Live Science Verdict
The Megabook T1 is a fantastic debut laptop from Tecno. It's sleek, stylish and offers excellent value for money. Or at least it will once you can actually buy the damn thing over here.
Stylish design and high build quality
Great value for money
Not available in U.S./U.K. yet
Fast charging isn’t all that fast
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CPU: Intel i5 or 11th Gen Intel i7-1195G7
GPU: Intel Xe Iris graphics
RAM: 8 GB, 12 GB, or 16GB
Storage: 512 GB or 1TB SSD
Screen size: 16 in 1920 x 1080 IPS 144Hz
Weight: 3.27 lbs (1.48 kg)
Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.58 inches (357 x 235 x 14.8 mm)
Most of our readers won’t be familiar with Tecno and that’s fair enough. They’re a mobile technology brand that does big business in Asia and Africa, but you don’t typically see their products hitting shelves in the U.S. and Europe. Tecno is looking to change all that though, while also breaking into a new field with their debut laptop, the Tecno Megabook T1.
It’s not every day we see an entirely new player in the laptop game, so we thought we’d check out the Megabook T1 to see how it stacks up to the best laptops for students on the market.
Whilst it’s not available in the U.S. or European markets at the moment, Tecno is planning to release the Megabook T1 here eventually and if they can keep the price close to what it’s currently selling for in the Philippines (starting prices equate to around $550), then they should be onto a winner.
Tecno Megabook T1 review: Design & features
- Thin and portable
- Full aluminum casing for a sturdy feel
- Decent array of ports unlike many other ultrabooks
First impressions are very good as the Tecno Megabook T1 is a sleek looking machine. It has a slim and lightweight build, but still feels like a high-quality device thanks to the full aluminum casing. Most laptops in this price bracket skimp and go for a plastic shell, so we love to see this.
The back of the laptop is emblazoned with a funky-looking striped pattern with the Megabook name etched into it. There are other little bits of branding flair too, like the Megabook lettering hiding near the inside of the hinge. Even the packaging is designed to ape the look and feel of premium devices that cost twice the price.
The review unit that we were sent came in Space Gray, and at the moment that seems to be the only color option available. While the Tecno website does show other options, we suspect this initial release has been limited to the default option.
Tecno is aiming the Megabook squarely at the ultrabook market, so it’s a thin and portable laptop measuring in at just 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.58 inches (357 x 235 x 14.8 mm). It’s light too, weighting just 3.27 lbs (1.48 kg).
As it’s a 15.6-inch laptop, there is plenty of room for a spacious trackpad and full keyboard that includes the number pad on the side. The keys feel nice to type on, with decent travel time and satisfying feedback for a laptop of this size. The keyboard is backlit with varying degrees of brightness on offer, and it even automatically detects when you’re in a dark room and turns the lighting on for you.
Thin laptops and ultrabooks often sacrifice ports in their efforts to shed the weight, so it’s great to see a decent array of connections on the T1, with 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 2.1, HDMI, 2 x USB-C (one of which also doubles up as the charging port), an audio jack, and an SD card reader.
There is also a 2 MP webcam mounted above the screen, complete with a physical slide cover for privacy-conscious users. The video quality isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s in line with the offerings you typically see on laptops in this price range.
Tecno Megabook T1 review: Specs & performance
- Avoid the 8 GB and shell out for 12 GB or 16 GB version instead
- No dedicated GPU so you’ll be using the integrated Intel Xe Iris graphic
- 512 GB SSD and 1 TB SSD storage options
There are i5 and i7 Intel CPU options available for the Tecno Megabook T1, though at time of writing only the i5 version appears to be on sale. We were sent one of the i7 models, containing an 11th Gen Intel i7-1195G7 CPU. Weirdly, the Tecno website doesn’t specify which i5 processor the entry-level model uses, but we’re positive that it’s also an 11th Gen model.
You are missing out on a little extra power by not getting the 12th Gen Intel chips in there, but the previous models are still fine chipsets, especially for a low cost laptop like.
Alongside the intel CPU, the top-end Megabook T1 we tested came equipped with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. Cheaper versions come with 8 GB and 12 GB options. 8 GB has been considered the bare-minimum RAM in a decent laptop for a long while now, and we think you’re probably better off springing for the 12 GB option if you’re getting an i5 Megabook.
There is no dedicated GPU on the Tecno Megabook T1, so you’ll be using the integrated Intel Xe Iris graphics that come with the Intel CPU. It’s a serviceable solution that can handle some light gaming, but this isn’t a dedicated gaming rig so don’t expect to be running the latest AAA titles on Ultra settings.
We tried it out with Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun (which we were checking out for our sister site, Space.com). Everything ran like a dream and while it's hardly got top-end graphics, there are a surprising amount of particle effects on screen and the Tecno was able to keep up just fine.
