Itel attempts to reposition itself; introduces the Itel it1516 Plus and it1556

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:


Item No.


CPU Architecture





3GSC7731GQuadARM Cortex-A71.3GHzMali-4008.0 M.P.1920*1080
SC8815SingleARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-4003.0 M.P.800*480
SC7715SingleARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-4003.0 M.P.800*480
SC5735AQuadARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-400aim at tablet
SC8735SQuadARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-40013 M.P.1280*800
SC7735SQuadARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-40013 M.P.1280*800
SC8830AQuadARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-40013 M.P.1280*800
SC7730AQuadARM Cortex-A71.2GHzMali-40013 M.P.1280*800
SC7730SQuadARM Cortex-A71.3GHzMali-400 MP48.0 M.P.1280*800
SC8825DualARM Cortex-A51.2GHzMali-4008.0 M.P.1920*1080
SC8810SingleARM Cortex-A51GHzMali-4005.0 M.P.800*480
SC7710SingleARM Cortex-A51GHzMali-4005.0 M.P.800*480
SC7727SDualARM TM A71.2GHzMali-4005.0 M.P.
SC7713     Same as MedidTek  MT6580  MT6570
SC883XGQuadARM Cortex-A71.4GHzSupport TD-SCDMA Dual   Sim Dual Standby   Android4.4
SC9610NT40 CMOS,Intergration Multi-ModeCommunication Standard,as TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA, quadcore EDGE/GSM/GPRS
4GSC9620 Support TD-LTE/LTE-FDD/TD-SCDMA/HSPA+/GG. Same as MTK6732 and Qualicomm410
SC9830 Same as MediaTek MT6735/MT6753
4GSC9830AQuad-core 64BitARM Cortex-A71.5GHzMali-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 .

Specsit1516 Plusit1556
Dimension145.5*72.8*9.95 mm156*79.3*9.9 mm
Screen size5″5″
OSAndroid 5.1Android 5.1
CameraBack 5.0MP AF/Front 2.0MPBack 5.0MP/Front 2.0MP
Battery5,000 mAh5,000 mAh
OtherOTG reverse charge OTG reverse charge
Price as at launch~ NGN 29,000~ NGN 27,000
Place an orderClick here to order the it1516 PlusClick 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.