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Tecno Phantom 8 Review. Big Slab Of Metal And Glass, Big Gives And Takes

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From the Phantom 6 Plus we skip the 7 and dive into the Phantom 8. It’s the latest and greatest from Tecno and the focus does seem like it was on a head turning design. It’s one big phablet and is ready to duel with the best right now. Is it really? Let’s find out.

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The following is a technical review of this device. For a simplified summary scroll down to the ‘In a nutshell’ section at the bottom of the review.

Unboxing

Tecno-Phantom-8-box

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Again Tecno’s Phantom line always makes the unboxing experience quite an occasion, complete with their signature super sized box.

It opens up like a mat and when you lay it down it is a legit skyline. What can I say I am a sucker for a satisfying unboxing experience and this is one of my best ones.

Contents of the box are alright but from the size I did expect more. Just a bit more. At least enough to match the contents of the Phantom 6 or maybe even surpass it.

x1 Tecno Phantom 8

x1 Fast Charger head

x1 USB Type-C cable

x1 Rubber transparent case

x1 User guide

x1 Warranty card

x1 Plastic guard(For the back glass)

x1 Pair of earphones

x1 Sim ejector tool

Also in the mix is a pre installed plastic screen protector under the bit of plastic with the branding. About 40% of the box contents is just foam rubber. Sorry for spoiling it for you. But the latch is magnetic though!!!

Exterior

The Phantom 8 is a 5.7 inch phablet with a metal frame and front and back glass. The back had a piano sort of finish to it which creates a very good looking pattern when some light goes onto it at certain angles.

tecno-phantom-8-back

The front is a 5.7 inch Full HD IPS LCD panel with some pretty good colors. The front glass is slightly curved at the edges giving a pretty posh look to it.

Tecno-Phantom-8-front

Above the display you get some sensors, the 20MP selfie camera, the earpiece, the dual LED flash and one tiny notification LED

Below the display are the capacitive navigation buttons that I applauded because, well, screen real estate is king. I however was disappointed when I discovered that they are not back lit.

Top edge is where you’ll find the headphone jack, on the right side is the volume buttons and power button. The left side has the hybrid sim slot which allows you to either have 2 Sim cards in the phone or one Sim and a memory card.

At the bottom you have the primary microphone, a USB Type-C port and the loudspeaker grill. At the back you have  a 12MP + 13MP dual camera set up and right next to it a dual tone triple LED flash. Below it is the fingerprint sensor and all this is on a very good looking slab of glass which shifts the reflection in some interesting ways.

However it is a complete and utter fingerprint magnet its a task to just keep it presentable for shoots. It it pretty easy to redecorate with scratches as well and its an intense situation such that they provided a plastic skin for the back glass to solve the scratch situation for those that are not about that case life

In the box you do get a relatively chunky clear case if you are as afraid as me.

Camera

Starting off at the back we have a dual camera set up comprised of a 12MP and 13MP cameras. The setup here is for refocus which is basically a portrait mode/bokeh effect. Give it the right conditions and you can pull off some spectacular portrait shots with proper background blur.

Portrait shots for those alien to the term is referred to photos that show the subject in great detail and to emphasize on the subject, everything in the background is completely blurred out. It gives photos a more dramatic look and help the subject stand out more especially when the background is pretty loud.

It works pretty well as long as the subject you want to take a photo of is between 1 and 2.5 meters away from the phone AND also if the background is at least 2 meters away from the subject in the shoot. The autofocus responsible for selecting what you want to take a photo of is for the most part spot on.

The blur is not perfect though. Looking at the edges of some of the photos the blur sometimes overlaps the edges of the subject a bit and sometimes a bit of blur is missing from the edges after the subject. Its a very slight imperfection nothing to sound all the alarms.

It also has a button that allows for what looks like 2X optical zoom meaning to say apart from Bokeh skills the dual set up has telephoto features. Now 2X optical zoom might not be much but very few smartphones have it. It can be really useful when you need a bit of a close up of something.

Image quality is good even though I expected more. Detail and sharpness it plenty and the dynamic range does its fair share of the job. What deletes the icing from the cake is the colors which we expected to just be a little bit more vibrant. After all it is an $835 device.

It also features a dual tone, triple LED flash to take care of low light scenarios.

The selfie camera is a luxurious 20MP snapper and it takes pretty crisp and detailed photos. Which is what one should expect when they have 20MP at their disposal. In good lighting detail is amazing as well as the colors. There is also minimal distortion often seen on most selfie cameras especially towards the edges of the photo.

In low light the images are very soft, so soft in some cases you look like you applied makeup. It also features a wide angle feature that makes use of panorama. It does do the trick but only when everyone in that selfie is really still and also if the person taking the selfie has a steady hand.

