Tecno unveiled their newest flagship of 2014 In Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday. This is the company’s foray into new grounds of full HD AMOLED screen and quite some work in the design and software. Tecno sells in Africa and has Nigeria and Kenya as the two largest of their markets, with the former leading. That’s the reason many of their smartphones have hit the West African country first. Kenya got the Tecno Phantom Z launched first and this serves as the global launch that was characterized by a media launch in the mid-morning of Wednesday and a cocktail late in the evening same day who’s audience consists of important people in the industry.
Now we already have our hands on the new device for review from Tecno and guess this is where we tell the story. You know, this is what you expect to find when you go into the shops when it becomes available. Should be some two weeks from now.
First thing you get is this huge box in blue. But don’t get it wrong, it’s got goodies inside besides the phone. The retail package comes with both a smart view cover that snaps on the sides instead of cover the whole rear, or replace the back cover. The other accessory is a 5200 mAh power bank in the package.
The phone itself comes in a slim package, something like the one Huawei’s Ascend P7 comes in. On sliding it out you’ll see the phone on the top of anther flap that sheaths the earphones, microUSB cable and power adapter underneath. Another slim package under there is the one containing the quick start guide, the warranty card and a promotional card for PalmChat app. The SIM extractor is also there-in held by a card.
Phantom Z is quite some work, the 5.2 inch full HD screen is covered by both the plastic cover that has a few of the phone details and when you peel that off there is the screen protector pre-installed. The rear also has a paper cover with a few instructions for set up. On peeling the unnecessaries off you get to drink in the beauty of the device that lies underneath the scratch proof Corning Gorilla Glass.
The front is this black front-for the record I have not seen a white version of the device even if marketing says it’s going to sell in both white and black options-has both on-screen and physical touch menus. One is like an absolute home button that takes you home from wherever, it is also the one you press and hold to show the open apps for multitasking. The other usuals are menu, back and “home” menus, the latter functions as home but is also what opens up Google Now when swiped up, it’s a KitKat thing. So that is the short story of why the phone has two home keys.
The top of the screen has sensors on the left of the ear piece and both the front camera and flash on the right. The Tecno logo is quite intrusive in the front as is in the rear.
The phone build is plastic in the rear that takes a fake leather design that’s actually removable but you won’t need to as the phone battery cannot be removed. The SIM cards too, storage is not expandable at 32GB. The sides are metallic, I am yet to establish what metal it is.
The bottom of the phone has the microUSB slot flanked on either side by the speaker perforations which remind you of an iPhone 5 and mouth piece. On the phone’s right we have the power button as the sole object that side, the top has the 3.5 mm jack while the volume rocker and SIM tray lie on the left. The SIM tray is an interesting one as it’s able to hold two microSIMs within the same tray. Something that I’d call a first.
The rear has the camera as the most prominent feature, it’s some bulge right there with the flash right beneath it. The Tecno logo is quite bold right under there and there is the Dolby logo there to remind you who’s responsible for the sound system inside.
The phone does have quite bright colours thanks to the AMOLED display and some of the few things you pick up within the first few minutes you have on the phone include the fancy screen unlock effect that has options of a crystal ball, opening particle and a football that bounces off the screen to unlock. The other is in the notifications are that has quick shortcuts at the top for flashlight, calculator, camera, music and stop watch. I will have to find out a bit later whether this is editable or not. It’s handy though the choice of applications set might not be the ones frequently used by most.
Nothing’s lost though as there is a switch right beneath that shows an option of either the phone notifications or other oft-used settings, with a tap and hold capability to go right into the selected setting further settings. Something I like is that it does come with both home-screens and an app drawer, allowing you freedom to choose the apps you want to show on the home-screens. A few flagships like the Infinix Alpha Marvel and Huawei Ascend P7 don’t. Though with the freedom that is Android, you can always download a launcher off the store and get this back.
What else would you like to know? Oh yes! It comes pre-installed with many apps, I can count upto 45 including manufacturer apps. Most of these are no protected, so should you find the “bloat” not useful to you then you can uninstall them. Some of the quite useful apps include Swiftkey optimized for Tecno, a very great idea, Flash Share, an app that allows you faster sharing via Bluetooth, CarlCare app that is there to guide you through reaching customer care by providing local customer service information including an option to dial right from within the app. The app is universal with country specific info, so you just click your country and you get connected.
We will be back with the full review in a few days after using the device and testing all what the phone has reporting on the same. Meanwhile should like to know anything about the phone, please talk to us in the comments section below. Ask anything you want to know, including anything you’d wish the review to focus on. Meanwhile, enjoy photos of the device in the gallery below. Click on any photo and browse through.