Chinese startup Smartisan (featured as one of our top up-and-coming Chinese brands) has been a bit quiet since last year, when they launched their very first handset – the T1. The phone was great. Its design was hard to beat and internals were comparable to those of the big guys. Fast forward over a year and the small company has once again come out of its hiding spot, this time showcasing an enticing new smartphone.
Unlike the Smartisan T1, this new handset is meant for the masses. The new Smartisan U1 is only 899 yuan ($140 USD)! And you are not getting crumbs for this little money either, which is usually the case with most super affordable smartphones.
This device sports a respectable 5.5-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 615 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16-32 GB of internal storage, dual SIM slots, a 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing shooter and a 2900 mAh battery.
The phone is also quite the looker. Yes, it’s mostly made of cheap materials like plastic, but the U1 doesn’t look ugly or flimsy. In fact, its bright colors and clean design may appeal to a younger demographic, which is likely the market Smartisan is targeting with this new phone.
The OS is quite different from what most of us are used to. These phones run Smartisan OS, which is pretty much another Android ROM. The interface is super simple, but in its own manner; It looks nothing like vanilla Android. Everything is in the form of tiles. There’s no app drawer, but you can zoom out to see multiple home pages at once, keeping all your apps within reach. I believe it’s a fun UI, and it should get better with the 2.0 update set to launch on September 15th.
Pricing will start at 899 yuan, as stated above, but those who want to upgrade to the 32 GB version will have to pay 999 yuan (about $156 USD). The Smartisan U1 launches on September 1st, but only in China. We have no details on when (or if) the phone is coming to other markets. We sure hope it does! I would definitely recommend this one to casual users. The Snapdragon 615 is a pretty good mid-range processor, and the other specs are more than decent for the price point!
Would you buy a Smartisan U1 if it came to your market and you were looking for an affordable handset?