The Hisense HS-A1. (Yahoo)
BARCELONA – Browsing the international smartphone market is always a fun exercise at the yearly Mobile World Congress confab. Fun, but often pointless if you’re a resident of the States.
This year, Hisense (you know them for their flat-screen TVs) is showing off some fiercely capable handsets that the company won’t sell in the United States but lists at suggested retail prices roughly one-third of the cost of comparable U.S. smartphones – the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, specifically.
Like the S7, the Hisense HS-A1 Android phone has a 5-inch-breaching super AMOLED screen, a fingerprint reader, a big 3,000mAh battery that supports fast charging, and a camera with fast focus times; that camera also features dual lenses on its back, like the new LG G5.
The HS-A1 has a rear dual-lens camera. (Yahoo)
Though we don’t yet have price information for LG’s newest G handset, we know that the HS-A1′s price, which translates to about the $200 ballpark, is less than a third of the S7′s $669.99 and almost a quarter of the S7 edge’s $779.99.
Aside from lacking a snappy name, the HS-A1 is also missing the water-resistance touted by the new S7 phones. For that, you can look to Hisense’s new King Kong II HS-C20 smartphone (slightly better name) that clocks in at about $260. The new King Kong has a smaller and less brilliant screen than the HS-A1, but, with a Gorilla Glass 4 screen onboard, it’s certified to handle a three-foot, three-inch drop, can operate in heat up to 120-degrees fahrenheit, and will survive one meter under water for up to 30 minutes.
Pretty resilient for a phone that can be replaced with the change you find at the bottom of your purse, huh?
The tough Hisense King Kong II HS-C20 can survive shallow plunges into water. (Yahoo)
The cheapest of Hisense’s new crop of non-U.S. phones is its HS-C1, which runs about $175, the company says, but lacks a fingerprint reader, big battery, and fancy dual-lens rear camera.
Of course, the truth is there’s nothing stopping American consumers from purchasing one of Hisense’s new phones online. But what anyone that does will realize when they get their Hisense stateside is that, despite it’s 4G-compatible branding, it isn’t compatible with any of the United State’s high-speed mobile networks. No doubt, the choice to manufacture these handsets without U.S.-compatible wireless modems is, in part, what makes them so cheap. It’s probably why they cost even less than Chinese phone-maker OnePlus’s “flagship killer” phones, which are sold in – and can operate in – the U.S.
Hisense’s HS-A1 and HS-C1 (shown here) have “quick focus” cameras. (Yahoo)
So rest assured that your incapability to throw one of these new bargain Hisense phones onto your monthly plan has nothing to do with any trade embargo. Thus, please do not write your congressperson complaining that you’d like better access to super-cheap, foreign Galaxy S7 competitor phones.