Tecno Phantom 9

Tecno Phantom 9 Review – Wrong Device, Wrong Timing

So well, Tecno has quietly unveiled their latest Phantom device, the Tecno Phantom 9 without much of a ceremony or noise making and all that, just the same way its next door sibling Infinix, also quietly launched the Zero 6 smart phone earlier this year without any form of announcement at all. In fact, theirs was even the worst, because even up till this time, you can’t find any reliable review of the Infinix Zero 6 smart phone, both on Google and YouTube, except when you click here (The Infinix Zero 6 Most Intensive Review).

Tecno Phantom 9

So, after a good one year of complete silence from Tecno as regards to what will become of the Phantom series, because literally speaking, this was supposed to be a 2018 device, i mean the last Phantom device that we had from these guys was the Tecno Phantom 8, and that was in 2017.

I can bet you that everybody, including myself were really eager to see and know what Tecno was to dish out to the world last year, but unfortunately, that device never came. Personally i even thought maybe they’ve just decided to turn the lights off on its flagship series and focus on what attracts people the more, which in this case are the Camon and Spark series smartphones.

But it turns out that, maybe they had a rethink and probably just wanted to give it maybe just one last shot at it, and if everything still doesn’t seem to go well as planned, then they’ll make their final decisions. But that’s just me thinking though, i mean i don’t know why they refused to launch any Phantom phone last year and had to leave it all until this time, that’s their personally problems by the way, but i just pray that whatever the reason may be, let it just go well for them, and go well for us as well.. and that’s it.

So… back to the topic of today..“The Tecno Phantom 9 Review, and reasons why it is the shittiest Tecno Phantom phone to have ever launch till date”. Wanna know why, then join me and let’s unclothe this ugly beast, that has been hiding in a sheep’s clothing.. #Enjoy

Tecno Phantom 9 Image

So personally, i still can’t believe it, that after a good one year (almost two years now) of eagerly waiting for the next Phantom device from Tecno, this is what they could come up with, just some normal everyday day that is wrapped with plastic all over and uses a Mediatek Helio P35 processor, seriously? Just that?.. Personally I’m even beginning to think that these guys have forgotten and are deviating the Phantom series from what they were originally meant to be.

I mean these things are meant to be top tier flagship devices, in the sense that whenever you think or say Phantom, you should think of Premium devices that sits on top of the food chain. There should be a lot of factors and features and design that differentiates and sets them apart from all other phones that was launched in that particular year.

But what do we have here today, a 6.4 Inches AMOLED display smartphone, with a wack under-the-display fingerprint reader, two weird looking front facing flashlights (i mean, who puts two front facing flashlights on phone nowadays, with one on the left side, and the other one on the right side. It seems everything is not alright with Tecno nowadays), and then a meager 3500mAh battery that is not even power optimized and has no quick charging technology, “i mean this thing literally takes up to 2hrs for it to get fully charged from 0 to 100%”. Here, check this out.

Personally i still think maybe there will be something like a Pro or Plus, you know something like a Tecno Phantom 9 Plus model that will launch maybe in a couple of weeks or a month’s time, that will have all the features of a true flagship device, because as it is right now, i still don’t know what Tecno is planning to achieve with this device.

But nevertheless, sorry for the extremely long sermon, now let’s break this review into sections to make it more interesting, understandable and fun while reading it.. #Shall_We?

Tecno Phantom 9 Review – The Design

  • Name & Model – Tecno Phantom 9 (AB7)
  • Release Date – 4th July 2019
  • Dimensions – 158.46 × 75.3 × 7.85mm
  • Body – Plastic
  • Color – Aurora

So even though the Tecno Phantom 9 does not live up to the type of device i kind of wanted or expected rather, we still can’t deviate from the fact that this one stunning and striking looking smart phone, i mean just a look at this.

Phantom 9 color and design

See how the color shifts from Purple starting from the bottom, to thick blue at the middle and then a very light sky-blue kind of at the top area, very beautiful if you’d ask me, but if only it was made of very premium materials such as Glass. But Tecno decided to make use of Plastic, dubbed “Poly-carbonate” for a premium flagship smartphone.. Laughs in Infinix Hot S4..

So on the back you’ve got a vertically placed triple camera lens setup, that’s pretty standard for every smart phones nowadays, even the very low end tier smart phones such as the Infinix Smart 3 has it, so i don’t think there’s any reason to be excited about it, and lest i forget, they also come with a quad flash as well.

Phantom 9 triple camera lens

Then below the cameras, you’ve got the “Phantom” branding, and still on that same line but now at the bottom of the phone, there you’ll see a “Tecno” branding.

And then you might be wondering, are there no fingerprint readers on this thing? because you and i know there were supposed to be at the center on the back of the phone. But well, Tecno decided to go all gangster and instead, they gave us an under-display fingerprint reader. We’ll be coming back to that in a minute or two, but just know that for first impression purposes, you’re definitely going to be disappointed with it.

