Tecno Mobile keeps connecting the dots. This time they really outdid themselves with the introduction of the Phantom A and Phantom A+ to the Nigerian Market – from all indications – with conversations going on online, what I see during my daily commutes, visit to phone stores, a lot of people are excited about the Tecno Phantm.
What is getting them giddy about the Phantom A+?
First, let me clarify. In an earlier blog post (Read – Tecno Phantom A (F7), Launches in Lagos, Nigeria), I explained the difference between the Phantom A and the Phantom A+. Tecno replaced the Phantom A with the A+. The two major differences between the A and the A+ is that the A+ comes with Jelly Bean Android 4.2 and a Quad-core processor while the A is spotting a Jelly Bean Android 4.1 OS and a Dual-core processor.
The unit for this review is the Tecno Phantom A+
Design and Build
The design of the phone is excellent. It is superb for viewing text, reading of websites/blogs and reading of eBooks. Go ahead install Aldiko Book Reader or Amazon Kindle to test this.
I had previously used Tecno N3, P3 and D3. When I had those phones with me, I relied on SwiftKey from the Google Play Store as the primary keyboard. The Android keyboard that came with those versions of Tecno phones were not user friendly. It is a different ball game on the Phantom A+.
Just like on the Nexus 4, I use the Android Keyboard that comes with the Phantom A+ and I find it to be very sufficient. There’s nothing to complain about.
Although the phone is a 5″, you can comfortably handle it in one hand. The smooth finishing on the back of the phone might the phone a bit slippery while handling and may fall off one’s hand. Never fell with me though but be careful when holding it- you don’t want to end up with a shattered screen.
I confirmed there’s 12+1 month warranty that comes with the Tecno Phantom A+ phone, only that the warranty doesn’t cover screen damages.
At the display front, there’s also a huge spec bump from Tecno. The white background of the Phantom A+ looks like it has some orange colouration. You won’t notice it much until you handle the Phantom A+ side by side with other phones—GALAXY Note 2 or Nexus 4.
When a friend from Finland saw a post I did about the specs, he said; “that’s a lot of Android at £160 EUR [N35,000]”. It is the reason the phone is selling volumes in Nigeria too. Plus the Phantom A+ has a premium feel.
How does the Tecno Phantom A+ fare on a day-to-day use?
The phone has removable battery. The battery life of the Phantom A+ is pretty impressive. I maxed a full day on it even with my excessive use of the web and how I usually push smartphones. To further increase the already impressive battery life of the Phantom A+, Tecno also added a Power Bank that can be used to recharge the phone if the battery is running out while you are out and about. The power bank is small and portable; it can easily fit into your jeans pocket.
The Phantom A+ supports Dual Mini SIMs, and not microSIMs.
The dual Mini SIMs are the original SIMs, the type that works on the classic Nokia 3310. There’s no need to cut your SIM if you haven’t and if you have cut your SIM to micro SIM already, you’ll need a SIM adapter or may be required to do a welcome back/SIM swap to upgrade your SIM to the original size that works with the phone.
I know there are those who never bothered to port from one network to the other due to poor network. All they need was hunt for a cheap DUAL SIM phone in the market. The Phantom A+ is a DUAL SIM phone with a premium feel at an affordable price.
Pictures taken with the 8MP of the phone is pretty decent. You get the best shots during daylight time. You cannot depend on the Camera of the Phantom A+ in low light conditions. The Nokia Lumia 920 is still the undisputed king here, then again why should I be comparing an N80,000 smartphone with a N35,000 smartphone?
Music and storage
The phone has a removable microSD. You can easily move music from your computer to the phone. There doesn’t seem to be a desktop manager for the Phantom A+ like the Samsung Kies for the Samsung.
One of the reasons some people stay away from touchscreen phones is the difficulty in typing on it. I know I complained bitterly about the keyboard on the low range Tecno Android phones – P3, N3 and D3. But I’ll score the implementation of Android Virtual Keyboard on the A+ an 8/10. You don’t need to install a SwiftKey to get a superb typing experience. I did not see a need for the SwiftKey here.
