Hands-On with an Unnamed Elephone Device
A miniature device at a miniature price
During a recent visit to Elephone’s HQ in Shenzhen, I was lucky enough to get a hands-on with an as of yet unnamed phone that will retail at around $80. Aimed at children or as an accessory, the smartphone is the smallest I have seen, featuring a tiny 2.45″ (240×432) LCD display. It seems like a novelty at first, but there is a reason behind that.
The device is clearly not intended to be a daily driver, however, there are many other places this device can shine. Place it into an arm-band and use it as a fitness tracker, use it as an mp3 that can also make phone calls (yes, it has a microSD slot and 32GB of internal storage), use it as the center of your latest hardware project or give it to a child as their first phone. One of the staff members over at Elephone mentioned that they had been wearing it on necklace when listening to music.
The body of the device is unsurprisingly made of plastic, resulting in a weight of just 52.4g — and since it measures just 90 x 43 x 11.5 mm, it can be carried anywhere with relative ease. The battery is small at just 550mAh with standby time pegged at 110 hours, but with a screen this size you won’t be playing any intense games or using many of the heavy battery draining apps, so that should not be an issue. The processor is a dual-core MediaTek 6572, so again don’t be expecting to be breaking any benchmark records. The rear camera is 5.0MP and the front is just 0.3MP, so you won’t get best the selfies in the world either. That being said this is clearly intended to be more of a toy than a serious phone and we can’t wait to hear if you guys can think of any interesting use cases for a phone this size.
Of course, though, this tiny size does not come without issues. I tried typing on it and found it virtually impossible. However, if you have small fingers or like to use voice recognition software like Google Now or a speech-to-text option, this could be a great device for those times you don’t want to carry your 5.5″ phone with you.
During my brief hands on, the UI and menus seemed very responsive with very few frame skips as confirmed by profile GPU rendering. This surprised me, I expected such a cheap and small device to perform substantially worse than it did. In fact, everything about this device seemed to defy the price tag. The phone gave me nostalgia of a time when people carried mp3 players as well as their phones… in a world where that had continued, this is how I image they would have evolved, not only to play music but also having the ability to keep track of your calendar, messages and even make calls if needed. The body of the device, whilst being plastic, felt sturdy and I wouldn’t be overly worried about it being damaged if I dropped it. The display appeared to be one-point touch, and as you would expect there was no NFC. However something present there that you don’t see often in phones was a sleep monitor alongside the pedometer, and other sensors which could be useful if you, like many power users, like to keep track of your body through fitness bands etc. My final impressions were that this is something that can be used to fill many smaller use cases, but if you are looking for a daily driver, this is not the device for you. But that is kind of obvious.
As I said earlier, this device is yet to be named and is currently using the internal name Elephone Q, leave a comment below and I’ll pass them on, you could be the one to name this fun and quirky device.