Tecno, the sub-brand of Transsion Holdings is back with a smartphone that is a bit off from their regular budget lineup. The brand is well known in the budget segment and has a fair share of the market base in the offline sector. The smartphone in question is the Tecno Phantom 9, which is the first mid-range smartphone from the brand.
Priced at INR 14,999, the Tecno Phantom 9 brings some of the industry-first features in this price segment, like the AMOLED Display, triple camera setup, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.
We used the Phantom 9 for a while and here are our findings.
Tecno Phantom 9 Specifications
- Display: 6.4-inch AMOLED display
- Software: Android 9 Pie, HiOS v5
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes
- CPU: MediaTek Helio P35 Octa-core processor
- RAM: 6 GB
- Storage: 128 GB internal, microSD support
- Main Camera: 16 MP + 2 MP + 8 MP, quad-LED Flash
- Selfie Camera: 32 MP (f/2.0), dual-LED Flash
- Connectivity: micro-USB, 3.5 mm, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
- Cellular: 4G LTE, Dual SIM
- Battery: 3,500 mAh, Li-ion Polymer, non-removable
- Price: INR 14,999
Box design sports very minimal design. There is the Phantom 9 branding on top. As soon as you lift the top part, you get the smartphone. Underneath lie the documentation and the supplied accessories.
A complete list of items you get inside the box:
- Tecno Phantom 9 smartphone
- Sim Ejector Tool
- Micro-USB Cable
- Silicon Case
- Screen guard
- Warranty and User Guide
Design & Display
Like previous Tecno smartphones, the construction here is also is done by plastic. The phone’s frame is carved out of high-quality plastic, while the back is made out a glass. Tecno has gone with a triple gradient on the back along with some diagonal lines running underneath the glass. Apart from this, you get a bunch of cycadlike elements thrown around as well. The overall build quality is satisfying and gives a quality feel.
On the back you also see the massive triple camera setup, which is aligned vertically with the quad-LED flash module flushed as well. The camera module is raised a little bit and it would be wise to use the supplied case, just to avoid those unnecessary scuffs on the camera lens.
Moving on, the front of the smartphone is dominated by the 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a notch, which is a first we have seen in this price bracket. Unlike other smartphones with a notch, Phantom 9 has very minimal bezels when compared with the likes of the Redmi Note 7, Realme 3i, etc. The notch is sleek and houses the facing camera with two LED flash placed on either side which is not visible unless lit. Along with it, you get earpiece and sensors. On the bottom are the micro USB charging port and the speaker grill. The volume rockers and the power button are placed on the right side while the SIM slot is on the left.
As stated above the Phantom 9 features a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution. The display used here is bright enough which helps in the outdoor visibility. Now with an AMOLED display, you get rich and punchy color along with deeper blacks that just accentuate the experience.
With the addition of an AMOLED display, the brand has gone all-in and added an in-display fingerprint sensor. Though it is slow when compared to other similar setups but gets the job done.
Performance and Software
Tecno Phantom 9 is powered by the MediaTek Helio P35 octa-core processor paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Now the P35 is a relatively new chipset which has been featured in many smartphones. In terms of raw performance and comparison, the Helio P35 is comparable to something like an overclocked Snapdragon 625 but a tad bit lower in performance to a Snapdragon 636. This makes the P35 a mid-range chipset and is easily capable of pushing the smartphone through intensive usage.
Coming to the software, the Tecno Phantom runs on Android 9 Pie with the latest version of Tecno’s own custom skin HiOS 5. Unlike other custom skins, you get an app drawer in this UI. The phone comes pre-installed with apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, PHX Browser etc. Now apps like Facebook and messenger can be deleted but the other ones cannot, so there’s a sizeable amount of bloatware here.
You get features like one-handed mode, screen recording, scrolling screenshots, 3-finger screenshot, and the ability to silence the phone by flipping it over. Tecno has added a face-unlock as well and feels much better than unlocking the phone with the slow in-display fingerprint sensor.
Camera and Battery
The Phantom 9 comes with a triple rear camera setup with the main camera being a 16-megapixel sensor with f/1.8, an 8-megapixel f/2.8 wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 for better depth shots. The wide-angle sensors are currently trending in the smartphone space and it’s good to see Tecno catching up to it.
The camera app is well designed and navigation between different camera sensors and across other camera software features is extremely convenient. Tecno has also implemented and baked-in AI features into the app for taking a tad better image. There is a 32-megapixel selfie shooter on the front with f/2.0 aperture which is assisted with a two soft LED Flash and AI Beauty mode.
Coming to the camera performance, we got mixed results with the main 16-megapixel sensor. Shots taken in good lighting conditions contained a good amount of detail, but the low light shots were just average. The sensor is certainly capable of taking decent shots but needs a slight software fix. The selfie shooter performs well and produces good portrait shot with that 32-megapixel sensor and the dual-LED flash on either side just takes the low-light selfie game to the next level.
Talking about the battery, the Tecno Phantom 9 packs in a sizable 3,500 mAh battery which should easily last you a full day with moderate usage and about 25% battery still available. There is no sort of fast charging, so the battery takes close to 2 ½ hours to top up fully with the supplied 10W charger.
Tecno Phantom 9 Pricing
- 6GB/128GB – INR 14,999
- Good looking Design
- AMOLED Display
- Bigger Battery
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- UI needs work
- Slow Charging
Verdict – Should you go for it?
The Tecno Phantom 9 brings a couple of firsts to the Tecno smartphones lineup but to the under INR 15,000 price bracket. The addition of a nice AMOLED display, triple camera setup, in-display fingerprint sensor, and dual-front LED flash do justify the price. As much as we did like these nifty features packed in, the software on this one didn’t impress us that much.
Considering the price there are a lot of smartphones competing with the Phantom 9 like the Redmi Note 7/7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro, Oppo K3, Realme X just to name a few.