08
Jan

Update: According to this post on Engadget, the Hisense X1 is slated to come to the United States in the second quarter of this year. The company will sell the X1 under the "Sliver" brand as an unlocked handset, and they are reportedly pursuing carrier partnerships as well.

The likes of HTC and Samsung have been pushing phones to larger and larger dimensions for years, but humble Chinese manufacturer Hisense is about to shoot for the moon. Their high-end X1 prototype is being shown off at CES 2014, and it's big enough to comfortably fit in a form factor that was previously reserved for "small" tablets. Its 6.8-inch screen makes almost every other phone look small.

hisense-x1_04

Liliputing has an initial hands-on with the device, which has some high-end hardware to match the big frame. The internals match the best of the big brands: 1080p resolution, Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13 megapixel rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera, and a big 3900mAh battery. Impressively for a white-label brand, it also features LTE connectivity, though at the moment the X1 is only being considered for the Chinese market.

hisense-x1_05 hisense-x1_06 (1) hisense-x1_02

Software is Android 4.3 with the usual manufacturer skin, though the navigation buttons are the stock on-screen variety. The enormous body (9.7mm thick) looks like plain old plastic behind that huge slab of glass. A series of Bluetooth accessories will be marketed along with the X1, including a Bluetooth mini-phone for, you know, actually making calls, not unlike HTC's similar device. Pricing and dates for China are up in the air at the moment.

Asia-focused manufacturers have been slow to expand their highest-end devices to the American and European markets, so I doubt we'll see the Hisense X1 over here any time soon. That said, a bigger international manufacturer (probably Samsung) is bound to give this form factor a try sooner or later.

Source: Liliputing

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/adam.skinner Adam Skinner

    Blurs the line? This is .2 inches from being a standard 7" tablet. The line is closer to 6.1".

    • GraveUypo

      exactly. if this is a phone, so is my old ZTE 7" tablet.

    • Braden Abbott

      Just three years ago the $650 flagship from Samsung was only 4.0", I promise you the average is going to keep moving to 7", the Z Ultra is 6.4" and the Mega is 6.3", everyone dogs on these huge phones now but I have been using a 7" 4G tablet as my phone for two years and I promise that it will be the norm soon. At first its kinda weird pocketing it, but being able to use the same device everywhere I go is incredible! Imagine me, sitting on the couch reading Newsstand on my tablet, playing music over Chromecast just relaxing, then my dad calls me, needs help on the computer, so without hesitation I open a remote desktop of his PC at home, running at full 1080p glory in front of me I see his whole desktop with sound and I walk him through the problem. Mom asks if I can pick up my little sister from practice, she tells me the address and I immediately ask Google to "navigate to...", disconnect from Chromecast and my music changes to the tablet as walk to the garage, start the car and the NFC tag on my windshield mount switches audio over to Bluetooth, and I continue my playlist while Google guides me to my destination. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE HAVING ONE DEVICE FOR EVERYTHING! Don't dog on it until you have done it.

      • nwd1911

        I, for one, like your vision of the future/present. Well played, sir.

      • Mike Reid

        +

        I hate that some people say it looks "stupid" to do phone calls or take pictures on a tablet.

        IMO people who say something "looks stupid" are just over self conscious and feel other people will laugh at them if THEY do it.

        Just 2 years ago, my 5" Galaxy Note GT-N7000 seemed to look ludicrously large to be used as a phone. Now 5" has become accepted.

        I don't give a rat's bum if my clothes don't meet other peoples fashion expectations, and the same for their thoughts on how large or small my electronics should be.

      • Steve Freeman

        You must have really big pockets. I'm a decently large dude (6' 1", 220 lbs), and I can barely fit my Nexus 7 in my pockets, and I would never even think of keeping it in my front pocket when sitting in the car (I would be worried it would break).

        • Braden Abbott

          The slimmer 2013 model made it a lot easier, but I normally keep it in my coat pocket and not my pants, and in the car it sits in a windshield mount.

          • Steve Freeman

            What do you at work, or whenever you're not in your car, at home, or wearing a jacket? Even with the 2013 model (which I also have), it's just not comfortable in my pants pockets. It FITS, but it's not comfortable.

          • Braden Abbott

            I work from home so it spends most of the time in my hands haha. But I live in Utah, so I can wear a jacket from September well into May. So I guess I'm not the average guy, but at least half of people leave the house with a bag or purse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Dammit, now I gotta sell my Xperia Z Ultra

  • mesmorino

    "Its 6.8-inch screen makes almost every other phone look small"

    That's probably because almost every other phone IS smaller.

  • CerealFTW

    5-5.2 is perfect imo. and so many people tell me my n5 is huge lol

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      4.7" is ideal for me, with the Moto X being a perfect example of an ergonomic phone. And I say that as someone who uses a DROID MAXX for my personal device - I'll take a slightly bulkier build for that extra battery life.

      • Cesar

        As a Moto X owner, I have to agree, 4.7 is the ideal screen size, and the Moto X has just about the right form factor for it. My nephew has a GS3 and even that feels too big for me. I can't even imagine trying to use something like the Note 3 or HTC One Max.

    • Bjajjull

      Same for me. People thought my N4 was big when I got it, and by that time the S3 and One X had been out for months.
      Well, I live in Sweden, which probably is the country with most iPhones per capita.

