Tecno Phantom V Fold Review: A compelling debut
Tecno recently launched its first ever foldable smartphone, the Tecno Phantom V Fold. Does it offer enough to sway buyers from the likes of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4? Know it in our review.
Foldable smartphones are a new breed of devices, offering users a unique experience and an innovative way to interact with their smartphones. It wasn't long ago that the smartphone revolution occurred which gave rise to Androids and iPhones that are popular nowadays. Since then, smartphone technology has seen rapid development, but it has also led to the smartphone industry stagnating, well at least until 2019. That's when Samsung launched its first-ever foldable smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold, and it sent the market into a frenzy. Foldable displays were not just something out of a Star Trek film anymore and you could now fold a smartphone in half and keep it in your pocket. Since then, many brands have made their mark in this segment including the likes of Oppo, Huawei, and Xiaomi.
Tecno, which has been focusing on strengthening its position in India in the budget segment, recently launched its first-ever foldable smartphone – the Tecno Phantom V Fold. What makes this launch interesting is that the Phantom V Fold is India's most affordable foldable smartphone.
So, at nearly half the price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, does the Tecno Phantom V Fold offer enough to sway buyers? I spent a couple of weeks with it as my daily driver and here's how it fared.
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Tecno Phantom V Fold: Design
Tecno, in its first attempt, has managed to do what Samsung has struggled with so far - develop a foldable smartphone with an almost crease-less display. The Tecno Phantom V Fold is certainly not a thin smartphone by any means, but that's the compromise with almost any foldable smartphone. It has slightly rounded metal edges which give a premium feel as well as a firm grip. You also get a side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the device. It is also one of the heaviest foldables on the market, weighing almost 300 grams.
The Phantom V Fold comes in two variants, and we had the Black variant with us which gets a texture at the back made from plastic waste. It is nice to see brands taking steps to have a positive impact on the environment with not just the packaging but also the smartphone designs. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the Phantom V Fold does not come with an official IP rating which is a big miss.
On the back is a huge round camera module. I have never been a fan of big camera modules as they protrude too much, wobble on flat surfaces, and attract fingerprints, and Phantom V Fold hasn't been able to change my mind, although Tecno has provided a case with a kickstand to minimize that.
The phone gets what Tecno calls an Aerospace grade hinge thast has been tested for over 200,000 folds. Although the phone closes fully without any visible gap, there is a bit of effort required to unfold the phone and a crackling sound can be heard during the action, which Tecno calls normal. The phone can remain unfolded at 90 degrees although it doesn't maintain its position if kept at any other angle.
Tecno Phantom V Fold: Display
The outer display of the Tecno Phantom V Fold is easily one of the best parts of the smartphone, thanks to its usable 21:9 aspect ratio. Despite having a candy bar form factor, the screen is a bit wider than the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which is adds to the appeal. It gets a 6.42-inch FHD+ LTPO curved display on the outside. Viewing content is a pleasing experience even on this display although you would mainly use it for small tasks such as making phone calls and reading text messages.
On the inside, the Phantom V Fold gets a 7.85-inch 2K LTPO AMOLED panel with a Variable Refresh Rate of 10Hz-120Hz. This display is bigger than the one Samsung offers on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It has eliminated the need to take out my iPad and I spent a lot of time binging content on the Phantom V Fold. The viewing angles and the colour accuracy are good, courtesy of the HDR 10+ certification and 100% P3 Color Gamut coverage, although you will experience letterboxing on YouTube videos and films. Moreover, the Phantom V Fold has almost 90% screen-to-body ratio which means that the bezels are almost negligible.
However, the Tecno Phantom V Fold, like many other foldables, falls short in terms of brightness. It offers 1100 nits peak brightness which seems decent enough on paper but sporadically struggles when viewed in direct sunlight.
Tecno Phantom V Fold: Performance
The Tecno Phantom V Fold is powered by 2022's MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ processor, paired with 12GB LPDDR5X RAM and you can get an additional 9GB of virtual RAM via MemFusion. Despite being powered by last year's processor, the Tecno Phantom V Fold performs as any flagship smartphone should. There are no lags during daily tasks, and it breezes through games like Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9.
Tecno claims that over 1000+ apps have been optimized for the Phantom V Fold's multi-window and split-screen modes. The phone runs on HiOS 13 Fold based on Android 13 which is a stark contrast to stock Android, and you'll also find bloatware on the device which you really don't expect from a flagship phone. There are nifty features such as multi-window and split-screen modes for functionality and there's also a compatibility mode that automatically adjusts the app's display ratio to match the inner display.
Tecno Phantom V Fold: Camera
This is where the Phantom V Fold exceeded my expectations. It gets a triple camera setup at the back but the 50MP primary sensor steals the show. The daylight shots are crisp with good colour reproduction, however, it's the low-light photography that is a standout. The Phantom V Fold captures surprisingly great images in low light with good detail and sharpness, although the same cannot be said about the ultra-wide and telephoto lenses.
The camera app gets an array of features such as Super Night, Pro Mode, Film Mode, AI CAM, AR shot, and more. The most fun I had was with the Sky Shop feature which you can use to change the sky to a variety of provided conditions such as Sunny, Rainbow, Starry, Twilight, and more. The Phantom V Fold takes great videos too with support for up to 4K 60, although OIS is missing on all but the primary sensor.
Tecno Phantom V Fold: Battery life
Foldable smartphones tend to suck when it comes to battery life and although it isn't necessarily the case with the Tecno Phantom V Fold, it does struggle during heavy use. The phone will last the whole day and a bit more with light to moderate usage, but long sessions of Call of Duty Mobile will drain it fast, and it can go out of juice even before the day ends.
Having said this, the 5000mAh battery on the Tecno Phantom V Fold charges up quickly with its 45W power brick and you can juice it up from 0-100% under an hour.
Tecno Phantom V Fold: Verdict
The Tecno Phantom V Fold is proof that the dream of cheaper foldable smartphones is nearing reality. It features a premium design with care taken towards reducing the carbon footprint, but the hinge does not maintain itself at any other angle other than 90 and 180. Both displays are LTPO AMOLEDs, offering VRR and the inner display's 2K resolution results in sharp and vivid content. It gets the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ and 12GB RAM under the hood and it performs as a flagship even during long gaming sessions. The triple camera setup at the back is one of the strong points of the device and the 50MP primary sensor steals the show, especially during low-light photography. In terms of battery life, the Tecno Phantom V Fold can last you a full day and more on light usage and it gets up to 45W fast charging with the provided charging brick.
So, it can be said that if you're in the market for a foldable smartphone without crossing the Rs. 1,00,000 barrier, it is one of the best options you can go for.
- Nearly invisible crease
- Great displays
- No IP rating
- Hinge does not maintain position
Display (outer)6.42-inch FHD+ LTPO AMOLED
Display (inner)7.85-inch 2K+120Hz LTPO AMOLED
Rear Camera50MP + 50MP + 12MP
Front Camera (outer display)32MP
Front Camera (inner display)16MP
ChipsetMediaTek Dimensity 9000+
OSHiOS 13 Fold based on Android 13