The TECNO Phantom PAD Mini (a.k.a Tecno P9); (market price – N28,000 +/- N2,000) is an unconventional device – regular and unique. At one end it offers the functionalities of a regular smartphone and at the other end it gets creepy as its seamlessness and easy adaptability to everyday life suggest the developers may have invaded your privacy with the innovation.When you bring the device out of the beautifully designed white box, it looks like a regular touchscreen device with diminutive hood but underneath it however lies fearsome power. It’s what’s below the surface, not what’s on the outside, that makes TECNO Phantom PAD Mini a good depiction of technology that works for Africa.Released in December 2013 as an upgrade for the TECNO Phantom PAD (N9), TECNO P9 has a smaller screen size thus making it very portable and possible for almost anyone to firmly and singlehandedly hold the device. The handy nature removes the nostalgia that is often associated with using tablet devices in public places.

Many people are reluctant to bring out their tablet devices in public in order not to get unnecessary attention. With P9 however, a user enjoys an exquisite device with a simple appearance. The device requires less space and I could easily use it even when sandwiched between two adults on a regular bike riding on a major Nigerian highway.

Physical Features and Wireless and Call Quality

The elegance of the device is best appreciated when it is in the pouch.tecno-P92-1024x574

The device only has 2 physical buttons, one for power while the other controls the volume. The materials are very similar to the N9. The glass front looks breakable, so you’ll probably need to cover the phone up using the perfectly fitting TECNO Mate Flip Case for P9.The 197 x 118 x 9.35mm dimension is a best compromise for the device to remain single-hand friendly and to ensure that users have maximum experience as they watch videos, plays games such as Real Football and surf the internet. This is quite thoughtful as more people are now using their mobile gadgets as their primary portals to the internet and for entertainment.
phantom-ipad-miniIn my house’s basement where call quality and wireless access are poor, I made test calls and ran simple data speed tests with the TECNO Phantom PAD Mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Nokia Lumia 620. While other devices showed 1 bar (each) of 2G coverage, TECNO P9 showed 2 bars; it also had the least connecting calls on Nigeria’s largest network, MTN Nigeria.
Sound quality is impressive and the earpiece is loud enough as it is possible to clearly hear conversations in a busy Nigerian food market. Transmission, on the other hand, sounded great on the other end of the calls suggesting that the device has excellent noise cancellation. The speakerphone is also powerful.It became obvious that call quality was even limited by network as it greatly improved with Skype call which uses data network. The voice quality became richer, it was possible to hear the breathes and sighs of the person on the other end; one could also clearly hear sounds of boiling water and soft knocks on the gate that was several meters away from the person on the other end.
The device supports connectivity via GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and USB port. It also has the 3.5mm earphone jack which is the most common type in Nigeria.
Battery Life

TECNO was right when it said the device does not require a power bank. The 3500mAh battery gets fully charged from zero level in a little more than one hour which is the fastest time for all my devices. It could support talk time of 7 hours which is also a major feat because the highly revered Nokia batteries don’t last that long. TECNO also said the device has a standby time of about 450 hours, something I cannot confirm because I don’t see myself leaving my device on standby for that long, definitely not this device. But what I can confirm is the 2 per cent per hour rule.The rule is simple. I found out that if I play music with the earphones for one hour, it would only take 2 per cent of the battery life. For music lovers, this is an impressive feat since it is now possible to listen to singles, full albums, mixtapes and DJ mixes.Using the surprisingly impressive speakers on the device, I could entirely watch the 71st Annual Golden Globes Awards (more than 2 hours long), the movie Last Vegas (2 hours) and Walt Disney’s latest animated movie, Frozen (also about 2 hours long). I still had 8 per cent of the battery life left.

The device has 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, 206 pixels per inch (PPI) and 256,000 colors. These specifics are best appreciated when you watch top quality productions such as awards shows (e.g. The Oscars), animated movies such as Madly Madagascar and The Croods and TV series like Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory on the device.

Camera

‘How good is the camera?’ is one of the questions people will ask when you show them a new device. In this area, TECNO P9 has a lot to offer with its Primary 5MP with which you can take pictures of about 2592 x 1944 pixels pictures, and a Secondary 2MP camera that can take pictures of up to 1600 x1200 pixels.

The coolest features of the camera however are not the pixels but the HDR which allows you to wash out bright sky backgrounds, it also has face and smile detection something that works efficiently well even when you attempt to confuse it with people that somehow look alike.

The camera comes with LED flash Video 720p@30fps.

It has an incredible editing application that gives professional touch to pictures. It also has a way of showing off by saving both the original shot without editing and the one that has been professionally edited. With the features on the camera, nicely edited images could be taken with less stress and without bagging a diploma in photography.

tecno-p9-3Processor, Memory and Operating system

If you don’t go on apps download spree on Google Play, you will be fine and satisfied with the 1.2GHz Quad-core processor and 1GB RAM. The device also has a 16GB ROM and expandable microSD memory of up to 32GB.

It runs on the popular Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” which is Google’s refinement of what is now the world’s most popular operating system on new smartphones. The setup process is smooth, and fast. Most of the default options were already checked, for example, and I had no problem adding my existing Google accounts. Once you’re in, the operating system walks you along with a series of tips and instructions. These are definitely helpful if you’re new to the Android operating system, though experienced users will already know many of the steps and tips.

You can easily add, remove and move icons and widgets around on each home screen panel; it is also easy to delete apps. The system font also looks sharp and smooth.

Web browser

The Web browser offers smooth handling of multiple tabs. The auto-rotate is switched on by default and offers maximum enjoyment as you go from landscape to portrait modes and vice versa. You enjoy best experience when you visit websites (such as bbc.co.uk) that are designed using responsive design technology.

Notifications and Google Play

Notifications are more easily accessible and more informed. As a matter of fact, you can almost navigate the device using just the notification tray. For example, you can perform basic tasks, such as previewing an incoming email, seeing new Google+, dialing a phone number from a missed call, or previewing SMS.

Media platform synergy

The synergy on the media platform is worthy to note. You can start watching a movie or listening to a song and you can pick up where you left off. Even when the device is turned off, it would allow you to choose between auto-resume or to start watching all over again.

Third-party apps

The device gives users access to Android’s robust third-party apps. Google Play contains more than a million apps, most of which should already work fine with the device’s operating system. There is an interesting improvement though; the operating system supports incremental updates thus improving download times.

Conclusion

TECNO Phantom PAD Mini is a device for a lot of people. It is anchored on TECNO developers’ in-depth understanding of the needs of the users and the device’s unbeatable selection of apps, powerful processor, swift web browser, clear sound, elegant style, single-handedness, and easy adaptability.

It is much more user-configurable, has a wide-enough screen, better reception and novice-friendly interface.

I can easily recommend it since at its too-good-to-be-true market price; it allows me to do all that I used to do on 3 different devices with more to add.

The best way to sum up TECNO P9 is that it is not just a product, smartphone or tech gadget; it is a platform that allows you to do whatever you want to do. Costing less than half of what similar products are being sold in the market, It stands as a top-notch all-around mobile device that could help TECNO expand its customer base across Africa especially in Nigeria where users are becoming less fascinated about brand names and are more interested in getting devices that offer more for less price.