Razer, Asus, Nubia, and Xiaomi all launched smartphones aimed at gamers in 2018. For the most part that meant they had fast processors, big batteries, maybe a special display or cooling system, and maybe a funky looking back cover.
But the upcoming MOQI smartphone? It actually looks like a handheld game console: it has physical game control buttons surrounding a 6 inch touchscreen display.
The smartphone is up for pre-order for $399 and up through an Indiegogo campaign and it should ship in March.
If you’re worried about putting your money into a crowdfunding campaign, it’s worth noting that MOQI is a subsidiary of Snail Digital, which has been around for almost two decades, and which has some experience releasing gaming phones for the Chinese market.
The MOQI is one of the first aimed at global markets, although it does look an awful lot like a model the company was showing off a year and a half ago.
The smartphone features a 6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass 3, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 6,000 mAh battery and a 16MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. It ships with Android 8.1.
Gaming features include a 9-axis gravity sensor, two analog sticks, a D-pad, X,Y,A, and B buttons, left and right shoulder buttons, and select and start buttons. There’s also a liquid cooling system to keep the phone from overheating during use.
It also has stereo speakers, a headphone jack, a microSD card reader and a USB Type-C port.
At a time when phone makers have been chasing slimmer and slimmer bezels in the quest for a truly all-screen experience, the MOQI goes the opposite direction. It’s a phone with a 6 inch display, but thanks to the built-in game controls, it’s a big phone that measures 8.1″ x 3.8″ x 0.6″ and weighs 11.6 ounces.
But it also bucks modern smartphone trends in another way: the MOQI phone has a replaceable battery.
Note that $399 is the “super early bird” price for the first 50 customers. If that reward level sells out, the price goes up to $449 and the full retail prices is listed as $699, although it’s likely that the MOQI will be cheaper than that if and when it hits stores.