TECNO is a leading international smart device brand with operations in over 70 counties globally. The Chinese brand has focused on budget devices for developing markets for most of its history, and in doing so, has grown to become the top-selling smartphone brand in Africa. Now, TECNO officials believe that it’s time to move a step further. That’s why they launched a flagship foldable device that’s designed to face head-to-head with the industry’s best. It’s called the Phantom V Fold, and that’s the device we have for review here. It comes with impressive specs and an attractive price point, aiming to make it the one foldable out there – for all.
Tecno Phantom V Fold – Technical Specs
- Brand: Tecno
- SoC: Dimensity 9000+
- Display: 7.85″ foldable AMOLED 120Hz LTPO main screen, 6.42″ front sub-screen (also AMOLED 120Hz LTPO)
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 256GB as tested, 512GB also available
- Battery: 5000mAh
- Ports: USB-C
- Operating System: HiOS 13
- Front camera: 32MP sub, 16MP main
- Rear cameras: 50MP main, 50MP telephoto, 13MP wide
- Connectivity: Dual NanoSIM (5G)
- Dimensions: D14.5 x H160 x W72mm when folded (D0.57 x H6.30 x W2.83 inches)
- Charging: 45W Super Charge (USB-C)
- Price: ~$1000
I know there are many foldable phones out there – and some of them I have already reviewed. However, after 10 days with this little beauty in my hands and its price in mind, I tend to keep it as my main phone for much longer. Yes, I admit that it’s not perfect. Far from it to be honest. I also have some doubts about its long-term reliability and the support it may get from TECNO. However, after using it as main phone for a while, I was surprised with its performance, its imaging capabilities, and the stability of its system!
Display and foldable features
- Dimensions folded: 159.4 x 71.95 x 14.15 mm
- Dimensions unfolded: 159.4 x 140.4 x 6.9 mm
- Weight: 299 grams
- Black and white color options, recycled plastic back
One thing we all see when unfolding the TECNO V-Fold, is the small bump that appears in the middle of the display when it opens. Tecno specifically warns against pushing on the fold while folding the screen up, but it seems like that should be an easy thing to avoid doing.
If you can get pass this detail, you’re presented with a 7.85-inch AMOLED, almost square 4:3.55 ratio screen, running at 2296 x 2000 pixels (2K+, around 388PPI) at an adaptive 10-120Hz. You will be impressed with its vibrant, crisp colors and the… bump in-between of course.
How solid is the hinge of Tecno Phantom V Fold?
The laminate layer that protects the screens is very reflective, though, so using it under direct sunlight could be tricky. You can also feel the hinged part of the display if you run your finger over it, but it won’t present actual problems other than feeling/looking a bit weird. It’s natural to have concerns about the long-term durability of folding screens, I agree. However, Tecno claims that it can withstand 200,000 folds, which, if we estimate around 20 folds a day (40 if we count a fold as one way only)—should last roughly… 13 years. Not bad.
The back of the phone is completely fingerprint-resistant, as well as extremely grippy. The sides and hinge mechanism are made from an aluminum alloy that’s cool to the touch, while the outer screen is coated with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. There’s minimal branding to be found on the device, only the word “Phantom” in a shiny silver font on the rear panel.
There’s an aramid-fibre case included in the box, which is an excellent addition. It comes complete with an integrated kickstand, so you can prop it up on a table to watch Netflix series or YT videos on the interior display. It’s just a slim case and it only protects the rear portion of the phone. So it’s not the most protective solution, but it does look nice.
Tecno Phantom V Fold review: Performance and HiOS 13 Fold
- MediaTek Dimensity 9000+
- 12GB RAM, 256GB or 512GB storage
- 5000 mAh battery, 45W charging (wired only)
- HiOS 13 Fold (based on Android 13)
Compared to the Dimensity 9000, the Dimensity 9000+ processor has a higher main frequency with its Cortex-X2 mega-core reaching 3.2GHz, along with three 2.85GHz Cortex-A710 cores and four 1.8GHz Cortex-A510 cores. In addition, the Dimensity 9000+ is equipped with Mali-G710MC10 GPU, which provides 12.6% higher in frequency than the Dimensity 9000 does, delivering an additional 3D performance boost.
In real terms, I maxed out the settings on Genshin Impact and played on the large interior display at 60fps with minimal stutter. The Phantom never got too warm, either, even during extended gaming sessions. I really enjoyed playing with the extra screen real area.
The PHANTOM V Fold is also equipped with the fastest 12GB of memory that the Dimensity 9000+ can support, which is equivalent to 7,500MHz of LPDDR5X, and this model also features the popular memory fusion technology, which can add up to an additional 9GB of application cache.
