TECNO Phantom 5 review: Does it live up to the hype?

TECNO launched its latest flagship, the Phantom 5, with much hype and fanfare. Many bold claims were made. My job as a reviewer is to ascertain how much the device lives up to the marketing hype. This review unit was sent in by TECNO a few days before the official launch. If you know me, you know that my reviews are 100% my opinion. I do not dance to manufacturers’ whims in my gadget reviews.

If a brand wants endorsement or marketing from me, that is always done separate from my reviews. Our reviews here on MobilityArena.com are to give prospective buyers as true a view of the device as possible. The worst any manufacturer will do if I have negative things to say about a device they send me is to not send me another one the next time. That has happened before, and it hasn’t stopped me from saying things as I see them. So, sit tight and come with me as I share my experience with the TECNO Phantom 5.

Phantom 5 homescreen

Quick Specs
– Dimensions: 151 x 75.8 x 6.8 mm
– Weight: 172g
– Display: 5.5-inch, 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 PPI), Full HD, In-cell capacitive touchscreen, Gorilla Glass 3 with anti-fingerprint coating
– Processor Type: 64 Bit Octa-core 1.3 GHz CPU
– RAM: 3 GB
– Storage: 32GB + MicroSD card slot up to 64GB
– Camera: 13 megapixel, autofocus, rear camera with dual LED flash, 1080P HD video. 8 megapixel selfie camera with soft flash
– Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh
– Fingerprint Sensor at the back
– HIFI 2.0, DOLBY Surround Digital, Metal HiFi earphone included

You can get the full specs HERE.

Design
Phantom 5 top perspective
I love beautifully crafted smartphones. The Phantom 5 is one. I love the sleek metal build. TECNO fitted a 5.5-inch display in relatively compact dimensions. The phone looks beautiful and feels so in the hand too. The display is gorgeous and very smooth in the hand too. It easily reminds me of the quality we have come to know from high-end Nokias, iPhones, Samsungs and others.

Software
Phantom 5 App Drawer
Powering the Phantom 5 is Android Lollipop 5.1 with a mildy customised user interface. The UI is breezy, light and snappy. It is certainly and improvement over previous iterations by TECNO. You already know all the goodies that Android Lollipop packs. They are all in here. The device has full access to Play Store.

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TECNO has promised an update to Android 6 Marshmallow for June 2016. To be honest, that is an eternity away in update cycles. Who knows – perhaps Google would have released Android 8 by then. Still, an update is promised. It is a good step in the right direction.

Multimedia
Phantom 5 rear Dolby Speaker
The first thing that will have you loving the Phantom 5 for multimedia is the beautiful, large display. The next thing is the quality of audio from both the loudspeaker and the bundled metal headset. Simply amazing. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I have a thing for great audio reproduction. The TECNO Phantom 5 sits up there with the HTC M8 and BlackBerry Z30 (these, along with the HTC M9, are the very best out there). Though the Phantom does not boast stereo speakers, the audio quality from its loudspeaker is only a tiny notch below those two devices. It is that good.

But you will also love using the bundled headset. They are very, very good too. One of the best I have ever plugged into my ears. TECNO wasn’t joking. Besides quality, volume is also very good. Many phones with great quality audio have not-so-great volume. TECNO Phantom 5 combines the two.

And watching movies on the lovely display is bliss. Absolute bliss. Every video format that I have thrown at it has played well. There’s FM Radio in there too, so it is a complete multimedia device.

TECNO has its new, custom music player, Boom Player built in. What Boom Player brings to the table is the ability to search for, stream and download music by African artistes. In addition, it gives you the lyrics of tracks that you are playing (if available), and also lets you edit the meta details of each music file. User registration is available, so you can post comments. You can also share your music to social networks. It is a beautiful piece of work.

