Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
  • Tecno launched their first foldable device the Phantom V Fold recently
  • The foldable smartphone is powered by Mediatek Dimensity 9000+ SoC
  • It is the most affordable foldable smartphone starting at the price of ₹88,888
The ever expanding world of smartphones went into a folding spree a couple of years ago with the first Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. Since then, we have witnessed with fascination how far this technology has come. For that matter, Samsung itself has launched the 4th generation Galaxy Z Fold and Flip. And, the competition has caught up with the latest Oppo Find N2 Flip and of course the Moto Razr. While the flip variants of foldable smartphones are comparatively affordable, it's the book style foldables that are priced beyond measure. This mold seems to be finally broken by Tecno, a brand with a tight grip on budget customers. As part of their flagship moniker Phantom, the V Fold is the most affordable book style folding smartphone today. But can it stand against the heavy weights of the world? And are there any compromises? I will tell you in my full review.

Price & Availability
Tecno Phantom V Fold is available only in one variant, that features 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The variant is priced at ₹88,888. You can buy the device from Amazon.

Design & Hinge
Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
The Phantom V Fold looks premium with the textured back

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Tecno’s attempt at creating their first foldable device sees the brand going all-in on the design, especially the fit and finish. Yes, it is the most affordable foldable smartphone, but in terms of execution, I give full marks to the brand. The Phantom V Fold is a chunky device, and definitely heavier than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. I am taking the Z Fold 4 in the account here, since they share the same form factor.

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
When folded the device is chunky.

In its unfolded avatar, the V Fold, is a brick, which has a prominent appearance. I have had multiple people come up to me and ask about the device. While most people were in awe, there was one common observation - the weight. I definitely resonate with the reaction. While the chunky folded appearance does add to the character, I wish Tecno could have handled the weight well.

After a long day of usage, my hand was tired of lifting the device, making it obvious that it is not for people with petite hands. The chunky design also makes it a bit difficult to carry it around in your pockets. Yes, the fascination around foldables sometimes blinds us from everyday useability.

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
The folding mechanism is rock solid.

However, this struggle is completely justified when you unfold the device and are introduced to the massive inner display. I will cover that in the next section for now let’s focus on the execution.

Tecno has managed to pull off the hinge really well. For the fact that it completely closes down, leaving no visible gap between the two sides. When you unfold the device, there is just the right amount of tension to unfold it. It still requires two hands, but it’s a smooth operation. The hinge also feels very sturdy and so far, I haven’t felt any wobbling. But yes, it's not perfect. Unlike the Z Fold 4, I wasn’t too comfortable putting the inner display in a clamshell mode. Mostly because I had to find a perfect angle to get it right. This might not seem like a big deal, but having experienced the Z Fold 4, I can say it does help. The most common use case being placing the device on the table while watching a video.
Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
The camera bump is very prominent on the Phantom V Fold.

Tecno has tried to address this situation by adding a cover in the box. The cover has a stand on the back, which can be pulled out to place the device.

Once you unfold the device, holding it becomes far more easier and convenient. The weight distribution when unfolded also encourages you to convert it more often.

While the experience of watching content on the main display will be covered in the next section. I want to mention here, that the crease on the V Fold is surprisingly minimal, and definitely less noticeable than the competition.

In a folding smartphone, the placement of other elements also matters a lot. As one would expect we have the fingerprint sensor and volume rockers placed on the right. While the fingerprint sensor is snappy, to both register and unlock the device, I have accidentally rubbed my fingers against it countless times. With the haptic feedback in place, the smartphone vibrates every time. This tends to get annoying after a while. That being said, the fit and finish of the buttons here is also impressive, and I have no complaints there.

The back of the V Fold is textured and looks premium as well. The textured back also helps us to maintain a better grip around the device. Important considering the weight we are dealing with here.

On top we also have a prominent camera module, housing the three camera sensors. While it does take a certain amount of real estate, it’s not protruding out of proportion.

At the bottom we have the speaker grills, along with the SIM card tray. You can use up to 2 nano SIMs on the Phantom V Fold.

Overall, the design and execution for the Phantom V Fold is commendable. This can also be attributed to the fact that a lot of homework has already been done by the market. Not taking away from the feet,it will be interesting to see how they can improve upon it in the future.

I have also visited the factory where the V Fold is being assembled, you can check out the video here.

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
The inner display is beautiful to look and is well optimised.

By virtue of being a foldable device, the V Fold features 2 displays. The cover display here is a 6.42-inch LTPO OLED display with a 1080x2550 pixel resolution. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.