HiOS 13 Fold: impressive features with bloatware
The operating system used by PHANTOM V Fold is TECNO’s “HiOS13 Fold”, which is based on Android 13. It’s a heavy skin and takes the Apple / Xiaomi approach of separating out your notification shade and quick settings, but this is easy to get used to. It brings all the functions and abilities ROMs have these days. I must mention that there’s some bloatware and advertisement as we see in other similarly priced smartphones. There were no major bugs or limitations and I believe that – with a little polishing- HIOS Fold can stand next to other skins.
Tecno says that over 2000 apps have been optimized to work with the V Fold’s form factor, including the top 500 Play Store apps based on global download frequency. This meant that everything I tried worked pretty much flawlessly across the outer and inner displays, as well as with multi-window modes.
Gizchina News of the week
Tecno Phantom V Fold review: Customization modes
The customization is rich with many features, a theme shop and a dark mode. We can find a memory boost app, Phone Master – a general taking care app, a private app shop called Palm Store, AI Gallery, Ella, Hi Browser, Hi Translate, Palm Store, and Visha Player, Instant Apps – a very nice shortcut app to various games and apps that you can use without installing, a Community app for Tecno, various tools, and various other applications like music stores, data share apps etc. Especially in Notifications we are constantly bombarded by information and advertisement… The good thing is that we can find Google Services and you can instantly start removing any application you don’t use/need. In 20-30 minutes the software is more light and user friendly.
I have the feeling that the people behind HIOS Fold will do a good job onwards since this very rich skin covers all needs of a user and does it with good speed and minimal energy consumption. I hope Tecno will continue to provide updates for this phone. However, Android 13 is a generation old now and Tecno does not have a proven track record of offering software updates in a timely manner. I wouldn’t hold my breath on Android 14 coming here anytime soon.
- 50MP f/1.85 main
- 50MP 2x telephoto
- 13MP ultra-wide
- 16MP internal selfie camera
- 32MP external selfie camera
The phone in our review bundles a total of five lenses. Of those, two are selfie cameras (for both the sub and main screen), a 50MP main camera with a custom Super Night sensor, a 50MP telephoto 2x optical zoom, and a 13MP ultra-wide lens.
While the secondary telephoto and ultra-wide lenses are not particularly bad/or good, the main sensor is REALLY good and performs far better in low light than many other phones in the market.
The main thing that this phone lacks however, compared to competing devices, is image processing. Photos from the Phantom V Fold just aren’t as vibrant as other devices, especially in overcast weather, where everything just looks dull. When HDR is active, images come out looking a little washed out, with a slight shift toward the cooler color temperatures.
(Double) Selfie power
TECNO has invested a lot in the camera department, and I believe the result is impressive. There are two selfie cameras on the V Fold, and you can also use the main camera to take selfies – there are a lot of options. The 32MP punch-hole camera on the secondary display is very good, producing lots of detail. While the 16MP camera on the interior is far less impressive. It’s fine for video calls, but I’d avoid using it for photos. I really enjoyed the AR Shot, with Animoji/stickers, the face recognition software that can transform our face in an instance, the portrait restoration technique that we can find embedded and of course a seriously sick bokeh effect!
One area of the processing that surprised me, though, was night mode. Here the images came out looking sharp, vibrant, and detailed – with only slightly less dynamic range than you’d find with Google or Samsung devices.
Battery life of Tecno Phantom V Fold
The Phantom V Fold packs a 5,000mAh battery, which is considerably larger than other foldables in the market, and it supports 45W charging, which is much faster, too. However, it does lack any kind of wireless charging support.
I found the battery life to be sufficient for my needs, providing an average day’s usage. If you decide to go and play for 1 hour however, the battery percentage will rapidly fall. Thankfully, the brand-new Type-C 45W wall charger is a welcomed addition to the setup. It provides a full charge the device from 0%-50% in 19 minutes and it took us 59 minutes to charge it from 0% to 100%. However, the phone doesn’t support wireless charging, a bummer for those who want everything.
Tecno Phantom V Fold review: Conclusion
Indeed, this is TECNO’s most ambitious project, in terms of hype and performance. It features an eye-grabbing design and genuine innovative camera hardware breakthrough. The Phantom V Fold is an extremely impressive debut foldable device, and that’s before we even get to its price point. It retails for around $1100 – a price bargain for a foldable phone.
The SoC is energy efficient and stable and cool. The Dimensity 9000+ chip allows it to outperform its counterparts with general UI and work performance. The camera system, featuring five lenses, is especially impressive, with the main Super Night sensor offering incredible clarity in low light.
The UI may be frustrating for those looking for a more stock experience. It’s not so bad as to seriously detract from the overall experience. Software is rich but needs polishing to remove some of the bloatware. There is a quite large battery with top standby times of up to 15 hours of use, and the charging speed is good with a 45W charger. Design is great and the addition of case / earphones in the box is a plus.
The Tecno Phantom V Fold is a device for anyone looking for an innovative smartphone experience at an affordable price. I cannot say much for the phone’s long-term hinge durability however… so the choice is yours.