David: Tecno’s rise to prominence in the Nigerian smartphone market has been applaudable. The brand started out in the low end of the phone market (eventually getting tagged with the unflattering nickname Chinco (low-quality Chinese phones with horribly high-pitched speakers) but have so far done well in rebranding themselves. After winning in the low end market for years Tecno turned their sights on the other end of the spectrum – high end consumer phones.
The Tecno Phantom 5 is their attempt to play with the big boys and target the high-end Android phone market.
Here is my review of the phone;
Ibukun: You mean our review, right?
David: Are you going to make this weird?
Ibukun: Let’s just do the review abeg.
David: The Tecno Phantom 5 has a unibody design, with a 5.5 inch display and a 1080 x 1920 screen resolution. The phone has a fingerprint scanner which took some time to find (Ibukun still hasn’t found it and I’m not telling him).
It also comes with a solid 3000 mAh non-removable Li-ion battery. For someone who likes to multitask, that is do other things while using my phone, the size didn’t help. What’s more, I didn’t particularly enjoy the phone’s ergonomics as the sharp edges, slippery metallic finish and no grip mechanisms make the phone a slight burden to use with one hand.
Ibukun: First of all, we know what multitasking is, thank you very much. And secondly, yeah, what he said.
David: Is that all you’re going to say?
Ibukun: Should I tell them how you were asking what NFC means?
David: Okay, moving on…
Specs and Performance
David: With a 3GB RAM, a 64-bit 1.5 GHz octa-core processor and a Mali-T760 MP4 GPU, the Tecno Phantom has all the requirements needed for a super-fast phone. But this wasn’t always the case. While using the phone, I noticed split-second delays while unlocking and locking the screen, and opening my regularly used apps.
Ibukun: Hold up. Split second delays? What do you mean?
David: The screen’s responsiveness was disappointing at times.
Ibukun: By a split second…?
Ibukun: So, what? You want the phone to predict what you’re going to do? And since a split second is too slow for you, how much delay would be okay? Here’s an iPhone. How’s the responsiveness?
David: This is different. it’s iOS. On this Phantom 5, apps likes Slack, Video player, Whatsapp, Twitter and Bible Offline had delayed loading times. What’s even more annoying, when fast forwarding and rewinding videos, there is a full second delay. It’s as if the processor is sticking it’s tongue out at you, trying to get under your skin.
Ibukun: Okay. I think anyone who’s used Android devices for a while will be used to the slight delays. From what I experienced, I believe it comes with the Android environment. Except for that video delay, which felt a bit off. Anything else?
David: Yes. This might be a good time to say, it’s my first time using an Android phone.
Ibukun: I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
Moving on, the phone has 32GB non-expandable storage which kinda sucks for a NGN70,000 ($350) phone. Expandable storage is one of the hallmarks of the android ecosystem so I don’t understand why it’s left out. A heavy app user like me who plays games and likes to carry his music library on-device will fill up that 32GB in no time. Whatevs. Let’s talk about something else.
David: The 3000 mAh battery, as expected, performed well. During my test run, I went through the whole day on a single charge and I was hooked up to the WiFi all through. The phone has Ultra power and Battery saver options, depending on your needs. I see the phone going a full 24 hours for moderate users.
Ibukun: I think a worry point for me was actually charging the battery itself. Maybe it’s the charger that came with the phone but it takes forever to get to a full charge.
David: I’m telling you. Look, give yourself brain. Don’t use it while charging it, you’ll just be doing yourself. It took me a full 105 minutes for the phone to reach full charge from 87%.
David: In simple words: Kim Kardashian and other Instagram lovers wouldn’t love the Phantom 5’s cameras. A 13 MP auto focus camera should offer more in picture quality than the Tecno Phantom 5 does. But then again, it’s the camera software that matters most in picture quality. Taking pictures in the absence of natural lighting doesn’t help the phone’s cause either. While taking pictures, the camera takes a second to load the picture.
Ibukun: This may be a dealbreaker for photo enthusiasts. I really wanted to love this phone, but the camera was the achilles heel. It could have been better.
What we liked about the Tecno Phantom 5
The screen size is ideal for reading, which we both do on the regular.
Solid video quality.
Long battery life.
The boom speakers are so amazing, it’s hard to keep it turned down. A certain editor (David) kept annoying everybody with loud music.
What we didn’t like about It
The phone is an underperformer. With specs like these on paper, we were expecting mini miracles. We didn’t them.
The poor picture quality.
The body, this is a difficult phone to handle with one hand.
So, what’s the verdict?
Tecno’s latest attempt to take on the high-end android market is a commendable one. Maybe at a cheaper price point, coupled with those amazing specs, this would have been a definite winner. As things stand right now, you have to temper your expectations.