The cover display on the Phantom V Fold is not only respectably taller but also broad enough for you to work around. This is an issue that plagued the first few Galaxy Z Fold devices, but Tecno has gotten it right in the first go. The cover display is optimally bright at 1100 nits and encourages you to use it actively.

In my one week of usage, I have used the cover display 90% of the time. Switching to the main display if I was dedicatedly watching a feature film or playing games.

For casually watching Youtube videos or browsing social media feeds like Instagram, the cover display is more convenient. Just like the main display, the cover display also supports auto-switch on refresh rate, which holds up well. The only time it lagged was when I switched from a web page to a game like Temple Run.

The display also supports an always on feature which is really bright and you can look at it under direct sunlight as well. It’s also customisable, with themes and color options for text. However they are lesser than what we see on Galaxy Z Flip devices, especially in terms of animations.

While the outer display is useful by itself, I have to mention a downside here - the weight. The Phantom V Fold is a chunky device, which gets uncomfortable to hold. I am not exaggerating when I say that my hand gets tired using the Phantom V Fold for long durations. Hence, I would suggest anyone buying the device to physically experience it once before investing in it.

Moving to the main event here, the inner display. This is a 7.85-inch LTPO AMOLED display with a resolution of 2296x2000 pixels. As you unfold a device, you generally expect wow factor from the device, and the V Fold delivers just that.

Getting greeted by the huge inner display is joyful especially with the thin bezels surrounding it providing you a respectable screen size. As I mentioned above, I have relied on the main display for watching feature length films and gaming. My experience for both has been satisfactory.

Even though the display doesn’t support Dolby vision an HDR10+ certification, the content here bounces off and looks great. I have been watching Mandalorian lately on Disney+ Hotstar, a show combining VFX with real life set pieces. Set deep in space it also gives a good platform to judge the black levels of the display. Tecno Phantom V Fold has turned out to be a great device to watch the show, the huge canvas combined with the dual speaker set-up helps to elevate the experience.

Phantom V Fold’s crease is also minimal, and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. You can’t see it off the bat, and it makes its presence felt only when you run your finger through it.

That being said, every content is not optimized for foldables just yet. So, when you watch content made in 16:9 format, there will be huge black voids on top and bottom. This can be off putting, but this applies to the Z Fold 4 as well.

Tecno has provided some options for the better utilization of the inner display. Like split screen and multi-window. All of which have worked well so far. Especially the split screen since it democratizes the choice applications you want to use together. I have been spoiled now with the combinations of Instagram and Youtube or Youtube and Twitter or Twitter and Instagram. And if that’s not enough, floating windows can let you pin a third application on top. I won’t suggest doing that since it becomes cluttered and I started to notice a lag in response to prolonged usage.

Another area where I noticed a botch was when I switched back to the inner display mid browsing. The device takes a good second to show up the content on the cover display. During this time it goes black, and sometimes shows the content out of proportion.

We don’t have a taskbar here unlike the Z Fold 4, a feature that elevates the useability of a bigger display. A hack around it is to set-up widgets on screen for your most used apps.

But what’s beyond that? Can we use the inner display for everyday tasks? Yes and No. Yes, because it does work well with social media and web browsers. I have been reading a lot on the Phantom V Fold, and the web page orientation helps to experience it better. Another area where it stands out are maps. You can set-up your location and the bigger display comes in handy to navigate better.

Downside to the inner display are the common problems we face with foldables. Majorly typing, like every foldable the V Fold also splits the keyboard in half. It’s been a week and I am still not up to my regular typing speed with the inner display.


Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
Software for the Phantom V Fold is optimised and easy to understand.

Tecno Phantom V Fold runs on Android 13 out of the box which is paired with Tecno’s own HiOS skin. In the past HiOS has generally been heavy on bloatware. Something I have been forgiving of considering the price point those devices were offered at.

But the V Fold is a different animal altogether, and Tecno understood the task. The device is free of bloatware. Barring Tecno’s own applications, we don’t see any short form video apps my eyes are accustomed to seeing now.

I believe in order for any smartphone to be taken seriously as a flagship, the software needs to be clean. So, the V Fold gets full marks here.

But is the HiOS optimized enough to handle a foldable device? For the most part, yes. At least virtually on the surface, the skin works fairly well, retaining its strengths in aesthetics and customisation. For a first time buyer, the customisation options available here will be overwhelming especially in terms of wallpapers.

The widgets for native apps are also well customized. My favorite are calendar and email widgets, both of which are well optimized, and help in productivity.

But there are some downsides to the UI experience. For starters the lag that I mentioned in the display section. Where in the UI takes a second to readjust and sometimes misses the proportion of the content when switching between the two displays.

