TECNO is entering the premium flagship smartphone market with the recently launched Phantom X. But does it have what it takes to outsmart its rivals – that will be the focus of this full review.
Right off the bat, the Phantom X is the most premium smartphone TECNO has ever designed. Picking it up, you’ll be surprised how incredibly thin and light. It’s relatively compact when you compare it to what TECNO already offers in its smartphone portfolio.
The TECNO Phantom is pretty tall with a 6.7″ curved AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
The screen is Gorilla Glass 5 protected and features an in-display fingerprint sensor and dual punch-hole cutout at the top left for the two selfie cameras which we’ll talk about later.
The phone is sturdy and has a great feeling to the hand.
The back is a patterned glass with the TECNO Phantom branding at the bottom centrally aligned a little below the camera island which we’ll talk about later.
The textured back comes in handy with grip and prevents some smudges and minimize fingerprints. Good thing TECNO included a textured black cover that’s light with strengthened corners.
The curved edge isn’t as dramatic and sits nicely when using the phone. There’s the power button and volume rocker on the right. The midframe is aluminium so you’re getting your money’s worth.
The display offers full DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage and it’s a full HD+ AMOLED panel at 1080p resolution with the added 90Hz refresh rate. All these features ensure you get stunning colours when consuming multimedia content, razor-sharp text and animations are silk smooth.
The display gets bright with good colour reproduction with reasonable viewing angles even when outdoors.
You also get support for the Always-on display which I found to be delightful to use. You are provided with some customisations styles to play around with.
The chassis design is rounded up by the bottom facing speaker and USB-C charging port together with the headphone jack and microphone. The Dual-SIM tray that also has a slot for external storage via microSD is located on the top part of the phone.
The audio is pretty decent. You’ll be entertained when watching videos, movies or listening to music or podcasts.
The Phantom X comes in two colours including Van Gogh’s Starry Night Blue and Monet’s Summer Garden. Van Gogh’s Starry Night brings a stellar display of the mysteriously nebulous sky while Monet’s Summer Garden is a display of warm and exuberant colours.
Software and Perfomance
TECNO Phantom X ships with Helio G95 chip, Mali-G76 MC4 GPU paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage which you can expand with an external microSD.
The Phantom X handled whatever tasks you threw at the phone with ease. Performance was impressive from a mixture of streaming, social media, heavy gaming including titles like PUBG, Asphalt 9, Genshin Impact, Among Us, Critical Ops, Grim Valour, Dead Target and others – all at 90Hz to the occasional work stuff like emails, multiple tabs on Chrome among other tasks.
On the software end, we get Android 11 and HiOS 7.6. With Google’s latest mobile operating system, you are getting new privacy and security features including improved handling of app permissions for the camera, microphone, and location, scoped storage among a host of other useful features.
TECNO’s own HiOS user interface brings new features and is more fine-tuned. HiOS 7.6 comes with a new modern layout with a minimalist visual experience and new features like Peek Proof, App Twin, Video Assistant, Improved Smart scanner with document correction, Phone cloner, among others.
However, it has a long way to go. Some of my reviewer friends had issues setting up Android Auto. Third-party apps like Spotify, Apple Music couldn’t work.
That’s something that TECNO needs to work on. Another thing is HiOS is still intrusive with its prompts to download suggested apps plus the unnecessary apps which thankfully you can either uninstall or disable.
I loved that I could use the phone without the need for a third-party launcher, which is a huge thing for me.
Going forward TECNO needs to work on their user interface especially with the Phantom line that’s now ambitiously aiming for the premium mid-range smartphone segment that’s getting really competitive in the country.
Battery Life Performance
Included with the Phantom X is a 4700mAh battery. I was averaging 8 hours of screen-on-time with heavy use which means you can pull a full day with the phone. Light use can give you a day and a half.
You can even prolong this with nifty power-saving features like power boost, sleep mode optimization, ultra-power saving, battery optimization and battery saver mode.
When you run low on juice, you can top up with the 33W fast type-C charging. You can get from 4% to 64% in 29 minutes and an additional 15 minutes to 89%.
The Phantom X is a powerhouse from the dependable battery life performance to the quick fast charging.
We’ve already done a camera review of the TECNO Phantom X but here’s a quick recap. Phantom X features a 50MP triple setup that includes a 13MP telephoto lens with 2X zoom that’s also good for portrait shots and an 8MP ultrawide lens with a 120-degree field of view.
The dual punch-hole cutout in the top left part of the screen hosts two selfie cameras that comprise a 48MP main and an 8MP ultrawide.
Shutterbugs will love playing around with the new modes such as the Film mode with customizable video templates with themes surrounding travel, sport, party, performance, street, family and more. These templates come together with a variety of transitions, camera movements and music choices in the Film mode.
We also have SuperNight mode(for both selfies and regular nighttime shots), Time Lapse, and Slow Motion.
For video, you can record 4K at 30fps, 1080p at either 60fps or 30fps. Other video modes include video bokeh mode(for selfie videos too), video beauty mode(for regular videos too), ultra-steady mode(capped at 1080p at 30fps), slowmotion(capped at 960fps) and Time-lapse at 1080p at 30fps.
You are bound to get really amazing shots and videos both in daylight and lowlight scenarios including selfies and portraits with the Phantom X.
TECNO Phantom X offers solid value with its sleek design, curved and vibrant display, excellent performance, improved cameras, stellar battery life performance and fast charging which makes for a great overall package.
It’s exciting to see the new direction TECNO is taking with its Phantom line. But as it enters the tight premium midrange market, it needs to upgrade its software skin and include an even and newer processor to match up to its rivals.
Future iterations might improve the successor to the Phantom X
I’m looking forward to seeing what the next Phantom will pack to be a hit next year. Despite its limitation, the TECNO Phantom X is a strong performer.
Pricing and Availability
TECNO Phantom X goes for Ksh 49,999 and is already in TECNO’s official retail stores countrywide(check here).