The only annoying thing I found with the virtual keyboard was how the keys were making some funny sounds even when I thought I had disabled them. I eventually found how to disable the touch tome on its keyboards and I was fine.
To disable the clicking sound, simply go to Go to Setting, select Language, Click the setting icon by the right and click Sound on Click Press to un-select it and you are good to go
Almost any smartphone that has Internet access can give you access to FM Radio. Only that with some smartphones, you’ll need an app and Internet access. On the Tecno Phantom A+, you have the FM radio pre-installed. All you have to do is add the antennae [the earphones] and you’re good to go. No need for Internet access. There are still a lot of people that love a phone that comes with the good old FM Radio.
Geeks and hackers are going to miss something about this phone. Unlike the other popular Android phones that are supported by developers who create custom tweaks and custom ROMs to be flashed unto the phone, a search on XDA-developers for custom ROMS for the Techno Phantom A+ is going to yield very few results.
In the past, you won’t see any results. Things are changing and more people are interested in Tecno phones. I searched and Google returned some results of people who already have tutorials on how to root the phone. Rooting a phone isn’t for the faint of hearts and we are not encouraging anyone to do that here. If you want to give it a trial, feel free. Take responsibility, we won’t be responsible for a damaged phone.
I won’t be too surprised if we get a custom CyanogemMod for a Tecno Android phone in the future.
One downside is that those that got the Phantom A are getting a lower spec than those who have the Phantom A+. Also, there is no upgrade path for the Phantom A—no OTA or any other means of upgrading the Android version has been stipulated.
Music sharing and transferring of media
The phone supports Bluetooth and WiFi means of transferring and sharing files. You also have an 8 GB memory card thrown into the bag for extra music and photos.
There are a couple of apps that are pre-installed and ready for use. All the Google Apps are pre-installed plus some apps to get users started. Tecno went a step further to pre-install some apps in the microSD card. Feel free to knock yourself out.
This is especially nice as many of the people who are going to find the Tecno phone an interesting phone won’t frequent Application Stores like the Google Play Store. So, they have a collection of apps to get started with.
You’ll like to know if you can make video chat with it. Sure. You can use WhatsApp, Viber and Skype a few other VOiP apps. The Phantom A+ has a front facing camera that makes the video chat possible. The resolution of the front facing camera is 1.2 MP.
In a conversation with a friend, I was informed of a chat application that enables Tecno users to chat with one another. Further investigation proves that the chat service by Tecno isn’t just for Techo phones, but can be downloaded from the Play Store. I downloaded the app for my Samsung GALAXY Note 2 and it is working perfectly on it. The chat service by a Tecno Mobile company is called PalmChat. Have you heard of PalmChat before?
Two ways you can get more applications into the phone; you either go through Google Play Store or the Installing Assistant manager added by Tecno as mentioned above—where the apps are pre-loaded on the 8 GB microSD card installed.
The sound of the Phantom A+ was compared with the Samsung GALAXY Note 2 I’ve had with me. I found that the sound, though coming from a single speaker placed at the back of the phone, was sufficient when you’re playing song on the phone aloud. You can play your music without using your earphones while doing you laundry.
The screen at 5” is also large enough and perfect to watch movies in transit or while waiting to see the doctor without looking to conspicuous to the people around.
I don’t like the fact that I can’t update the OS Over The Air—OTA—and in Tecno’s office. I am hoping that in the future, Tecno is going to make it possible that one can easily get an updated version of Android without having to move from one phone to the other, as it is in the case of the Phantom A and the Phantom A+
The Tecno Phantom A+ is in a class of its own and if you want a pretty decent phone and do not want to spend more than N40, 000, I’ll recommend you go for it. The things you’ll get in the pack certainly feels much more than the price you are paying for—more like a case of too good to be true.