Monday, August 5, 2013

Comparing the Samsung S4 to the Tecno Phantom A

Chinese Telecom company Tecno has sold over 2 million phones in Ghana and is poised to eat into Samsung’s market share for Android phones in Ghana too. In this post, I’d compare the new Tecno Phantom A to the Samsung S4. The latter is the flashiest baby on the block of Samsung Android Phones. The HTC One and Sony Xperia Z are a couple of other top-end Android smart phones but haven’t quite had the impact on the African continent as the S4. I’ve seen quite a number of S4s in Ghana and it was quite a statement when one of the local telecom operators organized an experiential launch of the Samsung S4 in Ghana earlier this year. 

Samsung S4’s quad 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor is better suited for the smart phone use than the Phantom A’s 1 GHz Dual-Core processor. This is most important for phone users who do a lot of gaming, and media consumption. If the phone is for more regular use, there’s not much to give as per the respective hardware. The Tecno Phantom A  arrives with the Android 4.1 OS compared to the Samsung S4 running on the 4.2 version of Android. This supports many features that Android users enjoy and the phone performs creditably. The internal storage is rather little at 1GB but the availability of a slot that can take SD card with up to 32GB is great news for users to consume and keep a lot of content.  The Samsung S4 allows for users to have up to 64GB in memory.

One major concern for many Android phone is the battery life. The S4 has arguably the best battery for Android phones and it beats out the Phantom A here. My friend whose S4 I borrowed, is able to routinely get about 18 hours of battery life. The most battery-run hours I’ve been able to get with the Phantom A consistently with heavy app use has been 10. But I do have the power bank that came with it. Though it’s an extra thing to carry, it’s handy and reduces the need to be charging the phone frequently.

The Samsung S4 replaced its predecessor the S3 as a thinner phone. The Tecno Phantom A is not as thin and has a relatively similar weight. The Phantom A has a 5inch HD screen just like the S4. It performs creditably as its compatriot for video viewing and audio playback. The display on the Phantom A doesn’t feel as sharp as the S4. The dedicated button for taking pictures on the Phantom A is a welcome addition, especially since many Africans like to ‘show off’ their smart devices and take pictures on occasion. It has a front-facing 8 mega pixel camera. The Samsung S4 has a 13 mega pixel camera and has a wow factor to it.

One phone feature I pay close attention to is how it handles contacts and communication. The Phantom A’s contact and communication interface is very much like that of Google Nexus phones, which I love. It gets the edge over how the S4 handles it for me, I like the look and feel better. The filtering for received, dialed and missed calls on the Tecno Phantom A is also great.

The major advantage for the Tecno Phantom A is obviously the DUAL SIM functionality. This is really built for Africa. There is a DUAL SIM S4 mini but that’s not the comparison here. We’re talking 5 inch screen types to enjoy proper video calls. There are real use cases for this in Africa and I like the way the Phantom A makes use of this functionality. It was relatively easy for me to get used to juggling two phone numbers on the same phone based on the user experience that the Phantom A offers.

To be able to achieve most of the functionality that top-end Android phones have and manage it all with a Dual SIM for about half the price makes the Tecno Phantom A a steal. The phone enjoys most of the functionality and features that we’ve come to know for various smart phones. The aesthetic appeal drops Tecno into the cool phone conversation and brings another buying bracket into the high-end smart phone market.

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