Chinese company Tecno has launched its first ever foldable at MWC 2023, complete with claims of a crease that’s “almost invisible”.
But from seeing the Phantom V Fold in person, it’s easy to understand why. You can still just about see where the 7.85in internal display folds in half, but it’s much less noticeable than other book-style foldables.
The other big selling point of the device is its price. Starting at $1,099, it significantly undercuts rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Huawei Mate Xs 2.
However, despite that figure being in US dollars, the Phantom V Fold won’t be coming to Europe or North America. It’ll be exclusive to India (from ₹89,999) initially, before “coming to other markets soon”. But Tecno only sells its hardware in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, and that’s not changing here.
It’s a real shame, because this looks like a compelling device. That 7.85 2K internal display works in tandem with a 6.42in Full HD cover panel to deliver an excellent, detailed viewing experience. Both are AMOLED panels at 120Hz, while LTPO tech means the refresh rate can dynamically adjust between 10- and 120Hz depending on what you’re doing.
As you might expect, cameras are a major focus. The Phantom V Fold has five in total, split between the front, back and inside of the device. That includes a 50Mp rear lens that Tecno describes as “Super Night”, with dedicated low-light modes for portrait shots and 4K video. It’s joined by a 50Mp telephoto (with 2x optical zoom) and 13Mp ultrawide.
You can use the powerful rear cameras to take selfies, using the cover display as a large preview window. It also means you can clearly see what you look like when someone else is taking a photo of you.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
But if you’d rather take selfies in a more traditional way, there’s also a 16Mp lens above the cover display. The 32Mp front-facing camera inside is designed for video calling.
Power comes from the Dimensity 9000+, MediaTek’s flagship processor from last year. It’s supported by 12GB of RAM on both models, so performance should be excellent. While you can choose between 256- and 512GB of internal storage, there’s no slot for microSD expansion.
Finding apps that are designed to run on both displays can be a challenge, but Tecno says over 2,000 of them have been optimised for the Phantom V Fold. They include many of the most popular apps worldwide, such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
It’s a key selling point of Tecno’s HiOS 13 Fold software, which is based on Android 13 and includes plenty of foldable-focused features. Picture-in-picture, parallel windows (two windows from the same app next to each other) and drag and drop all work well and feel genuinely intuitive.
Despite the phone not being sold in the West, there’s full support for Google Play Services too. HiOS isn’t as slick as ‘stock’ Android, but seems to work better on foldables.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
The black leather finish on display at MWC looks and feels great, although there’s also a white silicone leather option if you’d prefer. You also get dual stereo speakers and fingerprint sensor built into the power button.
With a great range of features and very competitive price, the Tecno Phantom V Fold could be a force to be reckoned with among foldable phones. But until it arrives in Europe and North America, Samsung and others will continue to dominate.