Tecno Phantom 5: First Impressions and Hands-On

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Tecno unveiled the Phantom 5 in Kenya to much pomp and glamour not long ago. The device is an attempt by one of the fastest rising mobile phone brands on the African continent to tap into the premium smartphone segment that has for long been dominated by the likes of Samsung and Huawei. For all intent and purpose, the Tecno Phantom 5 is the clearest indication of the ambition of Tecno Mobile.

You’ll find proof that this is meant to be an aspirational device just by looking at the retail packaging. It’s elegant and not the kind of stuff you’d normally get. I did not expect it either. Everything is neatly arranged and in its rightful place. You can actually feel the strict attention to detail. Things were obviously thought through. You be the judge.

 

What you get in the box:

Tecno_Phantom_5_3

  • A flip cover with a microSIM adapter and SIM ejection tool tucked in
  • Hi-Fi earphones (we’ll test these and give feedback in the upcoming review)
  • Wall adapter and USB cable
  • Some documentation: a 13-month warranty card, a user manual and a PalmChat starter card

The device comes with a screen protector already plastered on the front.

Here are some more photos of the Tecno Phantom 5 right from the retail packaging to the device itself:

I’ve had the device for a few hours now and here are my first impressions:

  • The sign on process is what every other smartphone should have. It is short and very simple. So much that for the first 15 minutes of my interaction with the device, I was able to set up everything without the need to sign in to my Google account. The experience is Tecno first and Google second. You’ll hardly notice this though and it is possible to just go about your phone usage without needing to sign in to your Google account. Normally that’s not really a good thing but it is here. It means anyone can buy this device and continue using it without the need to complicate matters. Whatsapp is preinstalled as is Facebook. You’ll only need to sign in after you’re prompted to update the two applications and others.
  • There are several bundled applications. Most of these are what we’ve come to expect on Tecno devices like Flash Share (renamed as Xender in the Tecno Phantom 5), PalmChat, BlackBerry Messenger and CarlCare. To make it possible for the average user to get going immediately after booting up, there are several other applications pre-installed. These include WhatsApp Messenger, Facebook, Opera Mini, UC Browser Mini, DU Speed Booster, WPS Office (for document editing, viewing PDFs and other office tasks), SwiftKey keyboard, TouchPal keyboard as well as a game, Asphalt Nitro.
  • Of the bundled applications, there is one standout candidate: the Boom Player. The Tecno Phantom 5 sits at the top of the Tecno Mobile’s smartphone food chain and as a result it is tasked with delivering the best of both worlds: from entertainment to productivity to socialising. The Boom Player is meant to take care of the entertainment bit by providing access to music from African acts as well as global stars. I was pleasantly surprised that upon signing in using my account (created while using the Tecno Boom J7 months ago), all my data synced immediately. I had access to my playlists. There was even an app update available almost immediately. I can’t wait to test Boom Player and see what has changed since my last interaction with it and how well it stacks against competing services.
  • The Tecno Phantom 5 has some of the best-sounding speakers I’ve ever used. There’s Dolby Audio and from the few demos, I’m honestly blown away. It can be toggled on and off but you can count on it staying on throughout the period I’ll be testing the Tecno Phantom 5 because the sound is crisp.
  • Tecno has a more updated user interface based off Android Lollipop that is actually likeable. The icons are flatter and the notification shade no longer looks like a ghost town. Even the settings application has been streamlined and now more than ever before it is easier to customize your device without getting lost in the process.

There’s so much to the Tecno Phantom 5 that I’ll be testing over the next few weeks including the 13 megapixel camera, the fingerprint scanner at the back of the device and the 4G LTE network speeds so stick around for a comprehensive review.

The Tecno Phantom 5 is available in shops all across Kenya at a price of Ksh 40,000.

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