A new gaming smartphone may be coming to the West soon
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Snail Mobile has debuted their new gaming-oriented smartphone, the i7, at MWC Shanghai. You'd be forgiven for mistaking the device for a PS Vita at first glance. It looks very inspired by Sony's handheld, to put it nicely. Nevertheless, the i7 is an Android gaming device and it is coming very soon to China, and possibly later the West.
The device's specs include the following:
- MediaTek Helio X20 SoC
- 6 GB of RAM
- 64 GB of internal storage
- 16-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front cameras
- Dual SIM slots
- 6,000 mAh battery
- USB Type-C port
- Stereo speakers
The processor and RAM are, obviously, the main components responsible for running games on the i7's 6-inch, 1080p screen. The Helio X20 may not be high-end gaming material, but it should be enough to fluidly run most mainstream Android games, and should comfortably run emulators for weaker consoles such as the SNES, GBA, and Nintendo DS. And given the large capacity of its battery, the i7 should be able to handle extended gameplay sessions.
Anyone who's ever played video games on a Vita will be instantly familiar with the i7's button layout. There are two analog sticks—one on each side of the screen—although they are placed in an Xbox-like configuration instead of directly opposite each other. A d-pad, four action buttons, and two shoulder-mounted triggers (or side-mounted, I suppose, since this is a phone) are all there to make playing games on the i7 feel as natural as possible.
Snail Mobile plans to launch the i7 in China in August, and is seriously considering bringing it to the West—meaning Europe and the US—later this year. The unique handset will retail for 1,899 yuan, or about US $280. That seems like a pretty fair price for the features this phone brings. A "premium" model will also be released later this year, featuring 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Surprisingly, it will cost only a few dollars more: just over 2,000 yuan, or US $295.
As a final note, Engadget notes that a Snail Mobile rep assured them that the i7 on display is a "pre-production model" and that "a more polished" version version of the device will go on sale next month.