Camera
Phantom 5 camera fingerprint scanner
The Phantom 5 has a 13 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera with soft flashlight. TECNO bragged about the quality of the photos this phone produces. The brags were not far from the truth. I have published sample photographs taken with the phone, and everyone is amazed at the quality (follow the link to see them for yourself). Both cameras are really remarkable.

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In that feature article, I promised to bring you low-light shots. The following shots were taken with the rear camera and no flash light. You can click on each photo to see the full image.

This crop was taken indoors in a poorly lit room in the evening with curtains half drawn:
Phantom 5 low light shot

This shot is from a night out at a concert. It was taken from inside the crowd quite some distance from the stage:
Phantom 5 camera night concert

So you can see what level of details was captured, I have cropped a section of the concert stage:
Phantom 5 night shot concert cropped

Your thoughts?

Performance
In every day usage, the Phantom 5 is smooth and fast. Gaming is good too, but not on the level of phones with more powerful processors. However, this is no poor performer in the gaming and heavy duty field. The 1.3 GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6753 processor, Mali-T720 graphics processing unit and 3GB RAM keep things running smoothly. Personally, I had been hoping that the processor would be clocked at 2.0 GHz, but seeing that the phone works well in everyday use even with the lower clock, I can’t complain. Plus, I am guessing that the 1.3 GHz clock was a compromise to make sure that the phone delivers good battery performance.

It is a dual SIM phone and is also 4G LTE compliant. I use my regular SIM for calls and SMS, and my Smile 4G SIM for data in it. Both work very well without any issues. There’s 32GB internal storage and a slot for micro SD card of up to 64GB. The phone also supports USB-on-the-go and I have been able to use my flash drives with it without issues.

I have 35 third party apps installed at last count, and I haven’t run into any app install issues yet. The Phantom 5 comes with TECNO’s regular lineup of own apps – including Boom Player, and Xender (Flash Share).

Fingerprint Sensor
There is a fingerprint sensor at the rear of the phone just below the camera lens. It lets you programme a finger from all possible angles. You can register up to 5 fingerprints. And in everyday use, it works amazingly well. I pick up the phone like I want to use it, and my index finger (which is what I registered) rests directly on the fingerprint scanner. This simple, quick action wakes up the display and unlocks the phone.

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No more tapping, swiping and typing a PIN or code to unlock. Having it at the back seems a whole lot more natural to me than having it in front like some other phones do. But this boils down to individual preference. The lovely thing here is that it works as advertised. It is very reliable.

Battery Life
The Phantom 5 runs for a full day of moderate use. If you push it hard, you will need to top it up before the end of the day. But it is a phone I haven’t had to nurse, battery wise. And should you be in dire straits, the Ultra Power Savings (UPS) mode is amazing and can easily give you 5 extra hours of battery life if you activate it when you are down to 5% charge. This is because UPS mode turns the phone into a Nokia 3310.

Phantom 5 top angle

Pricing and Verdict
Forgive me if this sounds too smooth, but here is my verdict on the Phantom 5: it is a flawless smartphone. I haven’t found one thing wrong with it yet. With a sleek design, superb performance, great up-to-date-software, polished UI, awesome audio, and a camera that holds its own against some of the best in the industry, the Phantom 5 redefines the TECNO brand.

It is easily one of the finest Android smartphones I’ve used. And I’ve used plenty. In my opinion, it is worth every naira of the N70,000 that it sells for.

Mobility Ratings
BATTERY: 8/10
DISPLAY: 9/10
CAMERA: 8/10
PERFORMANCE: 8/10
SOFTWARE: 9/10
DESIGN: 9/10

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

47 thoughts on “TECNO Phantom 5 review: Does it live up to the hype?

  • October 9, 2015 at 5:08 pm
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    That ultra power savings mode sounds like something to kill for! 5 hours with a mere 5%charge??? Sure about this Mr Mo?

