Tecno Phantom X2 for review
Tecno’s roots are in the value-for-money segment, but the company has ambitions to expand into the high-end market with the Phantom sub-brand. The original Phantom X offered a lot for its money, as is typical of Tecno, and had a better screen and camera than any of its siblings.
It also had a few weak points, such as the Helio G95 – an ok mid-range chipset, not so good for the Phantom’s target market. Now the X2 series is here, and it improves on some of those flaws while maintaining its focus on display and camera quality (in fact, there are major improvements here too).
We have already reviewed the X2 Pro, now we have a Tecno Phantom X2 in our hands. The vanilla model which nevertheless shares most of its hardware with the Pro, so if you want an overview of the display, chipset and battery life, check out the Pro review. The main difference between the X2 and the X2 Pro is in the cameras. The vanilla model lacks the large main sensor, but it relies on a better lens and an RGBW sensor to improve its performance. No portrait camera either, that’s exclusive to the Pro.
Looking past the camera, both models have the same dimensions and basically the same design. The way to tell them apart is that the Pro marks its pop-up portrait camera with a decorative ring.
We feel the design will be divisive. The accentuated camera island really catches the eye, good or bad, it’s in the eye of the beholder. We lean towards loving it – it’s unique, it’s symmetrical, there are no ugly labels. We wish the vanilla model had a color other than “grey”, something like the Pro’s Mars Orange. Many will cover the back in a non-transparent case so they don’t have to worry about it, but still.
Phantom X2 Pro (left) and Phantom X2 (right)
While we’re holding the Phantom X2, we notice that Tecno has adjusted the screen aspect ratio from 19.5:9 to 20:9. This reduces the width by a millimeter, which normally makes phones easier to hold. Here, that’s overshadowed by the heaviness of the phone – be careful how you hold it or it might backflip.
Tecno serves markets where a $1,000 flagship won’t sell very well, no matter how great its hardware might be (not that the X2 is cheap, we’ll get to the price). We don’t expect the Phantom X2 to be in every category, but we expected the company’s resource optimization roots to motivate it to keep some practical features on board.
The original X had 256GB of storage and a microSD slot, plus a 3.5mm jack. The Phantom X2 has 256GB of storage and that’s it – no memory card slot, nowhere to plug in your wired headphones (unless you get a USB-C adapter, of course).
The Phantom X2 series ditched the microSD slot and 3.5mm jack
The X2 looks a lot more like a flagship than the original Phantom X. The Dimensity 9000 chipset is a big part of that, the original’s Helio G95 really dragged it down. The X2 is fast and responsive, and the Mali-G710 MC10 GPU can handle serious games.
The first Phantom has exceptional autonomy with a capacity of 4700 mAh, the X2 series increases the battery capacity to 5160 mAh. However, the more powerful hardware also consumes more power – judging by the results of the X2 Pro, the X2 will have great battery life if not as great as the X. The company has also upgraded the system of charging from 30W to 45W, but we didn’t see any real improvement. At least not on our X2 Pro unit, we’ll see if the vanilla X2 fare better.
We have to mention one last thing before we get back to the phone review – the Phantom X2 is priced at SAR 2,700 ($720/€685/₹59,000), although the tech in Saudi Arabia usually costs more than that. elsewhere due to local taxes. Even so, it’s a step up from the Phantom X, which launched in India at ₹26,000.
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