The Tecno Phantom X2 is one half of the Phantom X2 duo that the company launched in Kenya last month. The phone is available locally starting from Ksh 68,000 which is not cheap and is a bit more expensive compared to its predecessor, the Tecno Phantom X that we saw back in 2021. The Phantom X was the first device in this rebranded Tecno Phantom series. The company wants to position it as a sub-brand and not just another series in its lineup.
The Tecno Phantom X2 that I will be reviewing is the affordable of two, the Phantom X2 Pro for Ksh 83,000, the most expensive smartphone from Tecno Yet. I have been using this phone (Phantom X2) ever since it was launched in Kenya and I have gained good insights as to what it has to offer.
In this review, I will try and cover all there is to know about this phone and if it is worth your money.
Design and Build Quality
The Tecno Phantom X2’s design is different from most of the other Tecno smartphones we have seen on the market. It does have a curved display that honestly looks quite good. This is one of the unique selling points of this phone and Tecno did really nail it. They did get the premium look that they were going for.
Flipping the phone to the back, you get the polished plastic back cover which looks and feels great. The camera placement also looks odd to me, it is right at the center of the phone which, even though different, hasn’t grown on me even after using the phone for so long.
The camera placement aside, the design of the Phantom X2 looks great. The phone feels slippery though but Tecno has included a free back cover that helps with grip as well as protecting the phone. The edges are curved making the phone comfortable to hold and carry around. The side panel is made of aluminum which does feel quite good since the back cover is made of plastic.
The usual ports and buttons are included with the power and volume keys on the right of the phone and within easy reach even when holding the phone with one hand. The speaker grille, USB-C port and SIM tray are at the bottom of the phone. The phone has one speaker grille which isn’t that appealing for a device within its price range. I was expecting stereo speakers for an enhanced audio experience. Lacking stereo speakers in 2023 for this price can be a deal breaker for many people.
The Tecno Phantom X2 comes with a 6.8 inch AMOLED curved display. I have always been impressed with curved smartphone displays and this is not any different. It just has that immersive feel to it that is always an attention grabber. Even with the 6.8 inch display, the phone does not feel too big, I can still use it with one hand. Since this is an AMOLED display, the blacks are really good and this makes it perfect for media consumption.
This display has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. These are decent and expected specifications for this smartphone.
The 120Hz refresh rate means that the screen can refresh its image 120 times per second, making everything on the screen appear smoother and more fluid compared to a lower refresh rate like the one we had on its predecessor, the Tecno Phantom X that had a display with 90Hz refresh rate. This is especially noticeable when scrolling through content, playing games, or watching videos, as the increased refresh rate results in less motion blur and a more responsive touch input. A 120Hz display improves the overall user experience by providing a more immersive and smooth visual experience.
This display gets bright enough to use under different lighting conditions even under direct sunlight. It also has a High Brightness Mode that you can activate if you are in an area with too much light. Viewing angles are also great with this display and this adds to an overall better user experience.
Performance and hardware
The Tecno Phantom X2 is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 processor. Mediatek Dimensity 9000 is a 4nm 5G-capable mobile SoC (system-on-a-chip). The Dimensity 9000 processor has been compared to some extent to the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor which is a powerful processor that we have seen on some high end smartphones recently.
Having used it for quite some time, the performance is quite good, it does handle demanding tasks including mobile gaming and multitasking with ease. This is my first time interacting with this processor and I am impressed. I am particularly impressed with how the phone handles when multitasking, it does not slow down at all and this can be thanks to the support of the 8GB of RAM that comes with the phone.
Graphics are handled by the Mali-G710 MC10 GPU. This is responsible for rendering graphics and images on the device’s display. It handles the heavy lifting of rendering graphics and does that very well. This GPU is designed to provide high performance and energy efficiency for mobile devices. It is made for high-end smartphones and is optimized for use with Arm Cortex-A processors. If you are into mobile gaming, you will not go wrong with this, you can play some of your favorite titles at high graphics settings without any issues.
For security, the phone supports both fingerprint and face unlocking and both are very fast. The fingerprint is embedded underneath the display, is easy to set up and is always fast. This is an optical scanner that works perfectly.
