For a smartphone company that has been focused on the budget and mid-range segment since its inception, it was a big surprise when Tecno went all-in and unveiled its first folding smartphone during MWC 2023. Dubbed the Phantom V Fold 5G, this horizontal folding smartphone is a direct competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold series, and will be made entirely in India. This could be one of the reasons for its highly aggressive price of Rs. 88,888, which is around where we usually find vertically folding or flip smartphones. Tecno recently launched this phone in India, and we got to spend some time with it. Here’s what we think.
It is only natural to draw comparisons with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and looking at its specs, the new Tecno Phantom V Fold 5G is pretty well-equipped. From its flagship-grade 4nm SoC and up to 512GB of storage, to its massive 7.85-inch LTPO AMOLED display, it checks all the important boxes. The phone itself is bulky, just like any other folding phone of this type, and is meant to be used with two hands. It is on the heavier side too. When folded, there’s virtually no visible gap between the two halves, which I quite like. At its thickest point (near the hinge), the Phantom V Fold 5G is still slimmer than the competition at 14.5mm.
The Tecno Phantom V Fold 5G has an aluminium frame. The company has developed a proprietary hinge which it says minimises the crease. This can still be felt if you run your finger across the centre of the folding screen, but it’s is only visible at extreme angles. The outer display also has a gentle curve on one side which is an interesting design choice. The ports and buttons are where you’d expect them to be, and the power button also houses the fingerprint sensor. In my brief time with this phone, its build quality seemed to be decent, although I did notice a bit of play in the hinge when the phone was folded.
The back panel of the Tecno Phantom V Fold 5G’s black variant is made from recycled plastic waste, while the white variant uses an “organic silicon leather” material. There’s a distinctive camera module on the back which includes a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 50-megapixel telephoto camera capable of 2X optical zoom. The selfie camera on the outer screen is a 32-megapixel sensor, while the folding screen gets a 16-megapixel sensor in a hole-punch cutout. The camera app has a lot of extra features to take advantage of the folding screen and we’ll explore all of them in the full review.
The Tecno Phantom V Fold 5G runs HiOS 13 Fold, which is based on Android 13. Tecno says that over 1,000 apps have been optimised to take advantage of the folding display and should work in split-screen and multi-window modes. While the display can stay unfolded at about 90 degrees, I found that it doesn’t hold its position very well if you try to leave it open it at other angles. I’m curious to see how this will affect day to day use and productivity.
The Phantom V Fold lacks wireless charging, but makes up for that with a large 5,000mAh battery and 45W wired charging. According to Tecno, the Phantom V Fold 5G should be able to charge completely in under an hour. Its outer display is a 6.42-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel, while the inside gets a 7.85-inch AMOLED display with a 2K resolution. The Phantom V Fold 5G is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ SoC.
The Tecno Phantom V Fold 5G is the most affordable folding phone of its kind in India at the moment, and that by itself should pique the interest of many who are looking to get their first foldable. The advantages of a horizontal folding phone versus a vertical one are undeniable, and worth considering now that you can get either type for roughly the same price. However, this is Tecno’s first stab at the premium smartphone market in India and it’ll be interesting to see how buyers respond to the Phantom V Fold 5G. We’ll have our full review of this phone ready in due time, so make sure you don’t miss that.