Tecno Phantom V Flip folded

Tecno Phantom V Flip review: A great mid-range foldable that you can’t buy

The Tecno Phantom V Flip offers a great display and design, if you can get one

Tecno Phantom V Flip folded
Tecno Phantom V Flip review
Bottom Line
The Tecno Phantom V Flip is one of the best-value foldables. It's stunning, with a ton of personality. While its OS, specs, and camera are mid-range, its design and screen are marvelous. It's too bad it's only available in limited markets worldwide.
Pros
Stunning design that's durable and has personality
Beautiful 6.9" 120hz AMOLED display
45W charging with charger included
Perfect for Selfies
Crease is mostly unnoticeable when using it
Includes a nice protective case
Cons
Only 1 SIM slot and no eSIM
No wireless charging
Software can be glitchy and buggy
Lots of confusing add-on features in HiOS
The camera is just okay
Speaker quality is subpar
There is no always-on cover screen
The cover screen is small with limited usability
Face unlock fails a lot
Notifications didn't work well for us
3.9

Flip phones are making a comeback, and while many of us have heard of the Motorola Razr+ and Oppo Find N3 Flip, few have heard of Tecno and their Phantom V Flip.

This 6.9″ flip marvel folds in half, becoming a very pocketable and competitively priced clamshell foldable. While its availability may be limited, as an Asian smartphone manufacturer, Tecno is proving foldables don’t have to come with a premium price tag.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Design

The Tecno Phantom V Flip is a stylish and durable clamshell flip phone. It folds perfectly in half, hiding a large and immersive display. The cover screen is built into a raised camera island and is almost the size of the phone’s front face.

When folded open, the phone is so thin and normal-looking that you can’t tell it’s a flip phone. When closed, the screen is well-protected and becomes highly portable.

Tecno Phantom V Flip with protective case
The Tecno Phantom V Flip has a durable protective case (in purple) and a carrying key ring

The Mystic Dawn Purple model is particularly striking, with a matte plastic shell that has a leather grain finish and two shades of light pastel purple. The metal frame and accents are also purple-hued. The phone comes with a durable protective case (in purple) and includes a carrying keyring. The V Flip is also available in Iconic Black.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Screens

Tecno Phantom V Flip - Main display
The Tecno Phantom V Flip’s main screen is a 6.9-inch FHD+ AMOLED display: it is large, vibrant, and beautiful

The Tecno Phantom V Flip has two screens: a 6.9-inch FHD+ AMOLED foldable display on the inside and a 1.32-inch AMOLED cover display on the outside.

The main display is one of the highlights of this phone: it is large, vibrant, and beautiful. The screen’s height is one of the tallest on the market, and it’s a tad narrower than average.

The 120Hz refresh rate makes the display feel mostly smooth and fluid, with occasional choppiness. The screen, which has rounded corners and a centered hole-punch camera, actually sinks under the bezel, but this has no real effect on the device’s appearance or usability.

The smartphone also has a factory-applied screen protector that’s holding up well for us. The screen is in less danger when you flip the phone closed, so our phone has scratches or scuffs after a few weeks of use.

The crease on the Phantom V Flip is nicely done. It’s mostly invisible at any viewing angle when you’re using the phone. But observers quickly call out the crease since they can see it when it’s at a certain angle. You can feel the crease when scrolling over it with your finger, but it does not affect usability. It’s akin to a camera notch or hole-punch — it’s there, but you don’t think about it.

Tecno Phantom V Flip - Cover display
The Tecno Phantom V Flip has a 1.32-inch AMOLED cover display. While it is fun for selfies, it takes five clicks/swipes to open the camera.

The cover display is small, and we find it to be mostly useless other than telling the time or battery. It looks nice, but it’s limited by its size and software. The cover screen should act as a shortcut to read notifications, check quick stats, or toggle basic commands, but the V Flip requires too many taps and swipes to do anything faster than just opening the phone.

