The new Phantom sub-brand is a bold move by TECNO Mobile. Does it tick the premium flagship boxes enough for it to shine? Find out in Mister Mobility’s Phantom X review.

Phantom X Review: Super Classy Hardware Meets Flagship Camera

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Welcome to MobilityArena’s Phantom X review. TECNO has spun off the Phantom line-up of smartphones as a sub-brand targeted at the premium end of the market. That means better hardware, better performance, better photography, better everything. In the current dispensation, that goes against the grain that most phone manufacturers follow. They launch sub-brands that cater to the budget end of the market. TECNO has gone the other way, understandably.

The Phantom X is the first product under this new premium brand, and it is an interesting smartphone. At first look, it brings a mix of premium and mid-range specs and features to the table. This review details my experience with the phone and my verdict.

Phantom X review premium smartphone

The Phantom X comes in a rather large black box. Here are the items we found in the box:

  • Phantom X smartphone itself
  • a faux leather case (and it is quite an elegant one too)
  • USB-C cable
  • wall fast charger (33W)
  • 3.5 mm headphones
  • SIM ejector pin
  • Warranty card

Phantom X Review: Battery

Phantom X has a fairly large 4700 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery. It is non-removable, and is coupled with 33W fast charging. Anything less than 33W in a premium phone would have been distasteful, and it is good to be able to top up the phone quickly when one needs to. In use, the large capacity battery holds its own quite well, lasting from 1 to 2 days on a single charge, depending on how heavy I pushed the phone.

Phantom X Review: Camera

Phantom X 50 MP main camera

One of the most attractive features of the Phantom X is the rear camera, headlined by the 50 MP Samsung S5KGN1 sensor. As someone who is interested in top camera phones, this sensor caught my interest, and for good reason. It isn’t a run-of-the-mill sensor. Rather, it is a flagship-grade sensor found in premium flagship smartphones like Vivo X50 Pro+, Vivo X60 pro+, and Meizu 18 Pro, and is also likely to be used in the Google Pixel 6 duo. As such, I was itching to give it a go. Did it disappoint? Let’s have a look at some sample photos.

Rear Camera Sample Photos

Phantom X camera sample - indoor natural lighting bookshelf
Phantom X camera sample – indoor natural lighting bookshelf
Phantom X review outdoor landscape photo
Phantom X review – outdoor landscape photo of Ikeja City Mall
Phantom X review 50 MP camera shopping basket
Phantom X review -camera sample: shopping basket indoor
Phantom X outdoors daylight road
Phantom X outdoors daylight road
Phantom X camera sample indoor arcade
Phantom X camera sample indoor arcade
Phantom X camera sample indoor games
Phantom X camera sample indoor games
Phantom x camera sample super night mode concert
This night scene was captured with the Super Night Mode. In another set of samples below, I highlight how much difference this mode makes.

The 50 MP rear camera is not shabby at all. It takes photos with mostly accurate colour reproduction and sharp details. Outdoors, there tends to be some over processing, resulting in blown highlights here and there. Indoor photos are on point almost every time. And for night photos, Super Night Mode is fantastic.

If you are not shooting night photos, use the camera in its default mode, which utilizes the 50-megapixel sensor. I prefer it for zooming, too, to be honest. While the 13-megapixel telephoto does a good job of zooming, it does not give the best colour reproduction. I am not impressed with the 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens either. The main sensor is the star of the show, and it does an excellent job for all needs most of the time.

Selfie Camera Sample Photos

Phantom X review - dual selfie camera

What of the front camera for selfies? That unit has two sensors – a 48-megapixel main shooter assisted by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor.

Phantom X review outdoor selfie
Phantom X review: camera photo sample of morning outdoor selfie
Phantom x regular night selfie
Phantom X review: I took this night selfie in regular mode to demonstrate how dark it was. The sample below is of this same selfie with Super Night Mode.
Phantom x super night mode selfie
Phantom X review: same selfie, same scene, same time, but captured with Super Night Mode

In summary, Super Night Mode is so good that it practically extracts light out of thin air. If you ever have to take night selfies (or photos in general), be sure to switch to Super Night Mode.

Phantom X Review: Operating System

web browser Phantom X review

The Phantom X runs HiOS on top of Android 11. HiOS is TECNO’s custom user interface for their Android phones. It has lots of nifty functionalities for mobile users, including: Silent Screen recording, Ultra Power Saving, WhatsApp Mode, Power Boost, Game Mode, Live Transcribe, Hi Translate, and Ella, the new digital assistant from TECNO.

HiOS also allows you to theme your phone, as well as sync music to multiple phones, so you can be a virtual DJ. HiOS is very functional and provides you with extra tools, some of which you won’t find on competitors’ platforms.

However, HiOS can also be annoying. The sour spot of using Phantom X for me was the persistent notifications and ads.

As with many other phone brands, HiOS has its fair share of bloatware. I counted 22 on the Phantom X. Thankfully, some of them can be uninstalled, and doing so gets rid of some of the pesky notifications I mentioned earlier. However, there are a few of those pre-installed apps that you just have to live with.

Phantom X Review: Design

Phantom X review - textured silk glass back panel design

I picked up the Phantom X the first time and immediately thought to myself, “This is excellent.” After over a week of usage, I am yet to change my mind. As a matter of fact, I love to hold it in my hand and use it. The display is gorgeous to look at and feels super-smooth to touch, and – thanks to the curved edges – it blends towards the textured “silk glass” back panel that is a delight in the hand as well.

As far as the combination of design and materials used are concerned, the Phantom X is flawless. It is beautiful, and it is a joy to hold in the hand. It easily ranks high up there in premium flagship territory. Here is a hands-on video Is made showcasing the design:

Phantom X Review: Colours

The Phantom X is available in two colours – Van Gogh’s Starry Night Blue and Monet’s Summer. Our review unit is the former.

Phantom X Review: Verdict

Phantom X review - design bottom edge

I love the Phantom X. Everyone else on the team likes it. It really is a groundbreaking device. We are pleased with the hardware, the performance, the battery life, and the photography.

Here is a confession: I was one of those who was taken aback by the ₦228,000 price tag on the Phantom X. I wondered why TECNO would put such a price on this interesting device. It didn’t take more than a few days with the phone for me to see that this wasn’t so ridiculous. I have owned similar devices in the budget premium class that had similar features – a premium body, flagship camera, and upper mid-range chipset – and have similar price tags. As a matter of fact, I own one such device till date and was able to make comparisons.

The Phantom X joins this class of devices with key premium features and some upper-mid-range specs. In summary, if you want a premium flagship experience and camera without spending premium cash, give the Phantom X a try.

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