Tecno's Phantom V Fold Smartphone Shows That Little Brands Can Hit Big Too

Of late, Chinese smartphone brands have been quite aggressive with plans for their foldable smartphones. In fact, there has been a flurry of activity in this space with companies like Oppo, Honor, and Motorola (which is owned by Lenovo and therefore is Chinese) making several announcements in this regard. Oppo, for example, recently announced the international launch of its Find N2 lineup, and Honor did the same with its Magic Vs foldable smartphone. OnePlus has already confirmed plans for its foldable smartphones in the second half of 2023, and Motorola is also pressing ahead with similar plans.

While these well-known companies have been perfecting their foldable smartphone game before going up against Samsung, almost no one expected Tecno, a little-known company from China, to do the same. Tecno might not be a familiar brand in the West, but the company has had modest success in emerging markets like India, South East Asia, and, particularly, several African countries. The company, along with its sister brand iTel, is so focused on these markets it doesn't even sell its smartphones in its home China.

At MWC 2023, this little-known Chinese smartphone brand surprised everyone by launching its first foldable smartphone, the Tecno Phantom V Fold. And by the looks of it, the company has done an excellent job at it,  especially considering that this was the company's maiden attempt at a foldable smartphone.

What's the big deal with the Tecno Phantom V Fold?

To begin with, the Phantom V Fold is the first horizontally-folding smartphone to use a MediaTek chipset, namely the company's flagship Dimensity 9000+ SoC. The only other foldable smartphone to use a non-Qualcomm chipset is the Oppo Find N2 Flip. This 4nm chipset is definitely not a slouch, even though it falls short of Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.

Tecno has already outdone Samsung in two areas and boasts of a "virtually crease-free" foldable display wider than the one used on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. When opened, this AMOLED panel spans 7.85 inches and features a 120 Hz refresh rate with a resolution of 2296x2000 pixels. The external cover display is equally impressive with its 6.42-inch 2550x1080 120 Hz AMOLED panel. Secondly, unlike Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4, which leaves a noticeable gap when shut, the Tecno Phantom V Fold shuts tight without leaving a gap.

The camera setup on the Tecno Phantom V Fold includes triple rear-facing cameras (50 MP wide + 50 MP telephoto + 13 MP ultrawide) and twin selfie cameras — one on the internal display (16 MP) and the second (32 MP) on the external display. Tecno has also managed to cram in a 5,000 mAh battery inside the device with support for 45W fast charging. In addition, the phone runs Tecno's custom Android called HiOS based on Android 13. Tecno expects to launch the Phantom V Fold in India, Latin America, and African markets with a base price of $1,099 for the 12 GB + 256 GB version. The phone will also be sold in a 12 GB + 512 GB configuration for $1,222.