  • October 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm
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    @OlamideMB

    I use a Boom J7. It also has the Ultra Power saving feature. What this feature does is to turn your smartphone to a feature phone. The only tasks you can do on it at this point are: basic text messaging, make and receive calls, take notes, clock, calculator and make a sound recording. It turns off your data. Sorry.

    At 4% charge, this takes me through a night out with friends with occasional texting and calls. Up until I get up the following morning. Even though it displays 1hr 23mins left on the screen.

    I don’t how how the UPS renders on the PT5, if it does same thing it does to my BoomJ7, 5hours is a piece of cake.

    • October 10, 2015 at 9:25 am
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      Thats really impressive. I guess my BlackBerry battery saving is a Learner then. Though I can still browse and my mails drop, I wonder why it lasts so much less than these from other manufacturers. I dont want to believe its just data anyway.

  • October 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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    The phone in and as of itself certainly looks and feels like a great device,but I believe peoples issue with Tecno has to do with the fact that similarly specd phones from other Chinese OEMs are going for much less..
    Wish them well though,only time and the market performance will tell the value proposition..

    • October 16, 2015 at 10:50 pm
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      exactly, the Doogee F5 is basically the same device for half the price (KuliMart sells for 36K, it’s cheaper on GearBest). there are other considerations (after sales service and local warranties) but the difference is too much to pardon

  • October 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm
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    They announced that they will update the phone in JUNE 2016?!!!!!

    2016, for an OS that was released this month? By June 2016 this phone is likely to be 2nd hand or dead….

    Wow. Impressive. Smells like BS to me sha. Really weird how Tecno behave, this is their Flagship device.

    Lmaoo

    • October 10, 2015 at 2:49 pm
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      The timing is about right if you know anything about Android. Even now, most devices aren’t running Lollipop and Marshmallow but Jellybean and KitKat. By next year when Android N drops, most devices will probably be running KitKat and Lollipop with Marshmallow pulling third place.

      That is how Android works I’m afraid, unlike Windows Phone and iOS. It would be interesting to know why June 2016 instead of sooner, but as the device is now running Lollipop, it should be enough to tide users over until then..

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    • October 11, 2015 at 12:34 am
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      no guarantees that Android N drops next year though, Google may be pushing a 6.x version next year (probably not but it’s possible)

    • October 11, 2015 at 1:54 pm
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      If Android N doesn’t drop next year, all the more reason an upgrade to Marshmallow in 2016 won’t be too late. Marshmallow will still be the third most used os on Android devices.

  • October 9, 2015 at 7:36 pm
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    As for me and my family it can only be a Nexus or Android One if I have to go Android. Enough of Samsung and other OEM update promise. If Android one at that price now run on 6.0 why should I pay more for old os, although all other things may not be equal but to me latest OS is more important than other features.

    • October 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm
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      I think specs… Especially battery power and display matter most

    • October 11, 2015 at 7:45 pm
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      Battery power and display matter up to a point, but for me when it comes to Android, I’m with Femiblaze. I don’t care how fantastic the battery or screen is, if it won’t update to the latest version of the os, it will take a back seat. I’d take a Nexus 5 over a SGS5 any day.

  • October 9, 2015 at 8:06 pm
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    I have to say the night photo is impressive, even without the crop (thought it does seem to suck as much light as it can). I wonder if the same is true for the Camon 8 which shares a similar rear camera?

    • October 9, 2015 at 8:50 pm
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      Noni,

      Yes; it suvks in light – sometimes a bit too much. I guess that’s the low-light capabilities at work.

      But in all, I think it is a really good camera.

    • October 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm
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      I guess an app and tweaking the exposure may help , but as it is, this is an excellent photo. Very rarely do many phone cameras take good pics in poor lighting without a bit of assistance.

