Tecno Mobile finally launched their recently highly anticipated flagship smartphone the Phantom 8 in an event in Dubai, but does it really stand out among the rest? After an hour’s event during the launch of the Phantom 8, we can now thoroughly dissect the components of this phone to see if it’s worth your cash.
Firstly, majority of Tecno users expected two devices launched as the tradition had been set with previous Tecno flagship phones. A Tecno Phantom 8 Plus was expected unfortunately we don’t get to see that this time round. Only a single device took the spotlight with major emphasis on it’s camera capabilities which we shall talk about in a while.
I often start by reviews by looking at the design and general housing of a phone. While many manufacturers are adopting glass on their flagships, Tecno is still sticking with metal unibody. It’s by no means a bad thing since the back of this phone screams elegance. The phone is covered in a shiny full metal body that Tecno calls a Diamond Fire Design. At the back is where we see the dual-lens camera configuration, flashlight, fingerprint sensor and branding. On the front top, we see the sensors, front facing camera, flashlight and speaker for calls. The capacitive buttons right below the screen. The power button is located on the right side of the phone below the volume buttons. On the bottom we see the single loud speaker grill next to the USB Type-C port. The phone also comes with headphone jack at the very top.
In my own opinion, the front part isn’t that so outstanding especially in the time when major manufacturers are trying to reduce the size of the bezels or chins of their smartphones. But Tecno, isn’t one of those major internationally recognized smartphone makers and judging by the price it’s costing, I guess we shall say it’s understandable.
The front display is a 5.7 inch 1920 by 1080 Full HD IPS, which is the same as in last Phantom 6 Plus. An AMOLED display was quite a surprise in the Phantom 6 but it’s doesn’t make it here. Tecno doesn’t mention the type of the display which usually means it’s an LCD IPS display.
The camera is the main focus on this phone. Tecno included two camera sensors in this phone, one a 12 megapixel 2x optical zoom lens and another a 13 megapixel 10x Super zoom lens. The emphasis here is the ability to shoot clear photos from far when zoomed in, something other regular camera sensors would distort. If you are into that kind of photography, this might be your go-to phone. The phone also has what Tecno calls Auto Refocus which essentially allows you to take a picture and choose which part of the portrait should be in focus. It’s a good thing to have such a bokeh effect in a smartphone. These are features we normally see in professional DSLR cameras and not smartphones.
We’ve so far seen some smartphones that have used the same implementation of dual-lens camera system in the past for example in the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, Google Pixel 2 and others. Tecno is indeed taking a leaf from some of the best smartphone makers. The phone also uses Ultra Pixel camera sensor which is the Sony IMX386 sensor, one of Sony’s best. Ultra Pixel meaning the independent pixels in the sensor are wider to allow in more light when taking pictures compared to typical one in other smartphones. The front camera is a huge 20 megapixel camera with a dedicated selfie flash next to it. Obviously, you can take a clear vivid selfie with this phone in any lighting condition be it low light or sufficient. Within the camera app two modes are provided: Smooth Mode for clear shots with reduced light, and Bright Mode for brighter shots.
The Phantom 8 is fueled by an Octa-Core Mediatek SoC clocked at 2.6Ghz. They didn’t mention the type of SoC but we can tell it’s the Helio P25. The Helio P25 has 2.6 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and 1.6 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, which indeed make up for the 8 cores with a 2.6GHz maximum clock speed. The phone has 6GB RAM which is huge upgrade from previous 4GB RAM in the Phantom 6 Plus.
The Phantom 8 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. The versions seems a bit dated for today’s flagship phone since it has been around for about 2 years. Android 7.1.1 to 7.1.2 Nougat to 8.0 Oreo are already available for smartphones. We can only hope there is planned upgrade to one of these newer versions.
All of that is powered by a 3500mAh battery. The phone also comes with USB Type-C port, a more convinient reversible port which is indeed welcome. Because of that port, the phone also supports fast charging which Tecno calls light charge. Battery gets from 0 to 100% in 70 minutes, 40% faster than previous Tecno flagship.
Phantom 8 ships in there colors i.e Galaxy Blue, Champagne Gold and Phantom Black. It will be available soon in most African countries, India and China costing 1399 AED about 380 US Dollars. Will you get the new Tecno Phantom 8?