Tecno is a household name in Kenya since it started selling phones back in 2006. The company was among the very first players that introduced dual-SIM devices to cater for people who want to use more than one mobile operator. In its bid to conquer and fit into a market that was embracing the merits of having portable smart devices, Tecno jumped into the smartphone scene in 2012, and it is safe to say that its devices have been received well, especially in Africa and Southern Asia where it currently operates.
Today’s announcement, which just concluded in Dubai, marked the introduction of its flagship device, the Phantom 8. This means that leaks have been given a stopper, which is normal in a world where top devices strike curiosity among tech enthusiasts and phone lovers.
So, what does that Phantom 8 bring to the table in a fiercely contested smartphone niche, more so in Kenya where rival OEMs such as Samsung and HMD Global have pushed their top-of-the-line devices (Galaxy Note 8 and Nokia 8) to store shelves? Plenty, actually, and let’s dive right in.
At the very top is Phantom 8’s offerings in the camera department, which, without a doubt, is a critical feature of any phone buyer. It has a dual-camera set up with Sony-made IMX386 12 MP and 13 MP sensors. The primary 12 MP eye has 2X optical zoom, but the second sensor trumps it with up to 10X Super Zoom that stitches and boosts the megapixel count of zoomed images to give sharper, better-looking shots. The setup has all the bells and whistles of a 2017 flagship camera, including the ability to keep a subject in a photo in focus and slightly blurring the background. It is a feature that was introduced by last year’s Apple iPhone 7 smartphones, and has since been adopted widely, with each manufacturer giving it a unique name. Samsung calls it Live Focus, and for this case, Tecno’s version is dubbed Auto Refocus.
On the front is a 20 MP shooter with a ‘smart dual selfie’ flash. The selfie cam is said to be 30% brighter from its predecessor, and includes features such as a Smooth Mode to get rid of facial blemishes, as well as a Brighten Mode.
The entire package is constructed with a new language that Tecno calls Diamond Fire Design. It does not stray away from what we have to expect of top devices as it is a unibody full metal mid-frame. Under the hood is a Mediatek Helio P25, which is an octa-core chip that clocks up to 2.6GHz. Accompanying it is 6GB of RAM. Further additions include global connectivity and 4G+ that is capable of 300 Mbps in downloads, in theory. Powering the device is Android 7.0 Nougat, which is not the newest version of Android, sadly.
The Phantom 8 is yet to take on the QHD craze because its 5.7-inch display has a resolution of 1080 * 1920. There is also a Type-C port for charging and data transfers. By the way, the phone’s 3500mAh battery can be filled up to 100% in 70 minutes, which is impressive, to say the least.
You may have noticed that the device has put emphasis on its camera prowess, which we will put to test once we get hold of a review unit, soon. Another notable point is that there are no two models of the device that we saw with last year’s Phantom 6 and Phantom 6 Plus. This is an acceptable approach in my opinion because it means the company will only need to concentrate on one device in terms of support, be it software of otherwise.
The Tecno Phantom 8 will be available in 3 colours; Galaxy Blue, Phantom Black and Champagne Gold. It will cost around KES 40,000 (may change) when it launches in Kenya in coming days. It is a competitive price range because it does not surpass the prohibitively expensive range of devices that are packed with 18:9 displays with skinny bezels, as well as lifestyle features such as Ingress Protection, wireless charging, to mention a few.