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Tecno’s Phantom V Fold: An impressive, affordable Galaxy Z Fold 4 clone

Published Mar 1st, 2023 5:17PM EST
Tecno Phantom V Fold foldable smartphone unveiled at MWC 2023.
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

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The Honor Magic VS isn’t the only foldable smartphone coming out of MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain, to put pressure on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 and upcoming Fold 5 successor. While the Magic handset costs €1,599 ($1,707) in Europe, some €200 ($213) cheaper than Samsung, the Tecno Phantom V Fold is even more affordable at $1,099. We’re looking at flagship iPhone 14 Pro Max price levels for an Android handset that resembles the Fold 4.

It’s also a phone that won’t launch in Europe or the US anytime soon, so you’ll have to get it from a different international market. That means China, India, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.

When you see the Phantom V Fold, you’ll think of Samsung’s latest Fold model. But the two handsets aren’t identical. The Tecno phone has a circular camera setup on the back. Also, the foldable display’s selfie camera doesn’t sit under the screen like the Fold 4. Not to mention that the external display is slightly curved. And the external and foldable screens are larger than Samsung’s.

The biggest difference concerns the hinge mechanism. Tecno developed a waterdrop hinge design common among Samsung’s biggest rivals. Therefore, the phone doesn’t have a gap between the two display sides, as the Z Fold models do.

Phantom V Fold's cover display.
Phantom V Fold’s cover display. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The hinge is made from aerospace-grade materials, and the foldable crease measures just 0.11mm when the device is “new.” That’s a strange way to describe this particular design detail, however.

From my brief experience with the handset at MWC, I can say that the handset seems durable. It’s not a cheap knockoff. Per Tecno’s representatives, we still get an ultra-glass cover on top of the foldable OLED panel. On the back, there’s a leather panel.

Tecno Phantom V Fold's cover display and rear camera module.
Tecno Phantom V Fold’s cover display and rear camera module. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

However, the crease is visible, so Tecno’s hinge solution doesn’t eliminate this design imperfection that foldable handset makers have to deal with. Still, Tecno says the foldable display can fold and unfold 200,000 times, just like other devices.

Specs-wise, we’re looking at flagship components that are in line with the Fold 4’s. The 6.42-inch cover screen and the 7.85-inch foldable display are LTPO OLED panels that support a 10-120Hz dynamic refresh rate.

The foldable phone's crease is still visible.
The foldable phone’s crease is still visible. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

A custom MediaTek Dimensity 9000 processor powers the handset, paired with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 flash storage. The 5000 mAh battery supports 45W fast charging. You get a full charge in just 55 minutes at top speeds.

Finally, the rear camera module features a 50-megapixel primary camera (1/1.3-inch sensor, f/1.85 aperture, and 7P lens), a 50-megapixel telephoto lens (2x optical zoom and 20x digital zoom), and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens. You also get an internal 16-megapixel camera, and a 32-megapixel selfie camera pierces the external screen.

Tecno Phantom V's circular rear camera module.
Tecno Phantom V’s circular rear camera module. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The phone runs HiOS13 Fold, Tecno’s customized version of Android for foldable phones based on Android 13.

If any of that sounds exciting, you must wait until Tecno comes to your market. Or travel to a country where the Chinese vendors will sell the Phantom V Fold handset.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.