Tecno, by and large, is not known to produce any high spec’d phones, let alone flagships. The best they go to is the midrange space and this where our journey takes us. The Tecno Phantom series, though very inconsistent, has been one the most spec’d phone within the Tecno lineup while still being an average midrange, which says a lot about the brand. The focus of our review today is the Tecno Phantom 9, an extremely mixed bag of good and bad that leaves someone a little confused. Come along.
Display and design of the Tecno Phantom 9
The Tecno Phantom 9 has quite the highlights. It comes with an AMOLED screen, one of the very few devices from the Tecno stable to have one. The 6.39-inch infinity u teardrop notch houses the selfie camera, getting the screen to body ratio 84.0%. it has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and is quite vivid, even on in direct sunlight, which is a very welcome upgrade. Being an AMOLED panel, the media consumption is unrivaled in the whole of the Tecno segment and it is a welcome development to see that they no longer over-rely on LCD displays. The build is polycarbonate plastic, both front and back, here we have a vertical triple camera module. In a change of tradition, we now have an under-display optical fingerprint scanner, although its largely for optics. We get to keep the 3.5mm jack but what a disappointment to find it is still using microUSB!
Performance and storage
Truth be told, Tecno has never really been about powerful chipsets, and the Tecno Phantom 9 is no different. It carries the Mediatek MTK6765 Helio P35 chipset, alongside an octa-core 2.3GHz Cortex A53 CPU and a PowerVR GE8320 which in all circumstances considered in regular midrange performance. It will certainly not impress the power user, but it handles regular tasks with ease although it steps down the graphics once you start on serious gaming. The storage configuration onboard is 6GB for RAM and 128GB for internal storage, with an option for additional mass storage expansion through a dedicated microSDXC card. Its great with multitasking and regular use is a breeze.
Tecnos main selling point has always been the camera, and in this case, the Tecno Phantom 9 is studded with a triple camera array, a 16mp wide-angle lens, an 8mp ultrawide, and a 2mp depth sensor. as with many budget phones, the camera performance is average at best. It takes decent photos at optimal lighting conditions, but once those start to deteriorate, so does the quality. It struggles with low light and the bokeh and portrait photos are hardly accurate, but still usable. The camera can record 1080p video at 30fps.upfront, we have a generous 32mp sensor that can record 1080p at 30fps.
The Tecno Phantom 9 has a 3500 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery which easily takes you the day. It is however very disappointing that e get a power-draining screen while at the same time a downgrade in battery capacity. Over and above, we don’t get fast charging because the phone comes with a microUSB connector, which leaves us 10W standard charging which fills up in a sluggish 3 hours. It would have been interesting to see a fast charging implementation on a Tecno but I guess we are not there yet.
Straight out of the box, the Tecno Phantom 9 gets the Android 9 Pie-based HIOS 5.5 with a probable upgrade to Android 10. But the moment you jump into the interface, your excitement drops. The whole system in ridden with bloatware, from the home screen to the apps tray and pretty much throughout the phones. There are random apps that pop up pretty much everywhere without warning. This is unlike most custom skins from every other OEM in the market. You can toggle off some of these pleasantries, but the fact that they come as default is annoying enough. Besides that though, it should be smooth and fast.
The Tecno Phantom 9 is supposed to be a strong midrange contender, but it feels like an anticlimax. The specifications are basic at best, and even the fingerprint scanner is unreliable, in addition to the face unlock. The AMOLED is nice, but that’s about it. It is a hard sell in this particular segment but I guess there is always something for everyone.
Tecno Phantom 9 Specifications
|2G||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2|
|3G||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100|
|4G||LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800), 28(700), 38(2600), 40(2300), 41(2500)|
|Dimensions||158.5mm x 75.3mm x 7.9mm|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM)|
|Size||6.39 inches (84.0% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Type||AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, with 16M colors|
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio, (403PPI)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Operating System||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Chipset||Mediatek MT6765 Helio P35 (12nm)|
|Processor||Octa-core (4x2.3 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|Micro SD Slot||Yes, up to 1TB - dedicated slot|
|Back||Triple: 16MP, f/1.8, PDAF + 8MP, f/2.4, 13mm (ultrawide) + 2MP, f/2.8, depth sensor|
|Features||LED flash, HDR, panorama, 1080p@30fps|
|Front||Single: 32MP, f/2.0|
|Alert types||Vibration, ringtones|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS|
|Fingerprint||Yes, (under-display, optical)|