A first look at Tecno's Phantom V Fold, a surprisingly affordable foldable phone

It's also the first of its kind to feature MediaTek's Dimensity 9000+ processor.

Richard Lai/Engadget

Tecno, a relatively unknown mobile brand on our side of the world, surprised us with a pop-out portrait lens on its Phantom X2 Pro flagship phone back in December. For its MWC event today, the Chinese company brought us the Phantom V Fold, which happens to be the first horizontally-folding phone to be powered by MediaTek's Dimensity 9000+ processor (hello, Oppo Find N2 Flip!), rather than something from Qualcomm. This usually means a lower entry barrier, which is always a good thing.

Like Honor's Magic VS and Xiaomi's Mix Fold 2, the Phantom V Fold has opted for a body that's wider than Samsung's counterparts — just not as wide as Oppo's. Tecno's "virtually crease-free" foldable screen comes in at 7.85 inches with a 2,296 x 2,000 resolution, and on the other side, you're greeted by a 6.42-inch 2,550 x 1,080 sub-screen. Both AMOLED panels feature a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. As far as durability goes, the claim here is that "the device is capable of 200,000 folds," which matches that of Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4, though that's just half of what the Chinese competition has achieved lately.

Tecno Phantom V Fold
Tecno Phantom V Fold (Richard Lai/Engadget)

The Phantom V Fold comes with a complete set of cameras, too. On the rear side, there's a 50-megapixel main camera, a 50-megapixel telephoto camera (2x optical zoom) and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera. These are surrounded by an eco-friendly back cover — in black or white — composed of recycled plastics. Then you get two punch-hole selfie cameras: a 16-megapixel one on the foldable screen, and a 32-megapixel version on the outer screen. The latter is fine for video calls on that smaller screen, but you'd probably want to unfold the phone and use the main camera instead for better selfies.

Tecno didn't cheap out on the battery here, either. The Phantom V Fold packs a 5,000mAh battery with 45W fast charge. This reaches 40-percent charge in 15 minutes, or 100-percent charge in 55 minutes. That's a tad slower than the Chinese competition, but it still beats the Galaxy Z Fold 4 — assuming you don't mind missing out on wireless charging.

Tecno Phantom V Fold
Tecno Phantom V Fold (Richard Lai/Engadget)

On the software side, the Phantom V Fold runs on Tecno's HiOS 13 Fold based on Android 13. The company claimed that it's customized the folding experience on its device for the top 1,000 most downloaded apps globally, and 90 percent of which have also been optimized for split-screen and multi-window modes.

So how much more affordable is the Phantom V Fold? Well, not bad. The base model with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage costs $1,099, whereas the 512GB variant is asking for $1,222. These are very competitive when compared to Samsung and even Honor outside of China, though prices will vary across countries — namely India, in this case, followed by various African and Latin American countries where Tecno is usually active in.