Fantastic Low-Light Camera and Stunning Performance


Despite some initial skepticism about the folding screen concept, the device’s innovative hinge system and gorgeous 7.85-inch AMOLED almost square screen has won over even this most cynical of reviewers. The camera system is impressive too, with the main Super Night sensor offering incredible clarity in low light. The Dimensity 9000+ chip outperforms folding competitors that use the Snapdragon counterpart, providing a smooth UI and productive experience.


  • 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
Buy This Product

I admit, I’ve been somewhat bemused by the very concept of a folding phone. Are phone screens suddenly not big enough? Do we really want to introduce yet another failure point on already fragile devices? Does no one remember bend-gate?!

Which is why, after a week with the Tecno Phantom V Fold, I’m quite shocked to find I actually want to keep using it as my main phone. That isn’t something this Apple-fanboy has experienced before. Now I’m a believer. It’s not perfect by any means, and I do have my doubts about the long-term durability, but for now, this changes everything. And the low-light camera system is superb, too.

Tecno is not a well-known brand to most Western audiences, but is big in developing markets such as Africa, India, and South Asia. But perhaps that’s about to change. The Phantom V Fold is launching in India first, with an early price of just under $1000, but will come to other markets with similar pricing soon after.

The Fold

There are some durability concerns with a folding screen, and if you tried, it would be easy to break the device deliberately. 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.

When folded, it just feels like a somewhat chunky regular smartphone. Unlike the Samsung Fold, there’s no cheese wedge shape in between the panels, with an innovative hinge system to protect the screen and allow it to sit flush. It’s quite a stiff mechanism, and requires a fair bit of force to unfold, but you get used to it. So far, I haven’t experienced any physical issues or delamination of the screen.

tecno phantom v fold - featured-1

Once unfolded, you’re presented with a glorious 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. It’s gorgeous and vibrant, though I did find it a little harder to read from this screen in bright light.

The flexible display, to my surprise, doesn’t exhibit any screen artifacts when viewed straight on. Move closer to a 45-degree viewing angle, and an apparent dark and light line runs the full length of the fold. While I haven’t got another foldable phone to compare, I don’t think that’s unusual. I noticed this more if it was just sitting on the table, but if you have it propped up, or looking straight on, there’s no distortion.

tecno phantom v fold - fold reflection

The laminate layer that protects the screens is very reflective, though, so usage in bright sunlight is quite tricky. If you catch any kind of reflection on the screen, you will notice a distortion of the reflection, but not of the display image, which can be unnerving for my smooth brain to comprehend. 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 a bit weird.

tecno phantom v fold - wince fold

The screen remains visible right up until the moment it closes, which I still find myself wincing at every time.

It’s natural to have concerns about the long-term durability of folding screens, which unfortunately can’t be tested over the few weeks I’ve had the device. However, Tecno claims that it can withstand 200,000 folds, which, if we conservatively estimate around 20 folds a day (40 if we count a fold as one way only)—should last roughly 13 years. So my fears may be entirely unwarranted.

The most surprising thing about a foldable screen for me was how much better it made typing feel. Sure, it’s just the same as turning a regular phone into landscape mode to get a wider keyboard. But you’re lucky to get more than a single line of editable text visible if you do that. With the square format of a folding phone, it’s actually viable to type on a wide keyboard and have a good amount of screen real-estate left. That’s a real boon for mobile productivity.

For watching videos, most of the time, you’ll get a larger image on the unfolded screen. The exception is if you’re watching a cinema-format movie with a 21:9 aspect ratio, for which you’ll get massive letterboxing on the unfolded square screen. On the other hand, most YouTube videos and modern TV shows are 16:9 ratio; older shows are even squarer at 4:3. Either will be significantly larger on the almost-square unfolded screen.

tecno phantom v fold - media watching 43 ratio

For browsing the web and reading documents, the square format is ideal. Not every app will take advantage of the full screen though. Google Discover feed, for instance, displays only a single column, rather than scaling to show two columns at once as it can on tablets.

tecno phantom v fold - call of duty

As for gaming, I tried playing Call of Duty, which utilized the full screen, and seemingly offered an enormous advantage by expanding my vertical field of view. I don’t play Call of Duty on mobile regularly, and it was only early levels, but in the first few games, I was getting two to three times more kills than the next-highest player. It felt like cheating, and I think a lot of players couldn’t see me if I was higher up or crouching.