Now when you turn this phone to its bottom, first thing you’re gonna notice is the old ugly USB 2.0 Charging port that sits at the middle of the chassis.

Bottom view of Tecno Phantom 9

I mean who still does that in 2019? Not even is this a very thing to do in a time like this when even lower end smart phones are shipping with USB-C out of the box, but if Tecno Phantom 6 of 2016 could ship with USB Type-C out of the box, down to the Phantom 8 of 2017, coupled with the one year break they gave to the Phantom series, why then should this thing ship with an everyday USB 2.0 out of the box? Do these guys even think? Seems they’ve lost it.. seriously.

Well, moving round the device, you have the norms, power button and volume rocker keys on the right, nothing at the top except for a tiny microphone hole, and on the left you have your Micro-SD card + Dual Sim card tray (supports two sim cards, and one Micro-SD card).

Side view - Dual Sim card slot + Micro-SD card

And that’s that about the design of this device. Ohh.. and lest i forget, the display. Alright then, let’s make that another subheading entirely.

Tecno Phantom 9 Review – The Display

  • Size – 6.4 Inches with water-drop notch.
  • Resolution – 2340 × 1080p Full HD+.
  • Material – OLED.

So when you turn the Tecno Phantom 9 device to its front, you can’t help but notice its huge 6.4 Inches AMOLED panel, with a water-drop notch at its top.

Phantom 9 6.4 Inches Diaplay

Good thing Tecno came back to their senses and started making use of OLED displays for its Phantom series once more, not after they dropped it on the Phantom 8 of last two years. So it’s a good welcome addition if you’d ask me, but if only they had put it to better use by including features such as “Always-on-display” on the device. But no offense still, just me thinking out loud.

So the display itself is a Full HD+ resolution one, calibrated at 2340 × 1080p, it is crisp as crispy could get, very bright and with you know, as it is with all things OLED, very punchy colors, so you wouldn’t have any issues using it outdoors and in direct sunlight.

There’s no Gorilla Glass protection on this thing, makes me keep wondering once again, if this was really the handiwork of Tecno after-all, or some extra-terrestrial forces are behind this device. So it’s better you get a screen protector pretty soon, or your device is gonna end up looking like two chickens had a war-tug on it in no time (scratches here and there).

Tecno Phantom 9 Camera Review

  • Rear – 16MP [main] + 2MP [Bokeh effects] + 8MP [120° Ultra-wide angle] with Quad Flash.
  • Front – 32MP with Dual Flash (Left and Right sides).

Now to the part we’ve all been waiting for, the Cameras. So the Phantom 9 comes with three camera lenses at the back and a single 32MP shooter on the front. Now I’m not gonna start writing out those figures once again, because I’ve already done that in the short list above, so I’m just gonna go straight to the point and show you people what taking pictures looks like on this device.. #Enjoy.


Click Image to Expand

So as you can see, the Tecno Phantom 9, though perceived to be a flagship device, but still has a lot of short comings especially in the camera department. The daylight photos were all literally suffering from severe overexposure. The background were all blown-out like they weren’t part of the photo, same thing with the sky, and it resulted to the over-brightening of the  photos, thereby reducing their sharpness and making them look washed-out. Makes me keep wondering, what was the need of the three camera lenses at the first place.

Shots taken with the Ultra-wide angle lens has a different color tone all together compared to normal shots, making me think which one is the real deal here. The wide angle shots look a little bit more punchier, sorry can i make use of the word creamier here as well, while the other two (1X and 2X) just looks faded.

And that’s just that about the cameras on this device, there’s absolutely nothing to be excited about here, just some mid-range three camera lenses that are taking some mid-range photos, but are touted to be flagship…”Bluff“.

Tecno Phantom 9 Review – Hardware and Software

  • Processor – Mediatek Helio P35
  • Clock speed – 2.35GHz Octa-core
  • RAM – 6GB
  • Storage – 128GB
  • Android Version – 9.0 Pie
  • UI Version – HIOS 5.0

Android 9.0 Pie with HIOS v5.0

Okay first of all, the Phantom 9 launches with a Mediatek Helio P35 out the box, makes me keeps wondering if Tecno as a company, has some personally beef with Snapdragon, if they haven’t been seeing how their next door neighbor Infinix, has been gradually shifting towards the light. Now don’t misquote me, i’m not saying that Mediatek procesors are a total crap, no that wasn’t what i meant, but what i meant is that, it would have made more sense and sounded better to the ear, if we had something like a Snapdragon 675 or even the 710 running inside of it. Right?

Well as far as RAM and Storage goes, you have a 6GB RAM to go with a 128GB of internal storage. You might be thinking you have all the RAM and Storage in the world, until you sit down to figure out the amount of these both resources that system files and processes are using for themselves alone, then you’ll realise that you have somewhere around 4GB of RAM and maybe a 120GB of storage left, or even lesser. Here, have a look.

