The best smartphone portrait camera is one you've probably never heard of

Tecno Phantom X2 Pro is the best portrait camera
(Image credit: Tecno / Phantom)

GSMArena has selected the Tecno Phantom X2 Pro as the best portrait camera to feature on a smartphone in 2022. This device boasts a powerful 50MP type 1/2.7-inch sensor, as well as a wide f/1.49 aperture with a high-end 7P element optic lens. 

In competition with some big names and flagship releases that launched this year with excellent cameras – such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max (opens in new tab), the Google Pixel 7 Pro (opens in new tab), as well as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (opens in new tab) – this quirky Tecno camera phone (opens in new tab) takes the overall crown and top spot from GSMArena is pretty surprising.

The Tecno Phantom X2 Pro (opens in new tab)is an Android smartphone that was only announced (opens in new tab)just days ago on December 7th, 2022. It features a triple-rear-camera setup that comprises a 50 MP f/1.9 (wide) lens, as well as another 50 MP, f/1.5, 65mm (telephoto) retractable portrait lens with a 2.5x optical zoom range, and finally a 13 MP, f/2.2, (ultrawide) camera. 

The selfie camera on this device is pretty impressive too, and has also been designed for crisp professional portraits, with a 32 MP f/2.5 (wide) lens – although, this is nothing in comparison to the Phantom X2 Pro's portrait lens, which is said to be the world’s first retractable portrait lens fitted in a smartphone, and as the press release states is a 'technological breakthrough that lowers the threshold for “studio-like” portrait photography'.

The Tecno Phantom X2 Pro's portrait camera also has other features such as the ability to capture a wide-angle portrait group photo, ultra-clear night portraits, 4K Portrait video mode at 60 frames per second, and offers computational photography benefits with an in-built retoucher into the powerful MediaTek Dimensity 9000 chip that can create the perfect portrait through dynamic promotion, color optimization, real-time rendering, scenery separation, focus lock, and outline recognition. 

Tecno Phantom X2 Pro (Image credit: Tecno / Phantom)
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The Phantom smartphone has also been praised by renowned photographer, Rankin, who assisted the company and was consulted on the development of a series of “Master Filters” for the Phantom X2 Series (the standard and Pro model).

Tecno's Phantom series aims to combat what it calls "fake bokeh" that many modern smartphone cameras have been attempting to create with the effect of an implied blurred background, often missing out the edge of shoulders and hands in the process that becomes engulfed in the blur. 

The 'pure optical bokeh' on the Phantom X2 Pro has been incorporated into the smartphone's features to create high-quality portraiture, as has been showcased in a series of portraits that were captured by Rankin, using the device. 

Image by Rankin (Image credit: Tecno / Phantom/ Rankin)
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With this amount of high-end and impressive photographic specifications, plus the aid of a brief review (opens in new tab)of the Phantom X2 Pro to influence the decision, there's no wonder that the team over at GSMArena decided on the Tecno Phantom X2 Pro as their choice as the best portrait camera on a smartphone in 2022.

The team described the smartphone (opens in new tab) as "the best portrait camera we've seen yet", and explained that "When you open the camera app and choose the 2.5x lens option, the lens physically pops out from the camera module. You can both feel the movement through the phone and get a soft sound. It evokes feelings of nostalgia for a time when phones had moving parts."

Image by Rankin (Image credit: Tecno / Phantom / Rankin)
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As awesome as this smartphone sounds for photographers who specialize in portraiture, this Phantom X20 Pro device, unfortunately, can't yet be purchased anywhere outside of Saudi Arabia, though a press release from Tecno has stated that it 'will be available to purchase from the end of December globally'.

The Phantom X20 Pro smartphone doesn't appear to have a confirmed price yet, though rumor has it that it will retail for ₹41,999 Indian Rupees, which when converted is approximately $500 / £415 / AU$754.99.

Image by Rankin (Image credit: Tecno / Phantom/ Rankin)
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We'll update the article accordingly when we have more information on this anticipated new flagship portrait camera supreme smartphone. 

• You may also be interested in the best iPhone for photography (opens in new tab), as well as the best budget camera phones (opens in new tab), and not forgetting the best lenses for iPhone and Android camera phones (opens in new tab). See our review of the Moment Macro 10x Phone Lens (opens in new tab).

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.