  • October 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm
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    I have used this phone for 22days and I can’t agree less with Mr MO. I bought the phone on his recommendation and I have no regrets for taking that decision.. Tecno has really gone premium with the PT 5

    • October 10, 2015 at 9:22 am
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      Good for you! 🙂

    • October 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm
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      you mean you can’t agree more

    • October 10, 2015 at 2:05 pm
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      haha, naaah I meant to say ”Good for you”

      I cant agree or disagree because I don’t own the phone. If he had said phone was beautiful, I might have said I couldn’t agree more though.

    • October 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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      was actually replying Olawuyi’s post

  • October 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm
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    There’s no mention of the color options available on the Phantom 5 or does it come in only one available color..

    • October 10, 2015 at 9:23 am
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      If you dont like the phone, why are you interested in any other colour asides the available colour? :d

  • October 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm
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    Awesome!

    But Mr. Mo I’ll love to also know the Social Media dynamics compared to the likes of Samsung, Htc and IPhone.

    Gideon. A

  • October 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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    @Olamide,the available colour options of any smartphone is an innate part of the spec sheet,doesn’t matter whether am interested or not..

  • October 13, 2015 at 9:48 am
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    With ELEPHONE p8000 with similar specs except for the rom being 16gb,only costing $169, I rather stick with ELEPHONE.

    • October 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm
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      And do you have this Elephant phone at a store near you?

  • October 24, 2015 at 8:43 am
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    This is the first time I am disagreeing with your review. I got this phone because you reviewed it but the battery didn’t last up to two hours with H+ on. The camera is fake. The only good thing is the finger print and the sound and the built. I am disappointed. Tecno is below standard. Infinix hot note impressed me, Gionee M5 is the best.

    Sorry to say it’s like tecno paid you to review. The battery is 1000 mah not 3000 Mah. I used power cleaner device Info to get the actual spec. The 3gb ram does nothing. Infinix is better. Even gionees m5 267 ppi is clearer than tecno phantom 5 401ppi.

    Please do not compromise you are leading a lot to waste their money.

    • October 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm
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      Favour,

      It looks like you have a faulty device or something. Please take it to CarlCare to have it checked.

      And your insinuations about me being paid for a review are hilarious. You exercised your right to freedom of speech though, so no qualms. I’m still having a good laugh here though. My Phantom 5 still lasts a whole day if I don’t push it hard. And whatever app you used that gave you a 1,000 mAh battery capacity reading is a joke (or you don’t know what it read out to you).

      Do visit CarlCare to have your 5 looked over. Cheers.

  • October 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm
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    That is what you will definitely say. Phantom 5 lasting a whole day. It is lies. Even Gionee M5 lasts 22hours only. I didn’t buy a fake device even others I know are complaining. User power cleaner and go to device info it’s more accurate than CPU z. Don’t defend crap. I am not insulting you. I have benefited greatly from this site but this one is a lie or business hype like you people call it.

    • October 24, 2015 at 9:54 pm
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      Favour,

      Yes; I stand by what I have said – and you need to grow some sense and not accuse people without evidence. And you need to learn to be civil and be polite – not because I need your politeness, but because one day, your rashness with words will put you in trouble. My review is a statement of my experience with my device, and it is 100% truthful: the battery life of my unit is very good.

      That said, I have found the app you mentioned. The name is Power Clean and running it, I see it present the Phantom 5’s battery capacity as 1,000 mAh. Which is very odd, because like I said, mine lasts and lasts – and I know others who have no complaints about battery life like you have.

      My experience tells me that there is no way a 5-5-inch display smartphone will last as long as mine does on a full charge with a 1,000 mAh battery. My Lumia 930 with a 5-inch display and 2,000 mAh + battery had very unpalatable battery life. My Phantom 5’s battery life is waaay better than the 930’s.

      Do take this battery reading issue up with TECNO. And if you still want to insist that I am defending crap or I have been paid to write the above review, do feel free. Cheers.

    • October 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm
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      Battery usage of my TECNO Phantom 5

      This is a photo showing the battery performance of my TECNO Phantom 5 today. I took it off charging at home in the morning around 8.00am and was out all day without topping it up or switching it off (you can tell by looking at the chart in the photo).

