Mister Mobility reviews the TECNO Phantom A3

TECNO Phantom A3 pack

The Quick Verdict

The TECNO Phantom A3 is a device with lots of strong points and a few weaknesses. And it comes at a good price. It is designed for those who want the biggest baddest smartphones on the block. If a phablet is what you are in the market for and you want good value for your money, you cannot go wrong with the TECNO Phantom A3. Here is an outline of its strengths and weaknesses:

Pros:
– Good design and good feel
– Good 6-inch display
– Pre-installed and pre-bundled apps
– Very good battery life
– Good price point

Cons:
– Average loudspeaker and in-call volume
– Display washes a bit outdoors

Now, for those who would love to have more details, sit back and enjoy my detailed review of the A3.

TECNO Phantom A3 and pack

Deja Vu: Size Matters

The TECNO Phantom A3 is a huge phone. With a 6-inch display, it is really huge. A smartphone that huge is called a phablet. But it is huge without being bulky. You see, the trick to making a big phone is to be sure to make it thin and light. That way, the user will adjust better to the size. TECNO got that right. The A3 is thin. At just 8.4mm thick, it is thinner than the Note II (9.4), the HTC One Max (10.3), the Nokia Lumia 1520 (8.7), LG G Pro (9.4) and is just 0.1mm thicker than the Samsung Note 3. Not bad at all.

TECNO Phantom A3 top perspective

The A3 is not bad looking either. It doesn’t have the slickest design, but it does look good. Oh; and the ladies love it! It must be the size, because I distinctively remember that Mrs Mo loved the slightly smaller Samsung galaxy Note II as well. Almost every lady who has seen the A3 with me wanted it. Ladies and big things… But that is a topic for another day.

The biggest single advantage of a 6-inch display smartphone for me is the ease of on-screen typing. I have large fingers and almost hate touchscreen typing because of the deluge of mistakes I make when entering text. But the A3’s huge display makes for onscreen typing heaven. I type faster and make fewer mistakes. With the A3, I might just forget that I actually hate typing on a touchscreen.

TECNO Phantom A3 lock screen

The display is only 720 x 1280 resolution, but it is a good one. Indoor use is very good, whether it is for web browsing, reading, or watching videos. However, it lets down a bit once you are outdoors, where it washes out. But if you crank the brightness up, it is totally usable. Also, there is no Gorilla Glass here to offer protection, so you need to be extra careful with the display. Fortunately, TECNO provides a flip cover that should help you keep it protected. Personally, I love my phones naked and so use it without any cover. Of course, I am extra careful with phones, so its not a big deal for me.

Dual SIM: Standard & Micro

TECNO Phantom A3 DualSIM slots
TECNO was smart with the dual SIM functionality of the Phantom A3. They made one of the SIM slots a regular SIM type and the other a micro-SIM type. Since my primary SIM is micro, that saved me a lot of hassles. Incidentally, my data line is a standard SIM, so I just put that in the other SIM slot.

Audio

If there is one area where the Phantom A3 is weak, it is in the audio department. Whether you are listening to music via the built-in loudspeaker or you have the phone to your head on a phone call, the A3 produces just average audio. It gets the job done, but then I have been spoilt by superb audio from more endowed smartphones in that department.

Video

A display this large is meant for video playback, and the A3 does not disappoint. Play back is good, and the ability to resume a video where you left off is there. You can also scroll through videos. I wasn’t able to test codec support though.

Usage Performance

The TECNO Phantom A3 performs just fine as one would expect from an Android smartphone with its specifications. The 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM are more than adequate. There are no let downs in performance as far as I can see.

Battery Performance

Initially, I was a bit sceptical about the 2600mAh battery. However, the A3 seems to manage power well, and I go through a day without having to worry about it running out of juice. If it had a 3000mAh battery, it would easily floor any of the top battery performers out there today. But like I said, it is quite fine. For extra juice though, TECNO has bundled a 5200mAh power bank with the A3. So, if you need to push the limits, you are well covered.

Camera

TECNO Phantom A3 13 mp camera
The 13 megapixel rear camera with LED flash is fine for a smartphone, though it won’t win any photography awards. It is very adequate for most smartphone users. If you are a smartphone photography buff, what you need is a smartphone built with photography in mind, in which case you need to look elsewhere.

If you do love to take selfies (ladies!), TECNO has you in mind. The front-facing camera is 8 megapixels, meaning that you get more details than the front-facing cameras on most other smartphones. To make the experience easier, TECNO has bundled an app called iFace. Just launch the app and it activates the front-facing camera by default. Smile. Shoot.