Notifications don’t even display in real-time when received. As of writing, there isn’t an always-on option for the cover screen either. Furthermore, the screen should have been smarter, like showing media controls while listening to music, etc.

The cover display is fun for selfies, but by default, it takes five clicks/swipes to open the camera; there’s no button shortcut either. On a more positive note, the front screen still looks beautiful, and there are some fun personalization options — it’s bright and high resolution, albeit only 60hz.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Usability

Tecno Phantom V Flip folded halfway
A notable benefit of the Phantom V Flip’s fold is being able to prop the phone up on its own for a video call or photo

Unfolded, the Phantom V Flip looks, feels, and works like any other large smartphone. It’s remarkably thin and lightweight. One-handed use can be challenging due to the phone’s height, but there’s a one-handed mode toggle that shrinks the screen a bit.

Ironically, there’s no easy way to turn on one-handed mode with just one hand and no “reachability” feature to pull the screen down. The lock and volume buttons are high up and difficult to reach with one hand. When using the volume buttons as a camera shutter, you may find your hand creeping into the shot, which is annoying.

The Flip phone market is still under development. Still, we noticed a couple of nice benefits with the Tecno Phantom. The main advantage is portability without skimping on screen size, evidenced by the large 6.9″ display and 194 grams weight.

Folded, it feels a bit chunky in-pocket initially, but it’s something you get used to. You can also keep it unfolded in your pocket, which we do occasionally. We also like the extra protection, so keeping something else in the same pocket, like chapstick or a car key, is not as big a deal.

It is very gratifying to snap the phone shut, and it’s an excellent mental way of ending your session and reducing overall screen time. You can easily snap the phone closed with one hand, though it’s harder to open it up with one hand. The only other notable benefit of the fold is being able to prop the phone up on its own for a video call or photo.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Unlocking

The Flip offers both face and finger unlock. The face unlock uses the cameras without more advanced technology like IR. The fingerprint scanner is on the lock button. They both work but aren’t as reliable as we had expected: they’re sometimes lightning-fast, and other times, they take a couple of tries.

Face unlock is spottier than finger unlock. It can fail in good lighting when looking directly at the screen. It doesn’t work with sunglasses, while the iPhone has no problem unlocking with the same glasses.

The fingerprint lock button is very sensitive and will vibrate anytime you touch it, even if you’re just handling the phone, which is frustrating since it regularly tricks us into thinking we have a notification.

Phantom V Flip: OS, specs, and performance

Tecno Phantom V Flip folded
The Tecno Phantom V Flip is reasonably powered and uses a Dimensity 8050 processor with 8GB RAM. You can add another 8GB of “virtual RAM,” which borrows from the 256GB of storage

The Tecno Phantom V Flip runs on HiOS 13.5, Tecno’s custom Android skin based on Android 13. HiOS is beautiful and comes with a ton of features and personalizations, primarily to support the cover and folding screens.

That said, we prefer a more native Android experience. The number of configuration options is overwhelming and confusing. It took us longer than usual to get the phone looking, working, and feeling how we wanted it. Most basic features are intuitive enough, but there are oddities to work through. Thankfully, there’s not a lot of “bloatware” or features that Tecno is forcing on us.

The most frustrating software quirk that we can’t seem to figure out is notifications. Most of the time, when using the phone, it will vibrate but not display the notification as a bubble, despite having banners and all notification settings enabled. There’s another almost comedic bug where the always-on screen doesn’t update the clock; it just displays the time you locked the phone. Hopefully, this is all easily fixable with a software update.

The phone is reasonably powered and uses a MediaTek Dimensity 8050 processor with 8GB RAM. You can add another 8GB of “virtual RAM,” which borrows from the 256GB of storage. The V Flip has a Geekbench 6 single-core score of 1078 and a 3242 multi-core score. It aligns with current mid-range phones or the high-ends from a couple of years ago, like the Samsung S21 or Pixel 7. You’ll notice occasional lag and glitchiness, but it keeps up with lots of usage and multitasking. Some tasks just don’t feel as instant or smooth, though.