Design and Specifications

When folded up, the Tecno Phantom V Fold features a power button with built-in fingerprint sensor and volume rocker on the side, both on the lower panel.

tecno phantom v fold - side panel

The USB-C charging port is also on the lower bottom panel, with the bottom speaker grill and the sim tray on the upper panel, which can hold up to two Nano SIMs, and is capable of 5G.

tecno phantom v fold - top

On the top edge, the microphone sits on the lower panel, while above that is the other speaker grill. This provides stereo sound when the phone is held horizontally, either folded or unfolded.

On the back of the device, you’ll find the circular camera island, small silver Phantom branding, and a back panel covered in fibrous textured material. Although it’s unclear exactly what material it is (some sort of recycled plastic?), it feels surprisingly nice and warm compared to the usual bare metal. There’s a basic slimline case included in the package.

tecno phantom v fold - rear panel

The front or sub-screen is a curved 6.42″ Full HD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2550px (431PPI). The screen is also adaptive LTPO, with a 10-120Hz refresh rate, and is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus (twice as scratch-resistant as Gorilla Glass 6, apparently). Although the glass is curved, the screen itself doesn’t follow the curve over the edge, with only a millimeter or two of bezels on both the sub and main unfolded screen.

tecno phantom v fold - main screen

With the included slimline case, the Tecno Phantom V Fold is roughly 14.5mm thick, 160mm tall, and 72mm wide. When unfolded, the phone expands to 140mm wide. Although it’s not quite twice the thickness of a regular smartphone, it’s not far off.

tecno phantom v fold - size comparison

The Phantom V Fold is powered by a Dimensity 9000+ chip, which is very performant, backed up by 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. A 512GB model is also planned for around $100 more.

Performance and Benchmarking

The graphical performance of the Tecno Phantom V Fold is excellent, as evidenced by its 3D Mark Wildlife score of 8226, which is better than 93% of all devices tested. The stress test suffered a little from thermal throttling, resulting in a slightly lower loop score of 7885, but still maintained a superb 97% stability overall.

In comparison, the Samsung Z Fold 4, which features a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, scored a little higher at approximately 9600 on Wildlife, but had a stability of only around 60% in stress testing. Therefore, while the Dimensity 9000+ chip may have a slightly less powerful GPU, it is far more reliable over long periods of extended gaming.

PCMark gave the Tecno Phantom V Fold a respectable Work 3.0 score of 16,175, while Storage 2.0 was 44,645. By contrast, these scores significantly outperform both the Samsung Z Fold 4 and the recent Honor Fold V (which uses the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1) by about 20% to 30%. Thus, while the Dimensity 9000+ GPU may be slightly less powerful, the overall performance is significantly better.

Users should not experience any issues with a sluggish UI or gaming. Browsing is fast, and video playback is smooth.

For those who want more comparisons, Geekbench gave 1262 single core, 4008 multicore, and 9052 GPU compute scores.

Imaging System

Another surprising standout feature of the Tecno Phantom V Fold is the camera system, featuring 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.

tecno phantom v fold vs iphone video night-1

While the secondary telephoto and ultra-wide lenses are not particularly remarkable (nor are they bad, by any means), the main sensor is stunningly good and performs far better in low light than my main driver, the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

In low light, the Phantom V Fold’s main camera outperformed the iPhone 13 Pro Max in both video and photography, producing stunningly sharp and detailed images and footage with great contrast. The Phantom V Fold features a couple of different night-mode video shooting options, included standard (a little shakey), Super Stabilized (much better, though you lose a little field-of-view), and Ultimate Video Enhancer (which just seemed to make things brighter). Be sure to watch the full review video to see this in action.

