TECNO Phantom V Fold Handson Impressions: This Foldable Is Cheap

TECNO Phantom V Fold Handson Impressions: This Foldable Is Cheap

TECNO has a long-standing reputation as a budget company in emerging markets and offers a variety of budget and mid-range phones with local customizations. The Chinese brand has been making efforts to enter the premium segment in recent years thanks to devices such as the Phantom range. Now with the TECNO Phantom V Fold, we have what is undoubtedly the culmination of its pioneering efforts. But does TECNO have what it takes to make a great foldable phone? It's time to learn with the Phantom V Fold.

High quality, but familiar

Tecno Phantom V Fold closed gapless

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Phantom V Fold is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. In fact, one of the people I met at MWC 2023 thought it was the same phone.

This is due to the same screen dimensions and a shiny, beautiful metal frame. Flip the phone over and the V Fold reveals the TECNO badge, with a circular camera body dominated by the 50-megapixel primary camera and a back cover that looks like a piece of gorgeous paper art. We also have a pretty slim design, at least compared to Samsung's rugged foldable phones. This is due at least in part to the signature "aerospace" hinge, which helps ensure a nearly gap-free folding mechanism.

We asked TECNO if the phone is waterproof, but it has been tight-lipped about it so far, leading us to believe that it doesn't have an official rating. It's not surprising given those new slim hinges also seen on the HONOR Magic Vs, they don't offer waterproofing, but they're nice nonetheless.

Everything you need to know about screens

Tecno Phantom V Fold open in hand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Of course, it wouldn't be a foldable phone without a foldable display. TECNO Phantom V Fold has an impressive 7.85-inch main screen (2296 x 2000, LTPO, 120 Hz). TECNO's folding screen has a crease the size of my finger, but it's flatter than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This foldable display features ultra-thin glass (UTG) for added durability.

However, the screen has all the disadvantages of a conventional folding screen. On the one hand, compared to conventional monitors, it shows little. TECNO also has a list of warnings on the packaging. Among them are warnings such as not to open the device at a temperature of -15°C, not to press the central part of the screen when folding, and not to touch the panel with a fingernail.

TECNO Phantom V Fold offers a stylish folding display with flat folding and ultra-thin glass.

Perhaps the biggest downside of the TECNO Phantom V Fold is that the new hinge does not have a free-standing type. Instead, it's a spring-loaded hinge that refuses to stay permanently in any position other than fully closed or fully open. Pity those who like to use their phone as a video stand or camera tripod. What's even more confusing is that when you try to partially fold the phone, the Camera app, YouTube, and many other apps try to switch to a Flex Mode-style user interface.

Close the Phantom V Fold and you're presented with a 6.42-inch 2550 x 1080 OLED panel with Gorilla Glass Victus. It's an LTPO panel like the main monitor that can go down to 10Hz. I also liked the subtle curve on the right side of this screen, which is especially nice when using the back gesture.

adequate performance

Tecno Phantom V Fold quick settings in hand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

TECNO Phantom V Fold follows OPPO Find N2 Flip as a foldable phone with MediaTek chipset ie. Dimensity 9000 Plus processor from 2022. It's still a solid piece of silicon, especially when paired with 12GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB of storage. Performance was good in my experience; Navigating between home screens, switching between smartphone screens and folding screens, and launching apps were generally smooth.

However, the phone's software overrides the premium hardware. TECNO and its subsidiary Infinix are usually at the forefront when it comes to third-party Android stuff, and while things have improved a lot compared to previous devices I've tested, there's still a long way to go.

TECNO's software is still the company's Achilles heel, mainly due to software viruses.

Phantom V Fold comes with HiOS based on Android 13 and here you can expect improved folding. These include a useful shortcut for running two programs side-by-side, a program merge feature for running two custom programs side-by-side, windowing support, and more. includes. The TECNO skin is fully functional in other areas as well, offering PC integration, dual app functionality, RAM expansion support, and the ability to draw on the lock screen to quickly launch apps.

However, there are some gripes with the software. First, you can't add Google Discover to the leftmost home screen (although you can remove the default shelf-like screen). Also, the foldable device's taskbar is not static like the Galaxy Z Fold and only appears on home screens.

In addition to proprietary software (such as Gallery, voice assistant Ella and Hi Translate), the phone also comes with third-party viruses. I have never heard of some of these programs - What is CarlCare? Who is Carl? Even some proprietary apps look a little sketchy like the TECNO Spot app. It looks like an official forum app, but it's not uncommon to see NSFW images when you first launch it. Finally, it should be noted that the performance of the system is not always smooth. I noticed an occasional lag when opening the notification panel, and a noticeable lag when switching between cameras. Speaking of photography…

Bad cameras?

Tecno Phantom V Fold camera housing

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Unfortunately, the TECNO Phantom V Fold really falls short when it comes to camera usage. The hardware specs look pretty good with a 50MP primary camera, a 50MP 2x telephoto lens and a 13MP ultra-wide lens. On paper, it should be on par with the best camera phones out there. However, some of the photos we took in our early tests looked like they came from a mid-range or low-end smartphone.

Photos from the main camera seem to have a consistent level of detail, but sometimes look too contrasty with too much sharpness. It also doesn't help that TECNO insists on beautifying the themes (luckily you can turn this option off). Meanwhile, the 2x telephoto lens offers more detail, but struggles even in ideal conditions thanks to exaggerated flare and a richer color profile. As expected, the ultra-wide camera offers softer corners and less detail than the 1x camera, but at least it has autofocus for macro shots.

We also have a 32-megapixel selfie camera on the outer screen and a 16-megapixel camera on the inner folding screen. Our first tests show that the folding screen camera delivers similar results to the first-generation sub-screen cameras. Expect a blurry face in low-light scenes, though. You can take quality selfies with the main camera, at least like Samsung's modern cameras.

TECNO Phantom V Fold hands-on experience: Is it just a dream?

Tecno Phantom V Fold open standing on table

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

TECNO's first foldable phone is striking purely in terms of hardware. Between the minimal-creasing foldable display and Ultra Thing glass, the sleek, sharp exterior, and healthy power levels, there's a lot to like here.

Tecno Phantom V Fold: Hot or Not?

173 votes

Unfortunately, we were underwhelmed by the software experience and camera quality. With exceptional software and picture quality on par with budget phones, the excellent TECNO lacks the glamor of the latest offerings from Samsung, OPPO and HONOR.

On the other hand, the phone's attractive early bird price of Rs 79,999 / $979 (12GB / 256GB) helps offset some of these complaints. Even at a regular price of Rs 89,999 / $1,099, you're looking at the cheapest foldable device on the market. TECNO Phantom V Fold will come to India first, other countries will be announced later.

Tecno Phantom V Fold 5G Price India | Tecno Phantom V Fold India Review, Specs, Buy or Don't Buy, SOC


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