The device has dual speakers, one above the camera and the other near the charging port. The speakers don’t sound that great. They are tinny with muddy details, albeit reasonably loud. The speakers are still fine to use, but you’ll notice the lower quality if you’re coming from any mid-range phone. The microphone is very clear and as good as we had expected.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Connectivity

The V Flip has no eSIM, just a single nano-SIM card slot. It does at least support all the standard networking bands, including 5G. Even though we probably won’t see this phone sold in the United States, it works perfectly on T-Mobile’s 5G network, prominently displaying “5G+” in the status bar.

The device has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3, which are both the latest versions. There’s also NFC, but there’s no headphone jack.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Battery

Tecno Phantom V Flip versus iPhone 15 Pro
The Phantom V Flip lasts almost 2 days with light use and optimized battery features. A midday charge might be needed for extended video or gaming. Still, it outlasts the iPhone 15 Pro in similar usage

The Tecno Phantom V Flip has a 4000mAh battery. It has a decent battery capacity for an affordable foldable phone. Still, it is on the lower end of the standard for today’s smartphones. It should easily get you through a full day, even with above-average use, and maybe enough for the next morning.

With light usage and the various battery and performance features, you can stretch battery life to almost two days. You may need a midday charge if you’re watching hours of video or gaming. The phone’s battery outlasts the iPhone 15 Pro with similar usage.

The Phantom V Flip supports 45W fast charging, which is great. We can charge from 0% to 44% in 15 minutes. It takes 30 minutes to hit 75% and 45 minutes to hit 99%: this is close to Tecno’s claims that the V Flip can charge to 50% in 15 minutes and 100% in 45 minutes. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging.

Tecno Phantom V Flip: Camera

Tecno Phantom V Flip camera
The Phantom V Flip has a 32MP front-facing camera that is fairly good. It comes with a 24mm wide-angle lens that offers two zoom levels and an auto-focus

The Tecno Phantom Flip has a dual-lens rear camera system with a 64MP primary sensor and a 13MP 120-degree ultrawide sensor. The main sensor has a large aperture of f/1.7, which should be good enough for taking photos in low-light conditions.

Despite good tech and features, the camera is just okay in all respects. It usually takes pleasant photos, and there’s a lot of optionality around shooting. Still, no photo or video compares to our iPhone 15 Pro in a head-to-head test.

The images taken with the V Flip are usually soft in colors and detail. The photos sometimes struggle with glare from the sun and lose details in the edges and corners. We removed the default AI color-enhancer feature since the photos turn out to be unrealistic and sometimes cartoonish. We also turned off some AI beauty and makeup features for the same reason.

The Phantom V Flip has a 32MP front-facing camera that is fairly good. It comes with a 24mm wide-angle lens that offers two zoom levels and an auto-focus.

This phone is ideal for selfies, as there are a few options. You can use the cover screen to take an even better selfie with the main cameras. Using a flash while taking a selfie isn’t always the best, but that’s an option with the main camera.

You can also fold the phone 90 degrees and set it on the table to take a photo without needing to hold it. You can use a timer, voice, hand gesture, or even a smile to take the photo automatically. The 90-degree fold that allows the Flip to sit upright is also great for video calls.

Tecno Phantom V Flip review: Final thoughts

Flip phones are making a comeback whether you like them or not. Tecno is one of the first companies to release a flip phone without the premium price tag. It’s a great way to have a very large phone while still maintaining portability.

Besides the beautiful large screen, the stunning design, and the nice but limited cover screen, the Tecno Phantom V is a solid mid-range phone that sports a mediocre camera, a well-featured but buggy OS, and a very reasonable price tag.

Despite working perfectly in the US, the Tecno Phantom V is currently only available in limited markets. On Amazon India, it’s now on sale for ₹54,999 (from ₹71,999): this is $659 US dollars and $863 retail.

If you’re looking for an affordable, mid-range flip phone that’s available for purchase in the U.S., we recommend checking out the Motorola Razr 2023 which retails from $499 to $699.

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