Is the Tecno Phantom 9 Worth Your Money? A Full Review
About a month and a half ago, the Tecno Phantom 9 was launched to much praise and awe from lovers of the brand. I was at the launch event and I also brought you an unboxing on the Phantom 9. You can find that video here.
Six weeks is more than enough time to use a device and in turn learn the good and bad about the device. This is that video, this is my Full review of the Tecno Phantom 9 – 6 weeks later.
First things first, let me remind you of the specs on this device. You’ve got a smart-phone running Android 9 Pie, it’s got a 2.35GHz Octa-Core Mediatek 6765 Processor, there’s a 6.4 Inch FHD Amoled Display at a Resolution of 2340 by 1080. There’s a triple camera setup at the rear made up of a 16, 2 and 8MP sensor with quad flash, there’s a 32MP selfie camera, 128GB of internal storage, 6Gigs of DDR3 RAM, you’ve got an in-display Fingerprint scanner, it’s got Face Unlock and sports a 3500 mAh battery.
That’s it for specs, let move on to my review and I’ll start with the things that I thought were great about this device and that includes, the build, the cameras, performance and a maybe the software and I’ll explain why I said maybe in a bit.
Now where I had issues with this device are on the Display and the Battery life and We’ll come to these later.
Let me start with the build. I said it In my unboxing video, this is the best built Tecno device till date in terms of design, build materials and ergonomics. This thing looks beautiful with the amazing paint job Tecno put on the back of my unit here. It’s called Lapland Aurora and it looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s one of those designs that you constantly want to see and wished you didn’t have to use a case on your phone. It fades from purple to blue and has line patterns underneath. It just looks impressive.
The cameras on the Tecno Phantom 9 really surprised me in their performance. They’re not the best cameras out there, dynamic range isn’t top notch and the color reproduction may be a bit too saturated, but they constantly produced decent photos anytime I got it out of my pocket to capture a shot. You know it’s one of those things where you know it isn’t the best, but you’re just pleased with the photo results anytime you use the Cameras. I was mostly pleased that I could whip out my phone and capture a bigger scene without having to step backwards, thanks to the wide angle lens included in the package. Portrait shots also produced great bokeh, Blurring out the background with very good looking result. And I wanna believe these great results are also a contribution of the AI technology on the device.
Selfies aren’t so great here. I found that it produces images with a lot of graininess. This however could be attributed to lack of sufficient lighting. In well lit environments you have great looking selfies with little to no noise in your photos.
So overall, I’ll score this device a 6.5 out of 10 for photography.
Performance and Software
Now performance on the Phantom 9 is decent. You’ve got 6gigs of RAM and that MediaTek 6765 processor running things here. Apps load and run smoothly and 2d games run flawlessly. 3D games may produce dropped frames and stutter at times, especially if the game is particularly heavy. However dropping the graphic settings to medium or low should allow you enjoy those titles as well.
On software, the Phantom 9 runs on Android 9 Pie with Tecno’s HiOS 5.0 skin on top of Android. You see Tecno has cleaned up the software on the device, it feels much smoother and lighter, but I have a beef with HiOS and it has to do with icon consistency and bloatware. The Icons are somewhat a jarring array of boxes that hardly have uniformity. I mean you have some circular icons, some are box shaped, others are circles in boxes and other are just in a world of their own. It would be helpful to partner with one of the numerous icon designers on the Play-store and generate you own unique and uniform icon pack for HiOS.
Then there’s the issue with pre-installing a ton of apps that we do not need. There’s recharge king, x-share, Tecno SPot, Scooper, Meausre, AHA Games, Instant Apps, Boomplay and Just a line which is an app that I have absolutely no idea why it even exists. I mean we do not need these apps pre-installed. There are a ton of options out there to pick from if we actually need these apps.
Now for the major cons of this device, which are the display and battery life.
We have a 6.4 inch 1080p AMOLED display and this display isn’t a very good display. It’s probably one of the worst AMOLED screens I’ve ever seen. I mean there’s something really weird about how the display looks. It’s got the deep blacks and all that but the Video quality on this thing is for lack of a better word poor. I loaded some 1080p videos on the device and played them back and I could not watch 2 minute of those videos. Videos on the Phantom 9 looked so dark, grainy and were a stark opposite of the same video on another device with a 1080p AMOLED screen. Here’s a screenshot from a scene in a video from the phantom 9 and another 1080p device to illustrate what I’m talking about.
Now I don’t know if this is something they can tune with software but it’ll be very much appreciated if they did something about the look of videos on this display.
Battery life also isn’t very good on this device. I usually get between 4 to 5 hours of screen on time and usually need to charge the device before 5pm everyday. This is after taking it off the charger around 6am.
So for N77,000.00 which is about $220 you’re getting a device that’s mostly efficient, good looking and has great build quality. Tecno as a brand has constantly improved over the years and they also improved with this device. The display used was however a bit of a let down. I’d like to see a Flagship Tecno device that goes all out to use really premium materials all through the phone and doesn’t cut corners in the areas that really matter. Tecno has got a huge fan following and I believe most of those people will pay a little more if they know the Tecno device they’re purchasing has quality components.
The Phantom 9 is made with plastic, it looks good and I’m completely fine with that. You don’t hear me complaining about the plastic build. A lot of people will rather feel safe with their phones than have a device they constantly scared of dropping.
So in conclusion, would I recommend the Phantom 9 to you out there. Definitely Yes. Because you’re getting quite a lot for the price you pay. And you’d mostly be happy with the device.
Leave your comments below and let me know what you think of the Tecno Phantom 9