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The TECNO PHANTOM V Fold is the foldable phone we need right now
TECNO is offering one of the most competitive tablet-sized foldable phones yet
The TECNO PHANTOM V Fold was one of the biggest surprises at MWC 2023 because while it rivals other tablet-sized foldable smartphones I’ve tested, both in size and performance, it has a shockingly reasonable launch price by a wide margin. In fact, nothing else currently comes close.
This story was developed in partnership with TECNO, which provided a smartphone review unit and helped cover the cost of my attendance at MWC. Our editorial opinion about the products mentioned remains just that – ours.
As you may have seen, the TECNO PHANTOM V Fold won The Shortcut MWC Award for the Best Value Smartphone in Barcelona thanks to its compelling launch price that starts at 89,999 INR (or $1,099 USD) for 12GB+256GB. There’s also a version with the same RAM but 512GB of internal storage at 99,999 INR/ $1,222 USD.
That undercuts the price of the Honor Magic Vs, also announced at MWC, by a wide margin. Most surprisingly, TECNO is offering similar flagship dimensions, chiefly a 7.85-inch 120Hz tablet-sized display that folds in half with no gap. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, now seven months old, still has a noticeable gap when it is folded in half, an annoyance that a lot of people can’t stand.
The specs here are worth a deeper dive. The TECNO PHANTOM V Fold continues to be competitive in unique ways when you compare it to similarly foldable phones: it has a sizable 6.4-inch cover screen on the outside when closed, a 50MP camera on the back and a 5,000mAh battery inside. I’m currently in the middle of testing the performance and putting my sample through its paces, but the high-level specs are as follows:
TECNO Phantom V Fold specs
💰 12GB+256GB: 89,999 INR/ $1,099 USD
💰 12GB+512GB: 99,999 INR/ $1,222 USD
📺 Screen: 7.85-inch / 6.42-inch LTPO AMOLED
💡 1,100nits (peak)
🖥️ Resolution: 2,000 x 2,296 (inner) / 1080 x 2550 (outer)
⏩ Refresh rate: 120Hz
🪨 Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
📸 50MP main camera
📸 13MP ultrawide camera (120-degree field of view)
📸 50MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom
🤳 32MP selfie camera / 16MP inner camera
⚙️ Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 9000+
🐏 RAM: 12GB
🗄️ Storage: 256GB / 512GB (UFS 3.1)
🔋 Battery: 5,000mAh
🔒 Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
🔌 45W fast charging
⚖️ Weight: 299g
🌈 Colors: Black, White
🤖 Android 13 with HiOS 13 Fold
On paper, the specs deliver, with that MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ that’s highly comparable to the 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset seen in a lot of recent Android smartphones in 2022. Having a choice between 256GB or 512GB of storage while also receiving 12GB of RAM, makes this device more than enough to meet the needs of most consumers. And, the same can be said about the 5,000mAh battery, which actually beats out Samsung’s current foldable in terms of capacity. However, I’m still testing it to see how that plays out in real-world scenarios.
There are a total of five cameras on the TECNO PHANTOM V Fold: three on the back – a 50MP main camera, 50MP telephoto camera with a 2x zoom and 13MP ultrawide camera – while the cover display and inner display have a 32MP camera and a 16MP camera, respectively. There’s no shortage of ways to take photos, but I’ve yet to completely dig into the photography software.
It’s worth noting that the PHANTOM series is TECNO’s flagship, premium-level brand which shows in its commitment to delivering such solid specs within very compelling hardware designs. In December, the brand introduced the PHANTOM X2 Pro, which has the world’s first retractable portrait lens comparable to a professional camera, designed for portrait photo fanatics who want true bokeh. I also partnered with the brand last fall to review and participate in the launch of the TECNO Camon 19 Pro, which also impressed me with its photography skills at such a reasonable price for a mid-range phone.
But, TECNO isn’t pulling this off alone. Interestingly enough, I heard some familiar names when I attended the MWC press conference where the PHANTOM V Fold was announced. The company has a number of well-known partners who supported the delivery of this foldable phone. MediaTek executive Finbarr Moynihan was on stage to discuss the chipset maker’s intentional collaboration with TECNO and the strength of the chipset that was selected to help manufacture this device.
Furthermore, I learned that the brand is working with another MWC-award winner, TCL CSOT, which designed and delivered the foldable screen that makes the TECNO PHANTOM V Fold possible. I’ve covered TCL regularly due to their popularity in the US, and I was always impressed with the value brands’ TV quality and the innovative display technology they are bringing to smartphones and VR devices. With powerful partners that are already delivering their own high-end solutions at competitive prices, TECNO is certainly leading the way in making premium, futuristic devices more affordable.
It makes even more sense when you consider the fact that a majority of TECNO’s customers are in Africa, or other regions like the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Latin America, where affordable Android phones are more readily accessible. In these markets, price is a major factor when it comes to consumer decision-making. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the PHANTOM V Fold will come to the US anytime soon, but it does put more pressure on American mobile manufacturers to deliver their own compelling foldable devices. Apple and Samsung can only stay in the lead for so long, when companies like TECNO, OnePlus and Realme are bringing such creative, cutting-edge devices to market in order to close the gap.
I’m still spending time getting to know the TECNO PHANTOM V Fold. However, I think the biggest draw for the TECNO PHANTOM V Fold is that it’s going to be the easiest way for smartphone consumers to buy into the foldable phone craze for the first time.
I love tablet-sized foldable phones so much: they offer a huge canvas for creativity, productivity and gaming
That 7.85-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate is why I love tablet-sized foldable phones so much: it’s a huge canvas for creativity, productivity and gaming. Having the benefit of a big screen that can fold up and be stuck in your pocket is invaluable and having a new entry at a reasonable price is the type of milestone the tech industry needs right now.