Pre-installed & Pre-packaged Apps

There are a number of pre-installed apps that come out of the box with the A3. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is here and works fine. It is my de facto instant messaging app, and it is good that I can move from a BlackBerry smartphone to an Android smartphone and not have to lose touch with my BBM Contacts.

TECNO Phantom A3 CalCare

CarlCare is here too, providing quick access to contact information of all CarlCare service centres in 13 African countries. This is a handy app to have should you need support. TECNO offers a 13-month warranty on the A3 and have service centres in a number of cities across the country.

There is a torchlight app pre-installed too. It is a nice implementation and uses the camera’s LED flash.

With Flash Share, you can connect and share files easily with other TECNO users. If the receiver does not have Flash Share installed, you can still share with them if they have WiFi activated.

Other useful pre-installed apps include UC Browser and Opera Mini, both of them a blessing when you do a lot of browsing and need to keep data costs down. There is a NoteBook for taking quick notes.

TECNO Phantom A3 Assistant

The A3 comes with TECNO’s trademark Assistant app that has several apps pre-packaged for you, so you do not need to go download from Play Store. Some of those apps may also not be available in Play Store. There are over 15 of them, including local titles like Spinlet, Afrinolly, MedAfrica, and Jobberman. Just launch Assistant and install any of the available apps. If you need more apps, of course, Google’s Play Store is there as well to access hundreds of thousands of available apps.

Games

TECNO Phantom A3 Real Football 2013
If you are a gamer, have no worries. The A3 is fine in that department and runs some very demanding games smoothly. Not only does it have Real Football 2013 pre-installed, the version of the game on the A3 is TECNO-branded. Apparently, TECNO is partnering with developers to bring customised gaming experiences to their smartphone range. Nice. Another pre-installed game is Kingdoms & Lords. It has a medieval type setting with knights, lords and all. Both game titles are by Gameloft.

Miscellaneous

There is 16GB internal storage for your music, video and other files. There is also a microSD card slot so you can add more storage. No card comes in the box this time, so you have to get one. I own a 16GB card which I put in it to bring my total storage to 32GB. The large internal storage means that there is a lot of space for your downloaded apps too.

The A3 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which means that it is up-to-date. Not many Android smartphones are in the market with Kitkat, so it loses no points there.

Accessories

TECNO Phantom A3 with accssories and pack
Accessories in the sales pack include USB cable and charging adapter, audio headset and ear buds. There is a quick manual and warranty documentation as well.

Conclusions

Do I recommend the TECNO Phantom A3? Definitely. If you are looking for a phablet that is good value for money, here is one.

Mo Rating: 8.0/10

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0 Thoughts to “Mister Mobility reviews the TECNO Phantom A3”

  1. belushi

    Nice for the price .

  2. eye_bee_kay

    Great review. I have tried to compare this Tecno Phantom AIII with the 7 inch Tecno p9. At a loss to determine which gives the better value for the money. N28k vs N46k.. { Now, if a six incher is still called a Phablet, what’s a 6 point something incher? }

  3. eye_bee_kay

    That anonymous up there is Eyebeekay

    Is Mobility Blog rechristening, or what o

  4. ziizle

    this is a great review, i have been waiting for this in a while now, but please can you do a video review as well, cuz i cant find it on youtube, thenks

  5. Anonymous

    pls advice me on which to buy.n9 or p9

  6. george

    pls how do i set up the Alll cover to switch of d display when the phone is covered

    1. George,

      I am not sure that can be done. I have no idea either.

  7. Anonymous

    hi. pls i have been trying to install apps from play store but it keeps telling me “error 495”. what dpes that mean and how can i resolve it?

    1. SAMSON

      how do i reset my iF
      ace camera to be as smooth as evet.

  8. eye_bee_kay

    pls how do i set up the Alll cover to switch of d display when the phone is covered

    @George , there are a number of Android apps that turns off the display once the proximity sensor is covered.. effective, by closing that flip cover, putting your pocket, or placing face down on a table…

    My favorite is

    Screen Off and Lock.

    Check it out @ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.katecca.screenofflock&hl=en&referrer=utm_source%3Dgoogle%26utm_medium%3Dorganic%26utm_term%3Dscreen+off+and+lock++for+android

  9. samson

    I bought it,it is exhilarating.And yes,its sleekness is noticeable from a distance.And indeed,the internet is ……yes…very fast.

  10. skigwer@gmail.com

    Hi,have the A3,good value, except in call volume is a drag.I there a solution to this.
    Like an App that can help?
    Robert,Kenya

  11. eye_bee_kay

    Google.

