TECNO launched the Phantom X2 series in the country early last week after its global launch last month. This is their second attempt at the premium smartphone market after launching the Phantom X in 2021.

The Phantom series is TECNO’s new sub-brand targeting the high-end market and the second-gen Phantom brings much-needed upgrades over its predecessor. We have a bigger battery, faster charging speeds, a better and bigger display, a new design and louder speakers and more importantly a flagship-worthy chipset.

The Phantom X2 series share most specs and design – the main differentiator is that the Pro version has a retractable portrait lens in the triple main camera setup.

UNBOXING

TECNO went big, literally with their packaging as the phones come in a big slideout box full of accessories, phone, paperwork and back case with a stand.

In a period where flagship smartphones ditch the accessories and only ship the phone in a small box containing the charging cable and some documentation and a sim ejector tool.

TECNO Phantom X2

It’s delightful that you don’t have to dig into your pocket to buy important accessories.

DESIGN

TECNO Phantom X2 series keeps the curved display from the Phantom X but is now bigger at 6.8″. It’s an AMOLED screen in a 20:9 aspect ratio sporting a 120Hz refresh rate and P3 wide colour gamut. It is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.

It’s crisp and fast and almost bezel-less. The large screen real estate comes in clutch when consuming content from Netflix and YouTube. It’s worth noting that it has Widevine L1 certification but lacks HDR support.

In terms of peak brightness, the Phantom X2 has 710 nits which is decent when you’re out and about and need to check a few emails or scroll social media and browse a little.

The fast 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate makes gaming and interacting with the phone interface buttery smooth and no lag with the powerful chipset and RAM combo.

For biometrics, we get an optical under-display fingerprint reader and face unlock which is pretty fast.

At the bottom, we have the speaker, the charging port, the microphone and the dual nanoSIM card tray.

At the top, we have the secondary microphone.

On the right side is the power button with a red accent and volume buttons.

The highlight of the design is the back with a large central camera island which we’ll talk about below. The included back case is textured and has a raised ring to protect the lenses. You’ll note the Phantom X2 has an orange ring around the world’s first retractable portrait lens.

Phantom X2 comes in Moonlight Silver and Stardust Gray with a plastic back.

The Pro comes in Stardust Grey and Mars Orange. TECNO went the eco way with the latter’s cover that uses recycled materials from the ocean that are converted to microfibers. The company says that its use of recycled materials reduces its carbon emissions by 38%.

The design refresh is a nice addition and the obvious camera island placement makes the phone stand out more putting it in a level fit for other flagships. The phone sporting Gorilla Glass Victus makes sure the screen is well protected against scratches and eh occasional slight drop.

It’s a bummer we don’t get an IP68 water and dust rating for either phone.

Overall, the design choices are impressive with the Phantom X2 series.

PERFORMANCE

Both phones ship with more than capable chipsets – they rock the Dimensity 9000 5G(4nm) and Mali G710 MC10 GPU chipset paired with 8GB RAM and 12GB for the regular and Pro version respectively. You can expand either with up to 5GB of virtual RAM.

The regular and Pro have 256GB of UFS 3.1 onboard storage.

In terms of performance, you are taken care of with the Phantom X2 series. Everything flies with tasks from light to moderate and heavy and not just now but also in a few years.

The Phantom X2 series comes with Android 12 and HiOS 12 out of the box. TECNO has guaranteed that the Phantom X2 series will get upgraded to Android 13 in the first and second quarters this year, Android 14 and probably Android 15 when Google launches it.

HiOS 12 brings special functions like Lightning Muli-Window, MemFusion to increase RAM, Smart Pnale, Social Turbo, Video Assistant, App Twin, Kids Mode, MOL translation assistant and Peek Proof.

Most flagship and midrange phones that launched last year have already gotten updated to Android 13 and we hope TECNO changes their software update timelines to bring these much-needed upgrades sooner rather than later. This policy change would keep the Phantom X2 series in the same league as its flagship rivals when it comes to software support.

Both phones are 5G-enabled and they were clocking 240Mbps of speed at our usual testing spot.

BATTERY LIFE

The Phantom X2 series has a 5160mAh battery with support for 45W fast charging. The brick is included in the box together with the cable and type-C charging cable.

The Phantom X2 takes 20 minutes to go from empty to 54% and an hour to full charge.

The bigger battery is welcome as you can go up to two days on light use and heavy use will still leave you with around 30% to let you do some late-night browsing and social media scrolling.

You won’t have to worry about running around with a charger to top up your phone during the day.

CAMERAS

The Phantom X2 series rock a 32MP selfie camera located in the centre punch-hole cut-out.

We have a triple array at the back:

  • Phantom X2 Cameras:
  • 64MP main
  • 2MP depth
  • 13MP ultrawide
TECNO Phantom X2 Cameras
TECNO Phantom X2 Cameras
  • Phantom X2 Pro Cameras
  • 50MP main
  • 50MP portrait
  • 13MP ultrawide
TECNO Phantom X2 Pro Cameras
TECNO Phantom X2 Pro Cameras

Video recording by the main cameras is capped at 4K 60fps for both too while selfie videos are limited to 1080p 60fps.

We took a ton of shots and I was overall impressed with the shots. The Phantom X2 series took consistent photos during the day and in lowlight scenarios.

Most of the photos came out well-detailed, with nice background separation, especially for portraits, sharpness and vibrancy.

You’ll never go wrong when it comes to smartphone photography with the Phantom X2 series.

VERDICT

TECNO is becoming the flagship killer with the new Phantom sub-brand as seen with the X2 series that finally pack flagship grade features.

There’s still room to improve but for the starting price of the phones, we can commend TECNO for pushing the boundaries in terms of design, battery, performance and cameras. The software update cycle needs to be more timely, especially for the Phantom X2 series and future Phantom devices.

The flagship market in the country is less saturated than the midrange and budget-level smartphone market. TECNO holds the upper budget and lower midrange smartphone with the Spark and the Camon series.

It is great that the flagship market in Kenya now has a new entrant to ruffle feathers and consumers now have more options to choose from.

Stay tuned for our upcoming comparison review.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing starts at Ksh 68,000 and Ksh 82,000 for the Phantom X2 and the Phantom X2 Pro respectively.

They’re available at TECNO’s stores, Safaricom’s retail shops and online at Masoko.

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