      At 6.45pm, I got my first low battery warning with the battery at 14% and with approximately 2 hours of use left. Note that I have both SIM slots active and one of them had an active 4G LTE connection all through the day. If the active connection had been 3G, the battery would have lasted longer than this.

      Here is a screenshot for clarity:
      Battery usage of my TECNO Phantom 5 - screenshot

      Favour also said that the camera is fake. The sample photographs that I took speak loudly for themselves. It is more likely that Favour is a lousy photographer.

      This is my last word on this matter. The TECNO Phantom 5 is a fantastic smartphone. Everybody is entitled to their opinion about my review. Cheers all.

  • October 25, 2015 at 11:52 pm
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    Mr. Mo, you have time o. Replying this person. I bought a Phantom 5 after reading your review and it hasn’t disappointed. My battery life is good and camera is good too.

    Maybe Favour was paid to discredit you? Ignore her jhor.

  • October 26, 2015 at 12:26 am
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    Let someone else who use the phone confirm not you. It’s tecno’s scrap. I can say it any day. I use Gionee M5 and infinix hot note and they are true to their words. Unlike tecno phantom 5. It’s a pity I can’t post images if not you will see it. You are just doing your job as a blogger defending rubbish. You don’t have to prove anything. It’s all market strategy to keep eating people’s money without quality. For this very review you are wrong. You are right in others but this is what I bought I used it and compared it to hot note and Gionee M5. It’s way below standard. It’s only the finger print, body built and speakers that’s good. Every ither

    • October 26, 2015 at 6:52 am
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      Favour, he should let someone else use the phone. mtchewwwwww. So, you didn’t see Olawuyi’s comment above? You dinor see my own too. We are not someone else – ba?

      Who are you sef? We know him and how he has stood for truth in phone reviews. You buy a misbehaving phone and what enters your head is to accuse a proven man of being paid to review and lie.

      You should be ashamed of yourself. Who made you judge? You owe Mr Mo an apology for accusing him like you did.

  • October 27, 2015 at 6:31 pm
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    Mr mobility please dose the screen hang? 2. the camera of phantom 5 and z which one is better. 3. can it handle modern combat 5?

  • October 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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    please the sound of phantom 5 and z which one is better because I am considering between the two

  • November 11, 2015 at 7:24 pm
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    I just got the phantom 5 for myself. I particularly love the crisp display, i really don’t know how Tecno has arrived at this quality earphone .It’s best i have used so far. I also love the way icons are neatly arranged on the phone. Pls if you havent tried to plug in the phone to your home theatre pls do ,it’s just amazing. great one from tecno

  • November 11, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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    I am very sure Favour doesnt have this phone . How can you say the battery is 1000mAh?. show proof that you have it. comparing infinix hot note with this phone is highly laughable. You said you have gionee M5, Infinix Hot Note ,then this phone .I have the phone and is great so far

  • November 18, 2015 at 8:50 pm
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    Chai!!, the review is dope. This is masterpiece of a phone

  • December 6, 2015 at 10:36 pm
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    what about the sound quality via loudspeaker? compare it with boomj7 and phantom z, which one is better

    • December 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm
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      Hi Francis,

      There is no competition: neither of those come close to the Phantom 5 in terms of loudspeaker quality.

  • January 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm
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    Bro please what about the call quality of phantom 5, how good is it.

    2. The volume of the speaker is it up to the htc m8 because my brother is considering between the two

  • April 23, 2017 at 1:13 am
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    Please can this tecno phantom 5 browse with GLO 4G LTE cos am using Glo line for browsing and would like phone that can allow Glo 4g LTE. Thanks.

    • April 23, 2017 at 6:41 am
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      Hello Paul,

      The TECNO Phantom 5 is a 4G LTE smartphone, but it does not support Glo’s 4G network. You will not be able to use Glo 4G on it.

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