    There are a number of Android apps for that…

  12. Anonymous

    Hi,i ddnt see or er U????? mention a power bank among its accessories.does it cum wit one?

  13. Anonymous

    did you post audio headsets?i wanna know if it comes with headphones

    1. Anonymous,

      Yes; the A3 comes with headphones in the pack.

  14. Anonymous

    2go is not installing on dis my new tecno phantom a3 .nid help

  15. osbert

    how can i change my sim to micro

  16. Hello Osbert,

    A quick visit to your network operator’s store to request for a swap will do. Either of two things can happen:

    1. they swap your SIM for a micro-SIM, or
    2. they trim down your SIM to micro-SIM size

    Cheers.

  17. Jochebed

    Do you have a power bank with in the package

  18. Eneojo

    Just got a Tecno Phantom A3… The rear camera does not seem like 13MP. Looks like a 5MP camera cos the front camera is even sharper than the rear camera…Is there something I need to do?

  19. Anonymous

    plz am confused abt dis tecno cos of d camera nd audio quality bt i rilli lyk d size.plz betWeen HTC,SONY xperia,nd dis phantom wic is d best plz hlp me.

  20. Tee

    It’s a great phone, I was a bit skeptical about getting a Tecno product, but I decided to try it out and trust me, I haven’t been disappointed so far. A lot of people complain about outf storage problems, I suggest inserting a 16GB memory card after purchase before installing any apps. This will enable most app installations on the memory card and you’d still have large enough inbuilt app memory. Plus the camera isn’t a drag as people have complained. Of course, with time, we all expect better camera quality, but O’Neill quite comfy with both cameras. There are picture editing apps that can help modify your images, so why not get those rather than complain about the camera. One disturbing thing I observed is that the phone runs on 4.2.1 as opposed to the 4.2.2 stated on several platforms online. I don’t know why…more so, I think the A2 which is a lower model actually runs on 4.2.2 so I’m a little surprised though there isn’t any major difference between the Android versions. You can search online for differences between 4.2.1 and 4.2.2. Oh and I notice my little brothers tecno P5 has System Updates and runs on 4.2.2 and this A3 doesn’t even have provision for system updates, I’m astonished! . Good phone in all, but 4.2.1 Instead of 4.2.2 as seen online and lack of system updates unlike the P5 which is even a lower model gives me cause for concern. Thanks.

  21. Anonymous

    I have a cracked A3, pls where can I get it fixed?

  22. Anonymous

    I have a cracked screen A3, pls where can I get it fixed?

  23. freed

    pls am using f7 how can i get iface on my phone am in serius need of it…

  24. UC

    I have issues with storage. The internal storage is just 1GB and i have also installed an external storage device. I don’t get my Emails anymore because the storage is full. I can’t move applications to the external drive just few were able to intalled there. I have practically deleted all my applications with no success.

    Please what do i do?

  25. UC

    My phone is Phanton A3. How do i expand my internal storage which is just 1GB and also how do i move my applications to the external storage drive.

    Thank you

  26. Your Best Bet

    Reset The Phone Totally And Reinstall Your Apps

    Root The Phone, Then Remove All The System Boatware. That Would Release Some Internal Memory To U Foot App Use.

    Install An App Like Sd Maid Or Clean Master. You Would Use Those To Intermittently Clear The Junk That Progressively Accumulate In The Phone Internal Memory In The Course Of Usage. They Work

    Tame Your Appetite For Big Apps

  27. UC

    Thank you @ Eye_Bee_Kay

  28. Bob

    Sorry for the question, but I’m new at that phablets … how do you capture screen? (screenshot) on the AIII ?
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hello Bob,

      That should be power button + volume down button. Its standard Android combination for taking screenshots.

  29. Eye_Bee_Kay

    The Power * Volume Down combo is clumsy and inconvenient to use.

    Get the ..

    Screenshot Ultimate Pro http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.icecoldapps.screenshotultimatepro

    If you prefer the free version, get the ..

    Screenshot ultimate https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.icecoldapps.screenshotultimate&hl=en

    It is more convenient, and additionally allows you do things to your captured screenshot…. Edit taken screenshot: draw, add text, crop, add information (android version, date/time, etc), rotate, mirror, switch colors, overlay an image, use your own editor, effects (sepia, grayscale, etc)

  30. AJ

    hello Mr Mobility! the tecno phantom a111 seems to be the only tecno that has the I face app…I want to get the phantom z …I need to know if it has the IĀ face camera.
    thanks!

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