Tech Review: Tecno's Phantom 8

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Tech Review: Tecnos Phantom 8

The smartphone is a flagship-calibre device in the mid-range price arena

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Published: Thu 25 Jan 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jan 2018, 1:00 AM

If you haven't heard of Tecno Mobile yet, fret not. We list out everything you need to know about the brand. Though primarily selling its wares in Africa, the Hong Kong-headquartered manufacturer finally decided to take its talents to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and, ultimately, the UAE late last year - and they made sure that all guns were blazing with the Phantom 8.
For starters, the Phantom 8 will remind you of the days when smartphones came in really big packaging - because it comes in a really big box. For good reason, too: the units come with a screen protector and transparent casing plus a free one-month subscription to Boomplay Music (we love the freebies, but do think the package could have been smaller). The smartphone's looks, in the meantime, are comparable to an iPhone 7 Plus or an 8 Plus, thanks to its placement of the dual-lens main camera (more on this as we go on), with the Apple logo replaced by a fingerprint sensor.
With a 5.7-inch screen - and rather thick bezels on top and below - this is another huge phone, practically the same size as  an iPhone Plus. To the right, are the volume and power buttons, while on the left is our now-standard hybrid tray, in which you can put, at most, either two SIM cards (nano and micro) or a nano SIM and microSD card. Its build - while good with a metallic frame and glossy rear - is appealing, though it doesn't beam out that premium feel  and tends to be a bit slippery.
On top of the Android 7.0 Nougat OS is Tecno's very own HiOS 3.0; it doesn't clutter the way you're supposed to use the device, though there's some bloatware you'll need to deal with.
For a device priced at the mid-range level, the Phantom 8 pleasantly brings a lot of good specs to the table: the 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM combo is enough to churn out a good performance, though there were times that firing up apps in gung-ho mode resulted in lags - but they were minimal, and thus ignorable. It also has a 3500mAh battery, enough to last over a day; our standard 60-minute YouTube video test at full brightness kicked out 16 per cent of power, and I had no problems using it well into a day-and-a-half.
Circling back to the cameras, some more surprises await. As we mentioned earlier, the Phantom 8 has a dual-lens shooter, with 12MP and 13MP sensors. Up front, we have a humongous 20MP camera - more than the Sony Xperia XZ Premium's 19MP and at par with the Oppo F5 - complete with a dual flash. Overall, those cameras do well in good conditions, but they get fuzzier as the lights get dimmer.
To be fair, we'll be judging the Tecno Phantom 8's capabilities against those we deem it should be stacked against: for all its features at its price point, it can give the likes of Huawei's Honors, Lenovo's Motos and HTC's mid-rangers a good run for their money, with its cameras and battery being the most important talking points. Pretty interesting to see what Tecno will come up with next as it expands further.
Price: Dh1,399
Pros: Nice battery, charges quickly, decent cameras
Cons: Overall design flat, lags at times

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