The Tecno Phantom 9 has been described by many reviewers in many ways. But this one stands out – “A Feature-rich, pocket friendly flagship smartphone.” This evaluation seems fair because the price of Tecno Phantom 9 in Kenya is around 22,500 shillings. For this price you get its 6.39 inches AMOLED, 128GB 6GB RAM, Triple 16 MP camera and 32 MP selfie features. But let us not get too ahead of ourselves here. It is important we approach this review with a clear and sober mind; seeking to find out for ourselves what this phone really brings to the table. Tecno Phantom 9 was released in 2019 July with the slogan, “Unleash Your Vision.”
I must admit that Tecno Phantom 9 has a glamorous design with a back cover under constant pursuit of intense aesthetics. It is only available in Lapland Aurora (color) so you will not get much of a choice with that although I don’t see if any other color would beat this Lapland Aurora. It is characterized with textures lines that create a stunning pattern and design. At just 164.4 g Phantom 9 is a lightweight smartphone with 158.5 x 75.3 x 7.9 mm dimensions. Note also that it has a 19.5:9 display aspect ratio.
On the back you will see the main camera set up at the top right corner. It has three camera lenses and what seems like the fourth is an LED flash. All these are within the borders of the module and are vertically aligned. The bottom right corner has Tecno branding just in case you forget who made Phantom 9. I think, for the looks, this is a good looking piece of tech. But a plastic back and plastic frames might discourage those aiming for perfection. Also, a micro USB 2.0 on a ‘flagship’ feels misplaced and is somewhat awkward.
I read that Tecno Phantom 9 embraced the in-display fingerprint scanner at its early stages. This speaks volumes about Tecno. My thoughts about it is that the company wants its customers to get the best features a smartphone can offer at the most affordable prices. Phantom 9 moved the fingerprint sensor from back and had it placed under the AMOLED display. This alone makes it compete at an entirely higher level if you know how I mean. And to prove this was not a luring trick, the scanner works quite as you would expect.
Phantom 9 is equipped with a 6.4” AMOLED Dot Notch Screen. Somewhere while making prefatory remarks I recall mentioning its 19.5:9 aspect ratio. What I might want to add is that the resolution is reputable at 1080 x 2340 pixels with ~403 ppi density and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it. You will appreciate AMOLED technology the more when you see how it makes this display much brighter and closer to natural color. Broaden your viewing estate with Phantom 9’s 6.4 inch display panel – love it if you will. By far the screen is one of the top features this smartphone boasts about, and rightly so.
By any chance did you imagine this slogan was meant for the display of Tecno Phantom 9? Many thought so even I did. But in truth it was developed to imply what you see in real life is what the camera of Phantom 9 will capture. Get it? Unleash your vision? PS – this is a theory of my own invention. In truth, it is the single 32 MP selfie camera with HDR feature that fully lives to the hype around this slogan. The 1080p@30fps front facing video is one heck of a selfie camera lens. With it comes f2.0 big aperture, 1.6um great pixels and 18 facing dimensions recognition.
The back panel features a remarkable triple threat with a 16MP wide lens, 2MP AI Bokeh effect camera and an 8MP wide angle cum macro photography image processor. Capture and record those unforgettable moments with Tecno Phantom 9’s triple camera making the most of out the feature each lens bring to the table. Photos taken by the 8MP 120° wide angle lens accommodates more content and you can still switch to shoot close-up shots from even 2.5cm. Video recording is 1080p@30fps.
Tecno Phantom 9’s 128GB eMMC 5.1 big memory with 6GB RAM configuration sets you free from the worry of running out of space. In a more witty sense, neither you nor this phone will need some space because there already is enough of that here. Yet even then you still have room to expand the same with the dedicated microSDXC slot. Under the hood is a Mediatek MT6765 Helio P35 (12nm) chipset and a PowerVR GE8320 GPU. And in case you are wondering, Tecno Phantom 9 is powered by Android 9.0 (Pie).
Everyone wishes Tecno had done better than a non-removable Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery with Phantom 9. Could the company not fit in more capacity within the 7.9 mm boundaries? With the capacity I must it is a facepalm. But with its actual performance it is just okay. Expect up to a whole day of mixed usage at the very most.
Conclusion – Tecno Phantom 9 falls short of that name Flagship. Surely it would be unjust to categorize it as that. I would say, though it was released before Camon 12 Pro, it does seem a likely option for those who want just a tad more than Tecno Camon 12 Pro.
Read reviews of other Smartphones here.