The TECNO Phantom 9 was announced late June and the company started teasing it. We waited for it for a while and now the TECNO Phantom 9 is finally here. The company’s flagship phone series had gone MIA in 2018 after launching the Phantom 8 in late 2017. We have played with the phone for a couple of days and here’s our hands-on review.
Right out of the box, you get the phone, a pair of earphones, a power brick, micro-USB charging cable, a protective case, and user guide.
The phone packs a myriad of specs which you can check here.
The TECNO Phantom 9 comes with a premium feeling design. You get a 6.4″ FHD+ AMOLED display and an in-display fingerprint scanner. Both are a first for the company.
The full view display comes with a resolution of 1080 by 2340 to ensure maximum multimedia content viewing and is only interrupted by a tiny notch.
The TECNO Phantom rocks minimum side and top bezel. There’s also a smaller chin at the bottom.
The TECNO Phantom 9 has a color gradient back that looks impressive when light strikes it. The TECNO Phantom 9 comes in a beautiful Lapland Aurora.
The color-shifting blue and purple gradients bring attention to the phone wherever you go or place it.
The back even though beautiful is a magnet for fingerprint smudges and occasional scratches. A Protective back cover comes with the box to enhance your grip and also keep off the smudges.
The buttons are well placed for easier access and make for a comfortable one-handed use despite its huge size.
Worth noting, the phone is super light, even with the protective cover on; at least when compared to the phones I’ve held in the past.
At the bottom, you get a micro-USB port, a headphone jack, and grills for the mono-speaker.
At the side, is the SIM tray slot which holds two micro sim cards and a slot for expandable storage.
Software and Performance
Under the hood, you get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage expandable via MicroSD up to 512GB. The TECNO Phantom 9 is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P35 chipset which clocks at 2.35GHz.
The phone runs on HiOS v5.0 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. There are added customization and software enhancements including the Smart Panel that eases access for tools like screenshot feature. You can add your favorite apps for easy multi-app switching.
Bloatware is present from apps such as Vskit, Visha, and Scooper.
Performance for the TECNO Phantom 9 has been zippy although I have qualms about the proximity sensor. It sometimes fails to work when you’re done with a call and go back to using the phone, the screen is still black unless you fiddle with the power button.
The in-display fingerprint scanner isn’t as fast as you need it to but this could be me getting spoilt after using the in-display fingerprint scanners of much higher-end phones.
Face unlock on it isn’t the most secure as I came to find out that you can unlock your phone even with your eyes closed. TECNO Phantom 9 probably uses face detection rather than face recognition for unlocking your phone.
Even though it’s not the most convenient, you’ll have to resort to using the traditional methods of unlocking your phone through pin, pattern or password.
The TECNO Phantom 9 rocks 4 AI-powered cameras, 3 rear and one front-facing.
You get a 32MP selfie camera housed at the notch. At the top bezel, there are two soft LED flashes on both the left and right sides of the camera to take selfies in lowlight.
You get to play with various modes from Video, AI Cam, Beauty, Portrait, AR shot for filters, WideSelfie and HDR.
For the triple rear setup, you get a 16MP primary sensor with f/1.8 night algorithm 2.0, an 8MP ultrawide(120 degrees) f/2.4 sensor and a 2MP depth sensor with Super Quad Flash.
You get Video, AI Cam, Beauty, Portrait, AR shot for filters, HDR and Panorama modes. There are options to shoot macro photos, wide-angle and Zoom to 2X.
Here are some samples9Click to expand)
The TECNO Phantom 9 has a 3500mAh battery that charges up using a micro-USB port.
The battery held its own during most days as it could push to a full day and a half on light use and stretch to the end of the day during heavy usage. Nothing to complain here regarding performance but a Type C port would have been welcome.
Pricing and Availability
The TECNO Phantom 9 is available in all official TECNO retail stores, Safaricom retail stores and Jumia going for Ksh 24,999.
Other financing options are offered by Lipa Later where you can start paying for the phone from as low as Ksh 2730 per month for 12 months. This option is flexible too.
If you have an older TECNO device, you can trade-in with Lipa Later to upgrade to TECNO’s flagship phone.
We’ll see how the phone fares on in the next coming days. Follow me on Twitter as I post regular updates during my time with the phone.