The Tecno Phantom X2 runs on Android 12 out of the box with HiOS 12 custom UI. Android 12 was released back in late 2021 so it isn’t the latest version but it still gets the job done. It does have some key features including improved privacy controls, enhanced performance optimization and several under-the-hood changes. I hope Tecno has plans to update the Phantom X2 series with Android 13 soon. Tecno has said that this phone is scheduled to get at least two major Android OS updates. The phone has already received an update recently to improve performance so if you are planning to buy this phone, you should consider updating the software as soon as you get it.
HiOS 12 is good and has some key improvements but I am not a fan of the bloatware that comes with this UI. I could uninstall some of the pre-installed apps but for some, all I could do was disable them as I was not able to uninstall. Some of them even come back to life after disabling them which is annoying. Tecno should reduce the bloatware to the minimum especially for a phone that costs this much. There are also apps that keep sending notifications on a regular basis which can be annoying. For a premium experience to be achieved, these should be avoided.
HiOS is easy to use and understand. If you have never used it before, it does take a few minutes and you will feel right at home with it.
One major update that I like with HiOS so far is the inclusion of a Smart Widget on the home screen. This allows you to squeeze multiple widgets into one portion of your display, letting you swipe between them to quickly glean info from each app at once.This allows you to see some of the recent apps you have interacted with on the homescreen and jump into any one of them if you wanted to.
If I were to summarize the camera experience, I would say it is really good. Tecno has done a good job here and I am impressed. The Phantom X2 is equipped with a triple rear camera system with a 64 MP wide-angle lens, a 13 MP ultrawide lens, and a 2 MP camera, as well as a 32 MP front-facing selfie camera.
I got really good shots with the back camera both during the day and at night. The color saturation is balanced and the vibrancy is good too. I did not experience many instances of over exposure during my review period. Have a look at some of the shots below.
The back camera supports 10X zoom which should be good if you want to take shots of objects that are far from you. The quality of shots you get with the 10X zoom take a beating but you can go with 2X and 5X zoom that can take OK photos.
This camera also supports Super Night mode shooting that lets you take decent shots when the lighting is not so good. The noise levels are a bit high but you can still get good shots. I also loved its portrait mode as it worked well and even better than what we get from other smartphones from the company. This is a big improvement even compared to the Phantom X.
The back camera also records 4K videos at 60 fps (frames per second).
For selfies, the 32 MP front facing camera does a good job. It does take accurate and detailed selfies in varying lighting conditions.
As I have mentioned above, the Phantom X2 does not have stereo speakers. This affects the audio quality and having them could have given the phone an edge over its competitors. The speaker included has bass but it is not that rich. It does not feel premium to me and could have been much better if the company fine tuned it a bit. You can still have a good experience if you have to but may be slightly disappointed if you regularly use the phone for streaming videos. The earpiece on the other hand is quite good and I had no issues hearing people on the other side during phone calls.
The microphone is good too, it does a good job in picking the audio and canceling out the background noise.
The Phantom X2 comes with a 5,160 mAh battery that I had no issues using for an entire day and still have some left as I went to bed. I constantly got 6 to 7 hours of screen-on-time which is impressive considering that this phone is no slouch when it comes to performance. There are a few battery saving features but I am yet to use them so far since the phone’s battery has never run that low for me to need them.
The one not so good thing about this battery is that it only supports 45W fast charging. For a battery this size, I was expecting faster charging such as 65W as some of its competitors, including the Infinix Zero Ultra supports 180W fast charging.
The Tecno Phantom X2 is an improvement compared to its predecessor. It is one of the most expensive smartphones Tecno has ever released to date. Using it for a while, I loved the design and display, the curved formfactor does give it a modern and premium look.
I was also impressed with the performance of this phone. At no time during the review period did I experience any performance issues no matter what I threw at it. This is what you expect from a flagship smartphone and it is exactly what you get.
The cameras are also great in different lighting conditions. There are no camera gimmicks or software enhancements that distort the images you take. Even though the cameras are good, the camera housing at the back is not my favorite, it still looks a bit odd.
I would have loved to have faster charging with this phone even if it is 65W, anything faster than 45W is appreciated. With a battery of its size, you will sit around waiting for the phone to fully charge if it is running low.
The last thing that really conflicts me when it comes to this phone is the price. Even though it is good, I don’t think it should cost this much. kSH 68,000 seems a bit high to me. If it was selling for around Ksh 50,000 – 60,000, that could have been a very good deal in my opinion. The phone is very good but the price will deter a good number of people from buying it.