Tecno is based in the value-for-money segment, but the company has ambitions to move upmarket with the Phantom sub-brand. The original Phantom X offered great value for money, as is typical for Tecno, and had a better screen and camera than any of its siblings.
It also has some weaknesses, such as the Helio G95, a decent mid-range chipset, not that good for the Phantom’s target market. Now the X2 series is here, and it improves on some of those flaws while keeping the focus on display and camera quality (and, indeed, there are major improvements here too).
We have already reviewed the X2 Pro and now have the Tecno Phantom X2 in our hands. The vanilla model shares most of its hardware with the Pro, so if you want an overview of the display, chipset and battery life, check out the Pro review. The main difference between the X2 and X2 Pro is the camera. The vanilla model lacks a large primary sensor, but relies on better lenses and an RGBW sensor to improve its performance. There’s also no portrait camera, which is exclusive to the Pro.
Camera-wise, both models are the same size and basically the same design. The way to tell them apart is that the Pro marks its pop-up vertical camera with a decorative ring.
We think design divides. The prominent camera island is a real eye-catcher and, for better or worse, is in the eye of the beholder. We tend to love it: it’s unique, it’s symmetrical, and it doesn’t have any bad labels. We wish the vanilla model had a color other than “grey,” similar to the Martian orange of the Pro. Many people will cover the back with a matte so they don’t have to worry, but still.
Phantom X2 Pro (left) and Phantom X2 (right)
When we held the Phantom X2 in hand, we noticed that Tecno adjusted the aspect ratio of the screen from 19.5:9 to 20:9. This reduces the width by a millimeter, which generally makes the phone easier to hold. Here it’s overshadowed by the heaviness of the phone – be careful how you hold it or it could tip over.
Tecno serves a market where a $1,000 flagship isn’t going to sell well, no matter how good its hardware is (not that the X2 is cheap, we’ll talk about the price). We don’t expect the Phantom X2 to be the best in every category, but we do hope that the company’s resource-optimization roots inspire it to retain some useful features.
The original X had 256GB of storage and a microSD slot, as well as a 3.5mm jack. The Phantom X2 has 256GB of storage, and that’s it – there’s no memory card slot, and there’s nowhere to plug in wired headphones (unless, of course, you have a USB adapter -C).
The Phantom X2 series does away with the microSD slot and 3.5mm jack
The X2 looks more flagship than the original Phantom X. The Dimension 9000 chipset is a big part of it, and the original Helio G95 really dragged it down. The X2 is fast and responsive, and the Mali-G710 MC10 GPU can handle serious gaming.
The first Phantom had a large autonomy with a capacity of 4700mAh, the X2 series increases the battery capacity to 5160mAh. However, more powerful hardware also consumes more power: judging by the X2 Pro’s results, the X2’s battery life is as good, if not as good, as the X’s. The company has also upgraded the charging system from 30W to 45W, but we haven’t seen any real improvements. At least not on our X2 Pro device, we’ll see if the vanilla X2 performs better.
Before we get back to the phone reviews, we need to mention one last thing: The Phantom X2 is priced at SAR 2,700 ($720/€685/Rs 59,000), although the technology usually costs more than that in Saudi Arabia. Other local taxes due to local reasons. Even so, it’s a step up from the Phantom X which was launched in India priced at Rs 26,000.