RAM and Storage

So in addition to the not so satisfying hardware, the Phantom 9 also does ship with Android 9 Pie out of the box, coupled with Tecno’s own customized HIOS 5.0 skin on top. I’m not gonna go deep into explaining what HIOS 5 is all about and all the features and all that, no I’m not gonna do that, because we’ve already covered that topic a long time ago, and you can read all about it by clicking on the link i gave up there, but just know that HIOS as a UI itself contains a lot of ads (like i still don’t get it, why will these phone manufacturers keep sending ads for a phone i already paid money for?), well it’s a good thing it you can disable them from the settings menu. But even after disabling the ads, you still have a lot of bloatware apps to deal it, most of which can be uninstalled.

So that’s that about software and hardware on this device, now let’s skip that and move over to some other important aspects of the smart phone.

The Security

  • Fingerprint – Yes (Under-the-display)
  • Face Unlock – Yes (Lightening Fast)

For securing what is on this device and the device itself from intruders, you have what has pretty become a norm in almost every smart phone that you can get your hands on right now. A Fingerprint Reader and Face Unlocking system. But instead of the normal physical Fingerprint reader that we are all used to, instead we have the new In-display or under-the-display fingerprint reader.

under-display fingerprint reader

Now first of all, i understand that under-display fingerprint readers on smart phones is still an emerging technology, still in its early and developing stage, even the tech giants such as Samsung, Huawei and the rest of them haven’t still be able to get it to compete head-on with the physical capacity fingerprint reader, especially in the aspect of unlocking speed.. So i fully understand the shortcomings.

But what i don’t understand is the reason why a company such as Tecno, will take away what was working perfectly before without any issues whatsoever, and give us what we didn’t ask for, i mean who told them that we wanted an under-the-display fingerprint reader?

Now not only is the fact that it is as slow as f*ck to unlock, but guess what, before you could even place your finger on your phone’s display to unlock it, you’ll first have to light up the screen by pressing the power button, then placing your finger on the fingerprint icon that will be shown to you. I mean, who does that? Who wants to pass through that stress all the time of having to press my power button before i could unlock my phone using my fingerprint?, what of the time wasted?, why didn’t they just leave the good old and working traditional physical Fingerprint reader that we’re used to? If they knew they weren’t ready for this journey, then why embark on it at the first place? Oh God..

Well to compensate for the wack under-the-display fingerprint reader, the phone also ships with a Face Unlocking system that is as fast as fast could ever be. I mean, i don’t even get to see the Face Unlocking icon, i just raise it up to my face and boom..!, it unlocks in just one shot. But take note, this isn’t 3D Face Unlock, so be careful who you give your smart phone to. Period.

Tecno Phantom 9 Review – Battery and Charging

  • Battery Size – 3500mAh
  • Fast Charging – No
  • Charging Time – 2hrs 22mins approx.

Ready for another disappoinment? Well the just launched flagship Tecno Phantom 9 ships with a 3500mAh battery and it is not Quick Charging enabled. What more could be more disappointing than that? Well another thing that might sound more disappointing is for the fact that the battery doesn’t live up to expectations, it might get you through the day with very light usage such as making and answering calls, sending and receiving text messages, doing social media and that, with maybe a little over 20% of battery left by the time the day gets dark. But on extensive use, such as surfing the web, watching movies, or even streaming them, playing games and all, then you might need to be scrambling back to where you left your “not-fast” charger to bring it back to life, and in doing that, you’ll have to wait for a whooping 2hrs approximately, just to charge up a 3500mAh cell.

Another thing that might sound disappointing once again is the fact that this thing comes with the old traditional USB 2.0 out of the box. I mean, just take a look at this. Personally i don’t really think it’s a problem for as long as it gets the job done, but i just think it would have looked cooler if it had a USB Type-C port just as the other cool kids have.

Tecno Phantom 9 Price In Nigeria

Alright so according to Eric Okafor (Knewkeed) from Youtube and Fisayo Fosudo from the same Youtube, the Tecno Phantom 9 should be retailing at somewhere around 75,000 – 80,000 Naira. I literally don’t have anything to say concerning this, the decision is left to you to make, but I’d rather go for a Samsung Galaxy A50 or M30 with similar specs, bigger battery, USB C, better fingerprint reader (not under-display), better cameras, better hardware and software and display, and at similar price, than go for the Phantom 9.

But like i said before, its a personal choice and the decision is up to you to make.. #Taink_You

Alright guys, so that’s all for today concerning the new Tecno Phantom 9 smart phone review, do let us know what you think in the comments section below, don’t forget to share this awesome piece if you enjoyed reading it, support us as well by subscribing to our newsletter if you haven’t done so already, and as always, I’ll see you on the next one.. #Peace_Out

#Cheers… emmanuelGodwin
Image CreditsFisayo Fosudo, Eric Okafor

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