The Tecno Phantom Z mini (Tecno A7 Mini) was announced at the tail end of 2014 causing another stir in the smartphone ecosystem in Nigeria. With top notch specifications and quality design, one can only say that the company has gone a long way to always improve upon previous phone released.
As arguably as this might sound, I can outrightly say that the Phantom Z mini remains the best designed Tecno phone ever. For anyone who has been following trends in the smartphone industry, you will find out that a smartphone mini depicts a smaller sized flagship product with lower specifications. While this can be said of the phantom Z mini, a first look at the phone will tell you one thing….. it looks better than the Phantom Z.
The Phantom Z mini is a 5-inch display dual SIM Android device (as revealed in the unboxing article) that makes you ask the question ‘why mini?’ when most smartphone minis always fall with the 4-4.5 inch range. Smartphones with premium designs now come metallic and the Mini is not left out, material quality is good and it comes with metallic trim that goes round side of the phone. The phone is very thin at 6.6mm, light weight, dimensions are 145 x 70 x 6.6 mm with a very definite rectangular shape and little curves at the edges.
The front facing camera, a flash and the proximity sensor are positioned at the top of the display screen while the three navigation keys are placed just below. The Home button also serves as the notification light that turns on whenever there is a missed call, message. There is a non-removable well-polished back cover, a 13MP camera, LED flash and loud speaker at the back of the phone.
Button arrangements are a bit different from what we had on the Phantom Z, only the volume rocker appears on the left hand side of the phone while both the power button and the SIM card tray are on the right hand side. Just at the base is the USB/charging port while the head phone jack is at the top. The phones allows you use both normal and micro SIM card at the same time.
The Phantom Z mini has a 5-inch, impressive super AMOLED display with a resolution of 720×1280 and pixel density of 294ppi. Screen is sharp, brightness and vibrancy is also commendable. Images looked natural on the display, I thought I was going to experience some sort of over saturation with the super AMOLED technology but this wasn’t so, colours on images and videos looked real, vibrant and natural.
Readability in the direct sunlight is also good. The size of the phone and its display makes it delightfully sit in my hand, there is no difficulty in reaching out to extreme ends of the screen and buttons when using one hand. All thanks to the slim body. Multimedia experience is decent with the display, the 5-inch still makes an adequate real estate for watching movies on mobile while viewing angle is also great.
When I heard about the phantom Z mini, the first thing I looked out for was whether the front camera has a flash just like the Phantom Z. The Phantom Z mini has a 13MP primary camera with LED flash at the back. Camera unit has a circular rim and not protruding outwards, it is housed beneath the back cover.
Picture quality is decent and very natural but the quality varied with the amount of lighting. You get an impressive picture when taking pictures during the day, pictures taken under low light too can could be reasonably fair. Taking pictures at night will require the use of the flash which delivers an average picture quality depending on the distance of the subject. Picture sizes can also be adjusted by switching the camera from 13MP to 1,2,3….12MP. check out pictures taken with the camera below….
While I am not a picture person, the Flash on the front facing camera got me doing lots of selfies especially at night when PHCN performs their normal routine. Daylight selfies qualities are also sharp and natural with the 8MP camera and then you become a photo star at night with the flash sitting right beside the front camera. Tecno simply redefined the selfie game with the front flash, you need not worry about taking selfies at night. Check out a few selfies taken by my darling BellaRose with the front facing camera….
Other camera features are gesture shot, voice capture sound capture and voice capture. Continuous shot allows you switch between taking 40 and 99 shots at the same time. Camera modes also include Panorama, face beauty, live photo, HDR mode.
SOFTWARE & FEATURES
The Mini runs on Android 4.4 Kitkat OS with OTA updates available for system update. Touch responsiveness, great speed and multitasking power are impressive features you get. It is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core processor. Browsing and switching between apps is also very fast
It is also black themed with the same customized UI similar to the Phantom Z. The ‘Tap to wake’ feature, which allows you to wake the phone from idle mode by simply double tapping the screen and the ‘Quick Start’ feature that starts the device by making specific gestures on the screen are also available on the device.
There are some pre-installed apps such as Gmail, YoTtube, Maps from Google and some Tecno customized apps such as like Tecno wallpapers, Palmchat. There is also Palmplay app that contains many Android Package (APK) files which you can click to install some applications like Instagram, Twitter.
Internal memory is 16GB without an expansion option with a memory card. RAM size is 2GB. The volume of space allocated to apps is not indicated this time around.
Battery is irremovable with a capacity of 2420mAh. Although small, one need not worry about because it lasted me for a full day about 16 hours on 3G and a full day on 2G on average usage level like receiving and making calls, IM, social media and surfing the internet. This result is relative and subject to how heavy a user is. You could likely get less.
The power saving management feature which offers power saving option is also included. One can choose between a normal power saving mode and an ultra-lower power mode. It is also important to mention that the battery charges very quickly.
I will conclude by saying that the Phantom Z is not a actaully a mini when you look at the specs sheet and the display size because you have flagship devices with the same or less specification. Perhaps the name mini was coined out of the fact that the company wnated to provide a less affordable top notch device similar to the phantom Z, if my assumption is right then customers are provided a big advantage because the device is a good phone and goes for about 35k.
Watch this space for our video review which will be published in few days…..