Finally it is time we gave a detailed review on Tecno’s flagship smartphone; the Tecno Phantom 9. To recall, it is the successor of the 2017 Phantom 8, and the third installment in the Phantom series. The phablet was officially launched in Nigeria, making it available in Uganda on July 15th same time as in Kenya.
It were after nearly two years that the company decided to release the phone. Its delay according to the company, was to pack the phone with the latest smartphone features/trend making it looking more premium and stylish for an affordable price. Now it comes only in one color option, the Lapland Aurora at a price of UGX919,000. It migrate from the black we saw on the Phantom 8 to Lapland Aurora which gives it that shinny colorful scene.
The selling key features of the phone are; the In-display fingerprint, the huge storage, camera performance, and then the AMOLED Display. This is impressive considering that there is a huge improvement from its predecessors.
Design and Display
As we mentioned, Tecno did a huge change on the Phantom. The design including the back and the whole frame is made of poly-carbonate. This unlike the Phantom 8 that was draped in a full metal body. The phone is also a little thinner, smaller and less weight compared to the Phantom 8. The company cut the bezels far to give it a huge 6.4-Inch display as well giving it a thin chin. Once held it really feels so comfortable and compact in your hands.
It comes with the power and volume buttons placed on right panel, the 2-in-1 Nano-SIMs and microSD card slot placed on the left. At the top there’s nothing, Tecno shifted the audio jack from the top as seen on the Phantom 8 to seat at the bottom along with the speaker grill, and the microUSB port. The phone supports 4G/LTE connectivity to give better performance while the microSD card can expand up to 1TB, first of its kind on a Tecno phone.
The front is a water-drop notch that houses 16MP camera. At the back, is a triple rear camera placed vertical and a LED light. Tecno moved from the double cameras in the Phantom 8 to a triple with the Phantom 9 and feature more improvement and performance.
If noticed, at the back, there’s no more fingerprint mount, as Tecno preferred the In-Display mount which is good enough as it is now the trend. Setting it up is fast, once locked it lights up when lifted giving the provision of unlocking it. The consumer can also still place the power button for the fingerprint mount to appear.
When it comes to the display, the improvement is so huge. The phone has an AMOLED display FHD+ with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a screen aspect ratio of 19.5:9 — way much better than its predecessor.
We have discussed this before, with the AMOLED display, it produces accurate colors, fair contrast, dip blacks & white, and saturated colors — this gives a better viewing experience.
Under direct sunlight, the brightness is sufficient giving the user the comfortability to read text and watch media.
Overall, the display was a good improvement on the phone which makes the phone one of the most impressive tecno smartphones yet.
Software, Performance & Battery Life
The phone runs on Tecno’s hiOS v5.0.0 based on Android 9.0 (Pie) upgraded from the Android 7.0 (Nougat) on the Phantom 9. The down side of Android 9 Pie, is Tecno let it come with unnecessary ads which drain the battery, and unnecessary pre-installed apps.
But the performance, is fine, it run smoothly — other than the unneccessary Ads that kept dropping the performance, we can say the generally performance was good and descent. Multi-tasking was fine if you didn’t apps which occupied a lot of RAM making the phone stutter a little bit as well as hit. The performance of all this, is backed on a Mediatek MT6765 Helio P35 chipset, and an Octa-core processor.
When it came to gaming if the phone wasn’t multi-tasking, the experience was better. Paired with the AMOLED display that gives good print, this made much better.
On the battery life, well the phone ran for two days on a single charge. Apparently, the 3,500mAh battery could not last a days on a single charge if it were used by a heavy user. We noticed the battery capacity was increased at all, as Tecno kept the 3,500mAh capacity.
Charging takes up to two hours for full charge.
Tecno also did a huge improvement on its cameras. The general performance of all its AI-integrated cameras (Front and Rear) was very good. They provided crisp, sharp, well contrasted and saturated photos. The rear cameras provided good dynamic range, perfect ultra wide angle, and deep bokeh photos.
Starting with the front camera, the 16MP is housed in a water-drop notch. It is able to capture nice selfie photos that we describe as perfectly okay/fine. In low-light setting with the help of the flash, the selfies had little in terms of detail and turned out noisy.
The AI integrated triple rear camera has 16MP f/1.8 primary + 8MP f/2.4 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.8 deep sensors. They are able to give well clean shots with commendable sharpness and punchy colors. But if noticed keenly, the photos appear to have too much noise when zoomed in. But still, the phones were good dynamic range, perfect ultra wide angled, and deep bokeh photos.
In terms of video, both cameras can shoot up to 1080p video at 30fps. The focus is good so are the colors, and the audio is fair for the front-facing camera and average for the rear camera.
We really applaud the time and effort Tecno put is developing on the Phantom 9. As we have seen, as its flagship smartphone there has been a huge improvement which why it was delayed for release. For a premium specs and features, Tecno made it affordable, whihc is why we can highly recommend one to buy one if they are looking for high-end phone.
Therefore the asking price — UGX919,000 for a phone with a huge storage, an AMOLED display, the camera performance with AI integration and the general performance at large is fair.