Smartphones that dared to be different
Smartphone are a basic need nowadays and people not using them are far and few. They are used only for communication but are also the main source by which we stay connected. From helping us wake us up in the morning to finding solutions to mathematical problems to taking us to a nearby attraction all of it is a cakewalk with the help of smartphones.
But when you look at almost every phone at a given point of time they have nearly the same features and designs. While a lot of this is due to the competition, over the years we have had smartphones that ventured into the unknown. Today we shall look at few of such smartphones that dared to be different.
If you pick up any Motorola smartphone from the early Android days each one of them can make it onto this list due to their weirdness, quirkiness and`uniqueness, but not one of the stands out like the Motorola Atrix, one of the most ambitious smartphones from the legendary phone maker.
The Atrix has many firsts and unique features to its name, starting with the qHD display, 1 Go of RAM, dual-core processor, fingerprint scanner, micro HDMI port and support for various docks, from the Laptop Dock seen above to multimedia docks and navigations docks.
So ahead of its time was the Atrix that some of its features are being used on smartphones today from the fingerprint sensor to the docking support in Huawei and Samsung phones.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge:
While the smartphone world is always classified as before the Apple iPhone and after the Apple iPhone, but with the Samsung S6 Edge launch in 2016, Samsung showed their phones were not mere copies of the iPhone but were genuinely unique. People loved it so much that Samsung sold 10 million units within one month of release! So iconic is the edge design that Samsung has still stuck with it even today.
Feature wise, the S6 Edge was typical Samsung with an amazing display, excellent cameras and a sufficiently large 2 600 mAh.
Released in 2014, the Blackberry Passport is an ode to those good old days of keypad based smartphones with an old school look but updated technology. The phone boasted of a 4.5-inch display with a QWERTY keypad, Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 Go RAM, 13MPx rear camera, 2 MPx front camera and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The massive 3450 mAh battery was the icing on the cake.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium:
While the Z5 is nothing special to look at. The thing that makes it different is its 4K display- a first on any smartphone. Before you ask, it was a 4K resolution on a 5.5-inch display which gave it a bonkers 806 ppi of pixel density.
Specifications too were top notch with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 Go RAM, 32 Go storage, 3 430 mAh battery and IP68 water resistance. The rear snapper was a 23 MPx f/2.0 unit and a selfie camera of 5.1 MPx resolution.
Just when you thought a single screen on a phone is too much, you have the YotaPhone 2 which had a dual display design. The Yota Phone was designed and manufactured by the Russian smartphone company, Yota and featured a 5-inch coloured AMOLED Full HD main display along with a 4.7-inch greyscale always-on e-ink display at the rear.
In terms of performance, you had a Snapdragon 821 doing processing duties with 4 Go or 6 Go of RAM and 128 Go/ 256 Go of storage.
Xiaomi Mi Mix:
While manufacturers today are competing with each other to create a smartphone with the least bezels, Xiaomi in 2016 did create one such phone with almost no bezels on three sides. It did not even have an ugly notch or a punch hole. For a phone launched in 2016 with a 91% screen to body ratio, it was tremendous.
The phone had 6.4-inch display powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 along with a whopping 6 Go RAM and 256 Go internal memory. Before you ask, yes it had a 3.5 mm jack along with a 5 MPx front facing camera hidden in the bottom bezel. The rear snapper was a 16 MPx unit and you also had a fingerprint scanner below it. Keeping the wheels churning on the phone was a beefy 4 400 mAh battery with support for 18W Quick Charging.
Vivo phones have for long been known for their selfie prowess and have stayed content with their technology and market. But in 2018, Vivo (and Oppo) ventured into the unknown and came out with some amazingly innovative smartphones the best of which was the Vivo Nex.
While the industry was scratching their heads around the notche, Vivo took a bold new step and came out with a smartphone that had a motorized selfie camera. Unlike the Oppo Find X which had both front and rear cameras on a motorized slider, the Nex only had the front camera. This makes it much stronger and more elegant. But that’s not all, Vivo also brought along their cool and futuristic in-display fingerprint sensor on this phone.
Razer has over the years stayed content with its focus on the gaming peripheral and laptop industry, but after purchasing what was left of Nextbit, they jumped onto the smartphone scene with the Razer Phone. One look at the Razer phone and you know it wasn’t your run of the mill smartphone.
It has the basic design of the Nexbit Robin with its boxy dimensions and design but one really unique distinction- the 120Hz display. The display although common on gaming monitors was a first in the smartphone space. The display provided silky smooth gaming and was backed by 8 Go of RAM, the Snapdragon 835 processor and a huge 4000mAh battery.
Red Hydrogen One:
From the house of famed video camera maker “Red”, the Hydrogen One was supposed to be the ultimate in display and photography on a smartphone but what it was most known for was the endless delays in getting into the market.
For a new smartphone maker, delays are inevitable so we shall let that slide and move on the phone itself. The Hydrogen One is designed with scalloped sides to make it grippy to hold and mimicked most of Red’s legendary cameras.
The display is the main feature here with a glassless 3D panel that allows viewing objects with a depth to them. The dual cameras both front and back also had the capability to record videos and capture pictures in 3D. At the back, it also features pogo pins that allow for improved functionality with Moto Mods like accessories. But sadly while it was unique it was really a smartphone that could have been much better than what it turned out to be.
The world’s first curved phone, the LG Flex, was released in 2013 with a 6-inch P-OLED display. While the name may suggest that it’s flexible it was not, but it was beautifully curved. Another amazing feature on it was its self-healing back panel coating which healed scratches on its own.
Internally it was similar to the LG G2 with a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 Go RAM with a 32 Go internal storage and a 3500 mAh battery. The main camera was of 13 MPx while the front camera is of 2.1 MPx.
Building over the G Flex. today, you have Samsung’s Galaxy F which is a foldable phone that’s being worked upon and also the Royole Flex Pai whose claim to fame is that it is the world’s first commercially available foldable phone.
Then you have the smartphones that are trying to circumvent the notch and try innovative solutions from in-display fingerprint scanners to under display cameras.
But at present while there are a lot of smartphones in the market very few are truly unique having features one can only dream of. The uniqueness of the phones lsited above makes them stand out as they truly dared to be different.