.
Bright display, CyanogenMod UI, low price
Poor screen, flaky build, sluggish performance, crippled RAM and storage, camera problems
Performance and hardware
In terms of hardware there's nothing wrong with the Mediatek MT6735 chipset per se. It runs along at 1.3GHz and packs in four cores to boot. However, the paltry 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage is when things really start to go south. At times it's practically unusable thanks to uncomfortably long pauses between keypresses and actions.
Geekbench 3 returned 614 (single-core) and 1,800 (multi-core) but don't be caught out by these scores. The Spark outperforms the £119 Obi MV1, but the real-life performance is the poorest we've seen in a long time.
You might as well forget about multitasking as the hardware just isn't going to cut it. Hopping between Colour Switch, the Google Play store and Aliens vs. Pinball brought the Spark to its knees, and the handset informed us that apps were taking too long to respond. We'll touch on this more in Storage a little later.
A tinny speaker hides around the back and produces predictably weedy sound.
It should come as no surprise that the Spark lacks a fingerprint scanner and NFC support, so you'll have to shop around and spend a little more to future-proof yourself.
The 5in IPS display impresses at first glance. Look past the HD resolution and you're left with a nice and bright picture (420 cd/m2). On closer inspection, however, the screen presents several problems.
The harsh reality sets in when compared with fellow budget handsets, in this instance the Obi Worldphone MV1 and last year's Moto G3. The 294ppi is by no means terrible, but you shouldn't be able to make out individual pixels.
After only a few hours use you'll find that the screen also requires a good wiping down as it picks up fingerprints something chronic. This might help to mask the problem pixels but you'll need to keep a cleaning cloth handy.