Another point that troubled me was the missing Google explore feed we generally get when we swipe left on the home screen. Here Tecno has provided the Zero screen that provides step counter and screen on time.

While these two issues are something you should be mindful of, they are not hindering the overall experience of using the device.

Still, I believe the OS can be optimized further to tap the potential of the infrastructure here, like we see on the Z Fold 4.

Tecno Phantom V Fold is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ SoC, which if we go by numbers is a previous gen processor. Considering we already have the Dimensity 9200 in the market. This doesn’t make the 9000+ any less productive though, and I can vouch for it after using the device for a week.

I want to start with the most demanding task - gaming. I have been playing COD: Mobile on the Phantom V Fold for the last 1 week, with an average session lasting 1 hour. During my session, I had maximized the graphic settings, and the device didn’t budge. The frame rates were well maintained, with zero lags during my testing.

While the gaming experience was top-notch, it’s the heating that bothered me. For the size of the V Fold I felt, the heat management is not sufficient. Especially when you do graphic intensive gaming, like COD:Mobile or Genshin Impact. The temperatures can be uncomforting and you will be forced to take a break. This implies for both inner and cover display output.

For generic everyday tasks, V Fold retains the output levels without the heating issues. RAM management is top notch and the device can retain applications for longer spells of time sometimes up to a day.

The variant with me packs in 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, which is sufficient for the majority of the users. We also have an option for RAM expansion, something I couldn’t find a use case for.

I did run a Geekbench 6 CPU benchmark test on the Phantom V Fold. The single-core score is 1238 while the multi-core score is 3366. The numbers are a bit underwhelming when we put them against other flagships, but in real terms the performance is satisfactory.

The Phantom V Fold packs in a 5000 mAh battery that works well in sync with the software on board. I have been averaging out on 6 hours of screen time on the V Fold. This is with a clean 50-50 split usage between the cover and inner display.

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
Multiple orientations of the frame - camera holds focus well.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold comes with a triple camera set-up on the back. The primary sensor is a 50MP shooter which is paired with a 50MP telephoto sensor and a 13MP ultra-wide sensor. As you can see in the selection of these sensors, they are truly serving a dedicated purpose, and succeed in delivering results.

I want to start with the 50MP primary sensor, which has surprised me the most. The sensor captures accurate colors, and detail, even for point and shoot images. In the image below I observed, the maroon of the T-shirt is well differentiated with the reds in the background. The HDR performance is also spot-on with the background of the sky and foreground of the trees being well differentiated. The camera does take a hit when the light is a bit underwhelming, yet the results are respectable and I can put them at par with Samsung Galaxy S23.

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
The details from the primary camera are top-notch.

The telephoto sensor is also a surprise package. In the collage below made from different Zoom settings, I observed the details the camera was able to maintain. Only changing the color tone to a slightly lighter tone in the 20X zoom.
Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
Edge detection for portrait shots is accurate.

It’s the portrait mode that has disappointed me though. In the image below I observed the edge detection was completely off, with the subject and its surroundings in focus. I expected better from the device.

Video situation is favorable, the camera can record 4K videos up to 60fps. Even without optical image stabilization the camera can hold well. However, shooting in 4K means heavy video files and a warmer device. So I would suggest sticking to 1080P videos which is the sweet spot.

The camera app has also been optimized for the inner display. Unfolding the smartphone will split half the screen into the gallery and rest into the camera app if you wish to. However, where the optimisation has truly stood out is the selfie situation here.

There are three ways you can take a selfie on the Phantom V Fold. You can take it with the 32MP selfie camera on the cover display or you can use the 16MP internal selfie camera or just use the primary camera to click images.

The 32MP cover display sensor is the most convenient to use and delivers crisp images, this is also the one I would recommend for video calls.

Tecno Phantom V Fold Review - Affordable Foldable device with minor compromises
The selfie camera on the outer display performs better.

The 16MP sensor on the inner display is underwhelming and delivers undersaturated images. Also, unlike the Z Fold 4, the selfie camera is a visible punch hole, and isn’t hidden under the display.

Then of course you can click selfies from the primary camera itself, however I suggest making videos with it instead. If you are a content creator, then the giant outer display will help you set frames and capture great footage. The audio recorded from the V Fold is also satisfactory.

Tecno Phantom V Fold is a brave attempt on the folding smartphone segment, with the brand succeeding for the most part. However, it’s not just the hardware that makes a foldable great, but more importantly the software that pushes the boundary. Tecno has got the hardware right, but the OS can be worked on further.

That being said, at this price point the Phantom V Fold is the most value for money deal. So, if you are not brand conscious and want a proper folding smartphone experience, you should check out the V Fold.