The Kingrow K1 probably isn’t the best smartphone for mobile gaming, watching videos, or framing the perfect photo… because you’d probably want a color display for any of those things, and the Kingrow K1 doesn’t have one.

What it does have is an E Ink display that’s easy to see in direct sunlight and which doesn’t draw a lot of power. Kingrow says the smartphone gets up to 2 days of battery life during normal usage, 7 days if you disable wireless and just use it for reading, and 15 days in standby.

The company unveiled the phone recently, and now it’s up for pre-order for $299 and up through a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo.

That $299 price only covers the first 400 orders. After that, the price goes up to $349, and the phone has an estimated shipping date of August, 2019.

While the 5.2 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel E Ink Carta display with an adjustable front-light certainly makes the Kingrow K1 stand out, the phone’s other specs are a little underwhelming:

  • MediaTek MT6763 octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage + microSD card slot
  • 3,100 mAh battery
  • USB-C port
  • Dual SIM support
  • 8MP rear camera
  • Android 8.1
  • Black, Red, and Blue back cover options

The prototype Notebook Italia spent time with also has a front-facing camera, but the final version isn’t expected to have one.

Kingrow also says it’s developed a custom user interface for the phone and it will ship with its own app store rather than Google Play… but Notebook Italia suggests it should support the Play Store. You just might need to install it (or another third-party app store) on your own.

Another thing to keep in mind before pulling out your wallet — Kingrow says it’ll ship the phone worldwide, but the company hasn’t listed which network bands the K1 supports so it’s unclear which wireless networks you’ll be able to use it with.

via The eBook Reader

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8 replies on “Kingrow K1 E Ink smartphone hits Indiegogo for $299 and up”

  1. A bit too big for my taste, but other specs seem right up my alley. I’m about to reach for my wallet.
    My current smartphone last about one week between charges, but it’s mostly in standby. Though I only have a 1500mAh battery.

    In the Indie Gogo FAQ, they say they support
    – GSM B5/B8/B3/B2
    – CDMA/EVDO BC0
    – WCDMA B1/B2/B5/B8
    – TD-SCDMA B34/B39
    – TDD-LTE B34/B39/B40/B41
    – FDD-LTE B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B20

  2. To be honest I would have expected waaaay better battery times for this. If you are willing to live with the inconvenience of such a device it should be worth it big time in at least one area. I can just pack a portable powerbank and a regular phone and have a better battery time overall. I really like e-ink, I would be the first one to buy smartphone cases with e-ink screens inside (like the now extinct Yotaphone), but this product does not really make me excited.

    1. Agreed. I wonder what they are considering to be “normal usage”. I typically get 2 days of battery life just on a regular smartphone with occasional use and the screen on full brightness. Heavy use will drain the battery within one day. I would have thought this e-ink device would have battery life much much longer. But I suppose the wireless radios are what use the power.

      1. Pretty much. I have a tablet that I keep in airplane mode that’s set to only connect to wifi when woken. The battery can last for a week or more in this state. If I let it connect to wifi constantly, and turn airplane mode off, it’ll die within three days. In both cases, I’m not really using the tablet as anything but an alarm clock.

  3. This is the kind of thing I would buy from a cheap-o Chinese smartphone maker for like $80. This isn’t something I would buy for $299 from a startup crowdfunder.

    I really love the idea of an e-ink smartphone, but as a secondary device only. It would be nice for using as a navigation device (being able to see maps bright sunlight outdoors). Would be nice for using mounted to my bicycle’s handlebars (music, maps, etc).

  4. I wouldn’t mind one but I have other monetary priorities right now.
    The specs might not be very high end but with what you can do with e-ink it’s not really an issue (the main concern for the GPU would be large file PDF rendering as you won’t be playing fortnite on this).

  5. I can see a market for a smartphone with an e-ink display, but this isn’t the smartphone for that market. A SD 600 series processor, 4GB RAM, 32/64 GB of storage with the microSD card slot and it starts getting interesting. As it is currently spec’d it should cost less than $200.

    1. With that thickness of bezel you could put a viewfinder crosshair in and have a camera focusing on speed of snap rather than displaying and updating live video. “weeks of battery life, 35mm pictures taken (Stored in color and displayed in grayscale), and plays audio. Oh, and it can make phone calls.” I’d buy that.

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