Monday, August 5, 2013

Revealing the technological reality of the Tecno Phantom A


Conservative estimates put Tecno Telecom as having sold about 2 million phones in Ghana. The introduction of the Tecno Phantom A is to make a dent on the existing Android market in Ghana and Africa. The economic benefit is the loudest statement that the phone makes, selling at Five hundred and forty Ghana cedis (540 GhC).  That’s about $270. The Phantom A is a very good deal. A relative of mine talked down the price as something to expect from Tecno as their phones as cheap. It was said tongue in cheek but I ensured she checked out the features and used the phone to notice how good it really is. Tecno wading into the Android market won’t be as easy as having a very good price point. Users will have to love the phone’s performance and productivity to make the Phantom A a best seller. In this blog post, I would go on to outline the phone’s functionality and performance. I would compare it to a major phone in this market in my next blog post. 

The Tecno Phantom A runs on the Android operating system version 4.1. 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.  It’s a bit odd to have the jack for connecting a USB or power cord at the top of the phone. The Built-in CD-ROM feature is a nice to have but not a show stopper in my opinon. Because many smart phone users are likely more in tune with the age of USB drives. The other standard options for USB connections from phone to computer are inclusive.

The phone has a big battery which contributes to its sturdiness.  The flip case that comes with the phone is a very welcome addition to keeping the phone in a good shape. The battery life is fairly good. For low activity and not much app use, I was able to go a whole day on battery. The battery acquits itself much better than other smart phones I have used.



The 5inch HD screen makes this a great phone for media consumption.  I tested the video functionality by checking through recommended videos on Youtube. I found the old Ghanaian movie classic “I Told You So” which I started watching. While looking to increase and decrease the volume to see its range, I mistakingly hit the button just below the volume controls. I was just discovering it! I realized it was a button to start the camera function and take pictures. Cool! But not very intuitive. The symbol on the button seems to signify a camera but that’s not readily known. I was able to take some great shots with the front-facing 8 mega pixel camera. The drop-off in quality for the back facing camera was a little too steep.


I installed the Kasahorow keyboard (for typing various Ghanaian language characters) seamlessly and started downloading various apps.  The default app offering was okay but not complete. I expected to see more from the Google suite – Navigation, Drive, Google+.  Google Translate would have been a nice touch given the phone’s focus on Africa. I like the inclusion of Notes and Recorder apps. Sometimes, it’s difficult to sift through a selection of apps that solve various problems so it helps from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to  help choose.

I am very particular about how smart phones handle contacts and communication. The layout and user interface for the contacts is very much like that of Nexus phones which I love. I waited a while but the profile photos of contacts never synced with my Gmail contacts which was disappointing. After a longer while, the photos started showing up but the photos were not too sharp and a bit blurry.


I did like how the phone identified which phone numbers were on various telecom networks. That’s a plus for me and staying true to this phone really being built for Africa.  Very glocal.  I’ve never used a Dual SIM phone before as I don’t believe as much in using multiple chips. 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. The call log didn’t show the dates of the calls which I think is a feature that needs to be added. I like how the filtering for received, dialed and missed calls is done. It also shows the call count which was also missing in the call log.

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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