A Smart phone with a retractable portrait camera is unusual, but it’s one of the Tecno Phantom X2 Pro’s distinguishing features.
If you’ve never heard of Tecno or the Phantom series, you’re not alone, particularly in North America. I count myself among them, and I went into this review with no prior knowledge of what the brand had done. So it was a clean slate here, which made it all the more interesting to see how the Phantom X2 Pro compares to the competition.
This phone does things differently, and in unexpected ways. Depending on how you look at it, this could be a good or bad thing.
The Phantom X2 Pro is marketed by Tecno with a focus on its photography potential, not only because of the mechanical portrait lens, but also because of the software that is integrated with the entire array. In addition, the Chinese company recently dethroned Samsung as the top phone brand in Africa, and it plans to expand its presence in India, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.
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I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a phone with a back made of recycled ocean plastic, but I like the concept and hope to see more of it. The visual treatment of phones that few see on this side of the pond is often what stands out.
This is made clear by the Mars Orange variant, which stands out in any group of phones that aren’t wearing a case. My review unit was the much more subdued Stardust Grey, which is nearly black.
The rear camera array is a showpiece in and of itself, with two lenses that appear to be ready to burst out of the back panel — partly by design, given that the portrait lens already does this.
It’s a big phone by any standard, and it’s noticeably heavier than comparable models, despite having a relatively slim profile. The 6.8-inch AMOLED (2,400 by 1,080 pixels) display has a 20:9 aspect ratio and a refresh rate of 120Hz. You get 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but you can’t expand it because there’s no microSD card slot.
The MediaTek Density 9000 processor is meant to be a high-end alternative to the best Snapdragon chipset, and while it’s quick, it won’t outperform the kind of performance we’ve seen in phones powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. That chip won’t be the new kid on the block in 2023, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to say this Tecno flagship is always playing catch-up.
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