There were times when multiple camera sensors were considered premium and now you have smartphones priced less than Rs 10,000 with double or triple-camera setups. Similarly, smartphones with an in-display fingerprint sensor have been found generally in premium phones priced above Rs 25,000.
Tecno, which has been limited to offline sales catering to the budget segment, is challenging its own rules and wants to go all the way to offer the best value for money products to the customers. Its latest offering is Tecno Phantom 9, which comes with 6GB of RAM, 128GB internal storage, triple camera setup at the back, an attractive design and in-display fingerprint sensor and above all, is priced just below Rs. 15,000. Sounds almost too good to be true, isn’t it? Why almost, well, here’s why…
The phone comes with a 6.4-inch full HD+ AMOLED display which is large and bright enough to offer an immersive viewing experience. It offers a near bezel-less experience making gameplay and multimedia consumption a tasty treat.
The triple camera setup on the Tecno Phantom 9 comes with an interesting little tweak of its own. It has a 16-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel 120-degree ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel sensor for depth sensing. The camera application is easy to use and has a lot of features including a dedicated macro shot mode.
Technically this setup is not the best in the market since you have a lot of phones in the market with very powerful sensors at a similar price range. That said, you can still capture some beautiful and detailed shots provided there is ample amount of daylight. It is a different story when the lighting conditions are challenging. You would notice a lot of noise in the images captured in low light scenarios.
I liked the macro mode, though it took me some time to get crisp shareworthy macro shots of flowers, leaves, and other random stuff but it was fun. Other modes that you get are AI cam, Beauty, Bokeh, AR shot and Panorama. You need to be patient to get the desired results from the camera on this phone. For selfie lovers, the 32-megapixel camera is a similar story. With enough natural light added with a wee bit of patience, you can still get some more than decent selfie shots. Low light selfie shots come out okay thanks to unique dual front selfie flash which sits just above the display on either side of the notch. Presence of AR emoji is a pleasant surprise for a sub-15K phone.
Overall performance of the phone is acceptable. It offers 128 GB of internal storage and has an ample 6GB of RAM which is expected to help you complete more than day to day tasks without any fuss. Talking about the ‘almost’ I mentioned earlier, it’s the performance part which really takes a hit because of the presence of a sub-par Mediatek Helio P35 processor, mostly found in phones priced around Rs. 10,000. With regular usage, however, you won’t face any issue whatsoever.
In fact, the performance is snappy till the time you start playing graphic-intensive games which is when the phone starts lagging and heats up slightly as well. This is disappointing when you have competition devices offering amazing all-round performance at a similar or slightly higher price. The phone runs on Android 9 Pie based HiOS out of the box which feels zippy and comes with most features like gesture-based navigation but misses out on quite a few important ones like digital wellbeing.
The 3500 mAh battery pack on the phone lasts just about a day and with excessive gaming or multimedia usage you might have to plug in the charger earlier than expected. The phone also doesn’t come with fast charging so that’s a bummer too. The highlight of the phone is its in-display fingerprint sensor which more or less works the way it's advertised. Though this one is visibly slow when compared to the other devices.
Summing it up
The Tecno Phantom 9 marks the company’s focus towards catering to the requirements of the gen Z rather than just offering budget and entry-level smartphones. Though on paper you get most boxes ticked with this phone like RAM, internal storage, camera, display, design, and in-display fingerprint sensor, it still may not be able to challenge the likes of Xiaomi, Realme, and Vivo. Overall, it is a decent buy for someone who is looking for a bit of everything under a strict budget.