In low light the selfie will keep things illuminated with a dual LED flash. Its sad that the portrait feature couldn’t make it’s way to the selfie camera as well.

Connectivity

The Phantom 8 is a dual sim device complete with LTE. The sim tray is the hybrid variety and with it you are denied the option of enjoying benefits of having 2 sim cards and a memory card. Either you have 2 sims or on sim and a memory card.

No CDMA is supported here but then again CDMA is a dying technology. At the bottom you have a USB type-C port with OTG capability which means you can connect a flash disk or hard drive to the phone for data transfer or backing up some files on something external. You can also use the feature to charge other devices like Bluetooth speakers, headphones or another phone.

Battery

Juicing up the Phantom 8 is a generous 3500mAh battery and it doesn’t end there. It also comes with fast charging allowing for a brisk top up of the battery.

After our 3 hour multi media marathon of gaming, video streaming and video recording the Phantom 8 lost 49% of its juice. You will easily last a full day of normal usage on this device and if you eventually manage to ransack the battery life you can swiftly top it up thanks to some quick charge. You also get cool graphics and double the lightning bolts.

This is a completely artificial test which allows us to provide a uniform test environment for all of our devices for purposes of comparison.

Performance

This metal frame and glass clad phablet is breathing with a Mediatek Helio P20 (MT6757) CPU with a Mali-T880 GPU flanked by a spacious 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It is funny how this new phone has an inferior processor compared to the one in it’s predecessor

Performance is as you would expect from a manufacturers flagship. You get smooth interaction with the UI with pretty much no lag.

Multi tasking is a complete joy weather it is switching between apps or utilizing the dual window feature courtesy of Android 7.0 Nougat which it comes with out of the box. Which is what you could expect from an insane 6GB of RAM I mean its more than what most people have on their PCs.

The CPU in the Phantom is a mid tier chipset very capable of handling medium to slightly heavy work loads with ease. Heavy usage was also bringing pleasing results especially when temperature is concerned. Tecno never disappoints when it comes to management of heat which shows in battery life. It is a very pleasing performance all round.

Spec Sheet

O.SAndroid 7.0 Nougat
CPUMediatek Helio P20 2.6GHz Quad Core
GPUMali-T880 MP2
Display and Protection5.7 Inch FHD 1920x1080 IPS LCD
Main Camera12MP + 13MP
Autofocus
Face Detection
Refocus/Bokeh
Dual tone triple LED flash
FHD video 1920x1080
Secondary Camera20MP
Wide Angle
Dual LED flash
Storage6GB RAM
64GB Internal Storage
MicroSD slot up to 2TB (theoretically 256GB)
Connectivity2G, 3G, 4G
Bluetooth
Wifi
USB OTG
SensorsAcceleration
Geomagnetic rotation
Gravity sensor
Gyroscope
Light sensor
Magnetic field sensor
Proximity sensor
Battery3500mAh
Endurance49% Power drain after and hour each of
Continuous video streaming
Continuous video recording
Continuous gaming
Antutu 7 Score77 377
Price $835
Loudspeaker Loudness

Extras

Its a good looking device indeed thanks to the rear glass. But keeping it fingerprint free is a mission and so we have a matte skin that you can apply to the back of the phone. If you buy one it it develops a fault you’ll get highest priority when getting repairs. Not bad.

In A Nutshell

+ Good looking design and premium build

+ Great performance

+ No trace of overheating

+ Skin for the back glass

+ Fast charging

+ Good battery life

+ Capable camera

– Audio is fine but could be better

– Navigation keys should be back lit

–  Beautify feature adds a strong orange tint at times

– $850 is A LOT of money for the amount of phone you get

– Weaker processor than the phone it replaces

The Phantom 8 is a solid offering. You have battery that can last you a whole day and a snappy top up if you manage to fall short. You have a smooth, lag free software all on a very good looking and big display. And the design is a premium offering of glass and metal with a pretty decent camera.

It looks like all the basic stuff you would expect a flagship to come with is covered here. And for the most part you would be right. Until the price tag garnishes your poor soul. $835 leaves it open to strict scrutiny of the “What am I really getting for that amount of money?” variety. More so it places the Phantom 8 into a VERY hostile place in the market with a bunch of established flagships.

The Phantom 8 is a solid phone capable of satisfying your every need. However that eye watering price though. Shout out to Appliance Expert for hooking us up with a review unit.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Tecno Phantom 8 Review. Big Slab Of Metal And Glass, Big Gives And Takes

  1. I know you could not say much about the price… Suffice to say they not going to move many

  2. “,,,,I however was disappointing when I discovered that they are not back lit…” I am sorry to hear you were disappointing, hope you improve soon !

  3. You glossed over the price issue my brother. Locally its selling for US$835 from Tecno Agents. I just imported mine from Kenya for a cool 320 bucks. Those agents need to be investigated.

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