In outdoor daytime shooting, the Phantom V Fold performed admirably as well, producing sharp, realistic images and video at full 4K 60FPS. The difference in quality here from the iPhone was less pronounced if any. Both produced satisfying video at the required frame rate and resolution, as I’d expect from any modern smartphone sensor in good light.

tecno phantom v fold - preview selfie

One neat feature unique to having a folding screen allows for ultra-high-quality selfies using the main camera, with the front sub-screen serving as a preview. That said, I did find pressing the shutter button one-handed to be a bit awkward like this.

The camera app also includes some easy-to-use templates for short, beat-matched TikTok-style videos with music, which some might appreciate when their creativity is waning.

Overall, the camera system on the Tecno Phantom V Fold is superb, and it’s great to see a folding phone with such a good camera to back up its innovative design.

Battery Life

There are few disappointing aspects of the Phantom V Fold, but one of them is the battery. On paper, it sounds large at 5000mAh, but in any smartphone, the screen will be the biggest drain on the battery. If you unfold this, you’ve got a screen that’s twice as large as usual, but not a battery that’s necessarily twice as large. So, inevitably, battery life suffers.

With heavy use of the camera, playing Call of Duty, and running some tests, the battery went from full to almost nothing before the end of the day. In real-world normal usage, it lasts just over a day, but certainly not two days. Now, this isn’t bad for a folding phone by any means, but coming from a Plus Model iPhone, it’s a bit less than I’d like. It means a return to the overnight charge routine for me.


The audio is unimpressive, though it gets reasonably loud. If you’re watching landscape mode on the main screen, you get stereo output, but I often found myself often covering up the speaker grills with my fingers. I wouldn’t say the audio is disappointing; they’re just not as good as they might have been, and media playback is not the main selling point of this device. It’s not as good as the Honor V’s with its IMAX certification, for instance.

User Interface

The UI is a custom version of Android 13 called HiOS 13 Fold. I understand the need for a custom UI given the non-standard interface size and additional features like two apps running side by side. But I’m not a fan of some of the things HiOS has replaced. I’m quite used to swiping left for Google Discover feed, for instance, and you can’t get that here. Granted, it’s only one click away on the Google icon, but instead, you have a screen “info cards”, such as the number of steps or a countdown to important holidays. The rest of the card options aren’t exactly thrilling, so for me, this part of the UI is now useless and can’t be replaced easily.

There’s also a fair bit of bloatware installed with the phone, from system support apps to management utilities, RAM cleaners, a video player, WPS office, and some fitness thing. All I really want is a standard suite of Google apps and the Play Store. You need to go in and enable Hey Google voice assistant; it’s not on by default, presumably because they want you to use their voice assistant instead. Other aspects can’t be changed, like the Google Discover feed.

I can uninstall most of the bloatware and eventually get it set it up as I like. I’d probably hate the Samsung Fold UI just as much, if not more. But still, it would be nice to have a more stock experience and not have to customize so much.

So, Is the Tecno Phantom V Fold a Game-Changer?

For me, it certainly has been. I’ve switched to this as my main phone, which is the highest praise I can give any device. Despite initial skepticism about the folding screen concept, the device’s innovative hinge system and gorgeous 7.85-inch AMOLED, almost square screen has won over even this most cynical of reviewers.

The camera system, featuring five lenses, is especially impressive, with the main Super Night sensor offering incredible clarity in low light. The Dimensity 9000+ chip allows it to outperform its counterparts with general UI and work performance.

The battery life is less than I’d like, but only having been spoiled on a Plus-model iPhone for so long. The UI may be frustrating for those looking for a more stock experience, but it’s not so bad as to seriously detract from the overall experience.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold is an excellent device for anyone looking for a unique and innovative smartphone experience. Just be prepared to gamble on the device’s long-term durability.


Source link

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: