Contrary to popular belief, $220 can buy you a lot when it comes to smartphones – take the Elephone U3H, which boasts 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage.
So imagine our surprise when we came across the A5 from Chinese tech giant Hisense, a “reading smartphone” that shares the same price tag.
The Hisense boffins have apparently identified an untapped niche, as the A5 eschews the ubiquitous colour display in favour of monochrome e-ink which, according to the marketing literature, uses “skin-friendly materials like the delicate feel of baby skin”.
Hisense A5 4G Reading Smartphone – $220 at Gearbest
An interesting concept if you want an eBook reader with 4G connectivity and a wealth of smartphone-like features. However, if you’re looking for a fully fledged smartphone, you will be sorely disappointed – so adjust your expectations accordingly, because the A5 is definitely not an all-in-one champion.View Deal
Watching videos on the A5 could have its charms, making you feel like you’re back in the 1970s. But the sobering reality is that refresh rates on e-ink displays aren’t nearly high enough to play videos smoothly.
With the A5, you get a device that will last and last, but is impractical for anything other than reading, email and text-based communication. For all intents and purposes, this smartphone is a glorified, souped-up eBook reader, rival to Amazon’s Kindle Oasis.