By Samuel Ouga
With the smart phone market heavily dominated by giants like Samsung, Iphone, Nokia and LG, a new entrant has stormed the market with a surprising package equipped with capabilities that ably match its peers.
When one mentions Tecno, what comes to mind is some low end phone from China. With Phantom phones, tech joins the big league.
Phantom A+ Specs:
Tecno’s Phantom A+ comes with a couple of free accessories. The package comes with a screen protector already installed, a free flip case cover, a 2100 mAh Li-ion battery, white earphones, a travel charger and 2 micro USB data cables, a 2200 mAh battery bank that doubles as a torch, a 13 month warranty and the Phantom user manual.
Phantom A+ has a slim 9.1mm design, a 5.0 HD TFT Display, a 1.2Ghz “Quad Core” processor with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of ROM, GPU embedded and an expandable memory of up to 32GB, an 8 Mega pixel rear Camera with Flash and a 1.2 mega pixel front Camera, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, an FM Radio, 3G antenna, A gyro sensor, Light and Proximity Sensor, Dual Sim capabilities and 2100mAh Battery. Phantom A+ runs on android 4.2 Jellybean Operating System. This is impressive and certainly makes Phantom A+ join the table of high end smart phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia 820, iPhone 4S, HTCs, LG and Sony.
Apart from the usual applications like Gmail, Youtube, Maps, Browser, Calculator, Calendar, Notes, Video player, Recorder or FM tuner, Phantom A+ comes with more pre-installed apps like Opera Mini, UC browser, Whats app, Flash share, Torch app, OOBE, Quick Start, Calcare, and a host of Games.
Unique Phantom A+ Applications
OOBE App & the Quick Start App: The OOBE app gives you step by step instructions to help one setup the phone when new. This is essential as not all customers are adept when it comes to setting up devices. The Quick Start app takes one through all the basics and offers phone management tips.
The APK assistant: A mini offline app store with free pre-loaded apps that you can install even without a data connection. Having an offline App store is a huge plus as it saves users data costs.
Calcare App: An app that gives up date details of locations and contacts of all Tecno Calcare centres across Uganda and Africa. These are Techno service centers.
Flash Share: This is a Tecno exclusive app for sharing content between Tecno phones using WI-FI. No data is needed for its operation. With the app one can share folders, documents, MP3 files, videos, pictures and much more.
Asphalt: Good news for gamers. This is a popular game that comes pre-installed.
The slim 9.1mm Phantom A+ smart phone, just like Samsung galaxy S3 and S4, is wrapped in an anti-scratch polycarbonate back, with a look of a metallic finish on the sides. The design features a micro USB charging port and a 3.5mm earphone jack at the top of the device.
Display: 5.0 HD
Phantom has a large 5.0 HD screen. This is great for intensive users for editing documents, web use or watching Movies.
Besides other functions, camera capabilities are one of the critical aspects of a smart phone I look into before delving into my wallet. I will pay a little more for a good photo. Just like the latest iPhone S5 or Samsung galaxy S3, Phantom A+ smart phone comes with an 8 Mega pixel camera equipped with a wide array of functions and modes; a standard DSLR camera capable of taking Multi angles, Panorama and HDR shots with a host of controls allowing you to manipulate Exposure, White balance and ISO.
Its camera has Color effects, multiple preset modes for easy photography, Anti Flicker, Continuous shot, Face detection technology, Face Beauty, a self-timer and an inbuilt photo Editor allowing you to retouch and add flair to your photos. The phantom, however, is not equipped with image stabilization capability or anti shake feature. If you can fail a breathalyzer test chances are high that you might not be able to take great stable shots.
The Phantom has an inbuilt 8GB memory expandable to 32GB. It can play multiple media formats like MP3, AAC, MP4 and AVI on top having an FM radio. These options — as opposed to online music streaming services adopted by other smartphone vendors — are more ideal for Africa where bandwidth is limited. Its radio has an inbuilt recorder that can record a radio show playable later.
One of the most annoying things about smart phones is their terrible battery life. We are forced to walk with bulky chargers in pockets and always on the lookout for power sockets each time we get into restaurant, board room or bar. When Samsung released their Galaxy S4 phones, I raced to an outlet and parted with a handsome amount. It had received great reviews, but the battery was a major put off. Phantom battery, however, is noticeably stronger. At the moment I manage to use my handset for up to 10 hours on 3G and even take longer when not on 3G. The phone comes along with a portable device; “external battery bank” that can be used for charging the phone when the battery dries up. Good innovation.
Phantom A+ has been released in 8 African countries; Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Congo.
The Phantom A+ emerges not as another wanna-be smartphone but one that actually contends against renown heavy weights like the Samsung Galaxy S3, The Lumia 820 and the iPhone 4.
Tecno hired French technology experts who came up with the current sleek design its Phantom smart phones which are surprising much cheaper compared to other smart phones with the same capabilities.
With Phantom smart phones, Tecno has a chance of changing perceptions of many who only associated such phone capabilities with the bigger global brands like Samsung, Nokia and Apple.
The handsets can be found in outlets of major phone dealers across Uganda and Kenya.
After a couple of weeks of usage, I should return to this page with a report on durability and if the functionalities stand up to the hype.