On the storage front, the i7 Megabook comes with a 1 TB SSD, while cheaper models have a 512 GB SSD instead. That’s plenty of memory for storing files, games, photos, and music. Our colleagues over at TechRadar noted that the SSD in question, the Intel 670p, has quite slow write speeds though. This won’t be a big deal for most users though, especially as this isn’t a gaming machine in the first place and that’s the main place where write speeds matter.
Tecno Megabook T1 review: Screen & speakers
- FHD 15.6” screen
- 350 nits brightness, good color
- Speakers are great, but can get muffled as they’re on the underside
On the display front, the Tecno Megabook T1 comes with a 15.6” full HD (1920 x 1080p) screen with an impressive 350 nits brightness rating. The color accuracy and general display quality is great. We watched a good amount of Disney+ (gotta keep up with Mando S3) and YouTube videos on it and never had anything to complain about.
The screen is backed up by a hefty speaker array situated on the underside of the laptop. These 2.5W Stereo Speakers have DTS Immersive Sound and are apparently powered by “TECNO VOC Sound Effect,” though there isn’t much info out there as to what that means (something to do with using AI to give an immersive audio experience).
What we can tell you is that the speakers put in a very impressive performance. The sound quality is great and the volume goes high enough that you can still hear it when in a noisy room - we had videos on while we were cooking in the kitchen and could still hear everything clearly.
The speakers being on the bottom of the device can mean the sound gets a little muffled if you’re resting it on your lap, or on top of a blanket, so maybe put it on a book or tray if you’re watching movies in bed to help alleviate this.
Tecno Megabook T1 review: Battery life
- 17.5 hours maximum (12 hours in normal use)
- “Fast charging” is just regular charging
If you’re looking for an all-day laptop then the Megabook certainly has you covered in that regard. Tecno quotes a 17.5 hour battery life on their website, which is more than enough for a full day's work and then all your relaxing after work too. In truth, you’re probably looking at closer to 11-12 hours of average use on the balanced power mode, which is still very impressive. We never ran out of battery, or even came close while we were testing it.
On paper, the Tecno Megabook T1 also comes with fast charging, so you can recharge quickly when you do run out. It comes with a 65W GaN USB-C Fast-charger which is more reminiscent of a phone charger than a laptop charger. That makes sense, given Tecno’s heritage in making smartphones. In practice, the recharge times aren’t horrendous, but we’ve certainly seen better. The HP Spectre x360 16 goes from 0-50% in 30 minutes, while the Megabook took an hour to go from 5% to 40% when we tested it.
Tecno Megabook T1 review: Price
- Good value for what you get
- Not available yet in the U.S. or Europe, but can probably expect to pay around $550+
Price is a bit of a funny one when it comes to the Tecno Megabook T1, because at the time of writing it’s not available to buy anywhere in the U.S. or Europe yet. When it does eventually make its way over here though, we’re expecting it to cost around $550 for the entry-level i5 model and around $800 for the i7 version that we tried out.
That’s a very reasonable price for what you’re getting here: a lightweight ultrabook with great specs, a stylish design, and premium build quality.
Should you buy the Tecno Megabook T1?
In truth, you probably can’t buy the Tecno Megabook T1 just yet. Tecno is apparently keen to move into the U.S. and European markets with this model, but there’s no sign of it yet. However, if and when it does arrive on our shores, we think the Megabook T1 has real potential.
It’s well built, lightweight, and comfortable to use with great specs under the hood. The screen is solid, the speakers are decent, and it has an amazing battery life. All this adds up to a fantastic workhorse laptop that students could carry around campus with them all day. And, if the low prices we’re seeing in other countries translate to the U.S. and Europe, then it’s also going to offer exceptional value for money too.
This means that we would recommend the Tecno Megabook T1 as one of the best laptops for students. However, if you're looking for something a bit more powerful, then you might be better off checking out our guide to the best laptops for photo editing and best laptops for coding & programming instead.
If the Tecno Megabook T1 isn’t for you?
If you’re looking for a laptop that you can actually just buy right now without having to import it, then we’ve got a few alternatives for you to check out.
The MSI Prestige 14 EVO costs about the same as the Megabook at $579 and offers similar specs. The entry-level model has an i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD – slightly more than the Megabook for a smaller screen, but with a newer 12th Gen Intel processor so we’d say it’s about a wash.
There are i7 EVO models that compete with the top-end versions of the Megabook too. The MSI Prestige 14 EVO with a 12th Gen i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD costs $879. Slightly more than the larger Megabook, but, again, you’re getting a newer CPU.
You can also check out the Acer Aspire Vero, which has near enough identical specs to the Megabook for around the same cost too – the i7 version costs $749/£849, while the i5 model costs just $584/£649.
Ian is the Tech and Entertainment Editor at Live Science & Space.com. This means he covers everything from Star Wars and the MCU through to VR headsets and Lego sets. With a degree in biology, a PhD in chemistry, and his previous role at Institute of Physics Publishing, Ian is taking a world tour through the different scientific disciplines. He's seeing how long they let him keep this profile photo.