Snail Mobile has been showing off smartphones that looks like handheld game consoles for the past few years. But so far the Chinese company’s phones haven’t been sold in the West.
When I caught up with Snail at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2015, I was told that the company did plan to offer its phones in the United States, but as far as I’m aware that never happened.
Now the company tells Engadget’s Richard Lai that it’s latest phone is destined for an international launch. I’m still not holding my breath for a formal US release… but I suspect you’ll be able to buy one from an international reseller like Gearbest, GeekBuying, or ChinaVision eventually.
If that happens, here’s what you can expect from the new phone/handheld game device that’s awkwardly (and misleadingly) named the Snail Mobile i7:
- MediaTek Helio X20 processor
- 6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display
- 6GB of RAM
- 64GB of storage
- 6,000 mAh battery
- Stereo speakers
- Dual SIM
- 16MP rear camera
- 5MP front camera
- USB Type-C port
But the standout features are the two analog sticks, D-pad, and A,B,Y,X buttons which allow you to play games without touching the display. While not all Android games are designed for non-touch devices, these buttons should help make the system a decent option for playing classic console games in an emulator.
Holding the phone up to your ear to actually make calls might not be super comfortable though.
Ok. But the GPU in most mediatek chipsets is underpowered.
Side talking makes a comeback in 2017!!
Does it have L/R buttons, 2 of each?
Reminds me of the old days with the Nokia N-Gage and N-Gage QD
I tried emailing them to ask about possibly doing a custom firmware. I’d like to see if they’d entertain the idea of giving me the tools needed. Every email I sent bounced. Not sure this is going to be one with community support. Too bad. It looks like it could be a good device.
The deal breakers will be:
– Quality of the Gamepad
– Lack of QSD chipset/Community Support
Too much against this. People would probably be better off with a PS Vita or N Switch. Or the GPD XD/Win.
Unfortunately the PS Vita is a poor choice for emulation. There isn’t a very large selection of emulators, and your ability to hack the Vita is dependant on having a specific version of the firmware, and being certain you never update it.
The GPD XD is getting a little old. It’s a great option, but unfortunately it was just below the threshold of performance needed to make it truly interesting (not quite powerful enough to emulate anything higher than N64).
The GPD Win is in the same boat for performance, but ontop of that it has a rather cumbersome OS for someone that just wants to play emulators. Also doesn’t have very good battery life.
I would REALLY like it if someone made a device specific to just playing emulators. The GCW Zero was fantastic, but unfortunately it’s out of production. The Pandora is far too expensive.
Make it powerful enough to play Gamecube and Dreamcast. Give it a 4:3 ratio screen.
Probably cost more than a Switch but at least you might be able to buy one.
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