Tecno Phantom 5Ksh38,000
- Amazing Super AMOLED Screen
- Good Performance from 1.5GHz Octacore and 3GB of RAM
- A Functional Fingerprint Reader
- Dolby audio & Impressive Speaker for Music and Audio
- 4G LTE Enabled
- The Bezels Make it Rather Chunky
- Lacks the premium look and feel you'd find in established flagships
The brand Tecno has, for a long time now, been synonymous with budget Android devices meant to capture a relatively big niche in Africa. The company has had significant success with the strategy but if Tecno Phantom 5 is anything to go by, it seems the brand has turned a new leaf. With the device, Tecno has released what is ideally a flagship killer meant to provide users with a premium experience at a nominal price. So how does the device stand out?
Tecno Phantom 5 Build Quality
Breaking away from the norm of plastic devices, the Tecno design team chose to actually show their intent by coming up their first aluminum alloy unibody device. The Phantom 5’s metallic finish, as you would expect, gives it a superior feel and allows for a flattering thickness of just 6.8mm.
Complementing the metal body, is a 5.5” AMOLED display with fairly good viewing angles albeit having some noticeably thick bezels. Overall, the phone is sleek and feels light on the hands despite technically being a phablet. Even so, the sharp edges may not be too comfortable for a one-handed grip as the edges tend to dig into the palms while the metal feels a bit slippery hence, may necessitate using a cover.
Centered at the back towards the top, is a 13MP camera and dual LED flash as well as a rounded fingerprint sensor, just below. There is also the Tecno branding and a lengthy loudspeaker grille towards the bottom of the back cover.
On the right-hand side, there are the volume and power button controls as is custom with Android. There is also an SD card drawer on the same side and two of the same for SIM cards on the other side which can only be ejected
using the included ejector tool.
Above the display, there is an 8MP snapper for selfies which is coupled with a flash of its own just next to the earpiece and the notification LED. Below the screen is where you find a large chunk of unused bezel since Tecno decided to go with software keys which will naturally consume some screen real estate.
Tecno Phantom 5 comes out of the box running Lollipop which is still reasonably recent considering the fact that the Marshmallow is still in the rollout phase. As is tradition, Tecno phones run an AOSP-looking version of Android and so does the Phantom 5. Tecno has added some security codes to make use of the fingerprint sensor for enhanced security.
The software allows you to register your print and use it as the primary unlock mode or stick with the old-fashioned pin and passcode. The calibration of the fingerprint sensor is fairly accurate however some touches may be misread depending on how you place your finger.
The UI is rather smooth mainly because it is powered by a 1.5GHz Mediatek octacore processor coupled by 3 Gigs of RAM. Even so, the optimization of the system apps is poor as they initially take up around 40% of the temporary storage. This, however, should not be an issue for average users utilizing just a couple of apps at a time since the phone rarely lags or heats up. This is true even when playing some classic android games such as Real Racing and Asphalt or even in recording HD videos.
Camera: As mentioned before, the Phantom uses two cameras both of which are flash enabled although the back camera has Dual LED flash. The image quality of the device is quite outstanding especially in good lighting and it also just manages to get the details right in low lighting thanks to the large f2.0 aperture and dual-power flash. The autofocus is fast for hurried snaps and you can also touch to focus for more accurate and meditated pictures. You also Geo-tagging, face detection, panorama and a number of filters to touch up your photos.
Fingerprint Sensor: It has to be emphasized that the sensor is very responsive and tends to fair pretty similar to other flagships with the same technology. There is however that concern of some touches being misread and you therefore have to reposition your fingerprint from time to time. In our opinion, this is better than having it grant access to the wrong individual.
Audio & Music: As is evident from the Phantom’s shell, this phone has impressive loudspeaker game by virtue of producing very audible and crisp sound. Tecno also managed to incorporate Dolby Atmos sound technology which adds to the gloss of the sound especially when rocking the metallic in-ear earphones provided in the box.
Battery: For fans of removable battery, Tecno really disappoints with this device as it sealed in a 3000mAh battery inside the metal chassis meaning you might need a power bank instead of a secondary battery for extra juice while on the go. Nonetheless, before jumping to any negative conclusion, even the most committed smartphone users will agree the battery inside serves them well as it easily holds the charge for at least 24hours on average browsing, gaming, and video watching.
The Tecno Phantom 5 is a big step for the brand and it surely delivers on many fronts such as Camera, Processing, Design, Battery and Pricing. If you are an advanced Android user looking for a flagship device on a budget, the Phantom could be a good bargain for little compromise. For casual users who just love a big phone that is capable, then Tecno surely gives you a beast with some change to spare.
Users who are new to Android could also be in for a worthwhile introduction with this device and other Tecno phones. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Phantom 5 but it’s always good to weigh your options and shop from reliable retail outlets.