  • RajivSK

    I can see why they stick to the Chinese market. All those tiny Americans and certainly those germanic northern european types with their feminine builds could never even palm such a device.

    • frhow

      Lol!!

    • Chris

      I thought Chinese people where the ones with tiny hands.

      • Catilina517

        Small hands only, other things not so small.

        • Chris

          I heard all things are relative to their hands :)

          Including their feet :P

  • disqus_7zCKYC2BSD

    Ok now it's getting ridiculous!! This is a tablet with a cellular radio built in.

  • My name is….

    So this is a 3g tablet.

    Why people call this a phone?

    • Matthew Fry

      Because you can make phone calls on it without connecting to the Internet.

      • Roemraw

        I can also take picture on it without connecting to the internet.
        Clearly it is a 3g touchscreen photocamera with phone capabilities

        • Matthew Fry

          Ok then. By your logic, all slab smartphones are 3g tablets. What does this over-generalization prove exactly?

          • Roemraw

            That blurry lines are blurry

          • Braden Abbott

            I don't like calling them phones either, but I dunno what the right word should be... Not tab or phone that's for sure.

          • Roemraw

            Phablet is a term....
            that I despise

            Maybe Megaphone?

    • abqnm

      You mean a 4G tablet with voice capability.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Wireless headset enables you to make calls from whole range of devices without looking stupid, including smart cars, smart TVs and smart fridges.
    Just don't forget to hold your mic, or at least cover your ear with a hand, to not look like a lunatic.

    • John Smith

      Bluetooth douchebag?

  • Cesar

    So it's essentially a Fonepad?

    • Matthew Merrick

      Better specs than the Fonepad, but it uses the Android phone interface, not the tablet interface

  • KingofPing

    You call that massive?

    Pfft...

    Let me know when it requires a handle and can easily be rested on our shoulders.

  • K

    Just an hour back i was imaging how would it be if apple would make a 6.8 device (its true :))to complement its 7.9 and the 9.7 devices.Since no one else makes it. But then i thought it wouldnt.

    And when i clicked on this site....there is a 6.8!! (although from another manufacturer).

  • K

    Apple or anybody... devices between 5 and 7 will not sell overall as much as sub 5 or 7+ devices. These are too big for phones and too small for tablets. If this costs less than 7 inch then maybe it has chance but i doubt that they canor will price it less than 7 inch tablets.

  • black

    That's what she said.

  • abqnm

    The one good thing I see here is that Hisense ditched the ridiculously stupid screenshot button in the navigation bar that they use on the Sero 7 tablets.

  • SPtheALIEN

    I guess we forgot about the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and the SBH52 (mini phone as accessory).

  • RL010

    WHY ?!?!?!

    • Bjajjull

      Why not?

  • Matthew Merrick

    Got some hands on time with this guy yesterday and I have to say, it's gorgeous. If you love phablets, you'll love this. It's reminiscent of an HTC, with its metal body and stereo front speakers. It actually feels (may or may not actually be) smaller and more ergonomic than the Z Ultra. The rear camera was pretty good, even on the showroom floor, and the 5 MP front camera impressed. The software is themeable, much like a modern LG, and the display is gorgeous.
    Hisense WILL be bringing it to the US, but doesn't expect it to arrive till Q4 2014. Pricing in China is expected to be in the "3-400" range, off contract, and the Chinese version will, according to the reps I spoke to, "be plenty fast on AT&T, but won't have the radios for US LTE" - I'd have to wait for the dedicated American version for that. They also, sadly, kept mum on any hope of updating it past the 4.2 it ships with, though did assure me the American version would still have LTE and the snapdragon 800

    • Jipsee Seven

      I have the z ultra, this is slightly bigger(.4") but I would get, more for shirts and giggles I guess.

      • Matthew Merrick

        oh, I know the SCREEN is bigger, but the device itself does not feel bigger - and, due to small bezels, quite possibly may BE smaller than the ZU. I don't have official measurements.

        • MarylandUSA

          I read somewhere that it's only 79mm wide, but I don't believe it. At 79, it would let it fit into a men's shirtpocket with 6 or 7mm to spare. But I'm not aware of any shirtpocket phablet with a screen larger than 6.1 inches (Huawei Ascend Mate). Even the Sony, with its 6.44-inch screen, won't fit.

  • mgamerz

    ...

  • Jordan

    To try & counter all the negativity in the comments... Obviously people are nowhere near ready for this yet... but I could see people eventually carrying around phones of this size one day. Phone calls wouldn't be made as they are traditionally, rather everybody would be wearing something like Google Glass. I don't personally think that's too far fetched.

    • Anna

      truue or a bluetooth headset!! not so futuristic!

  • Cat Astrophy

    Note 3 is perfect. There's no more room for the bezel to really get smaller unless they go with that weird curved screen so if the Note 4 actually has a larger body I'll pass.

  • John

    So it's almost as big as a Nexus 7. I'm holding one right now, and trying to imagine using it as a phone. I feel ridiculous just thinking about it.

  • RH

    no LTE, won't even think about it. China wants to dent the USA market, they need to put LTE radios in their devices.

    • Peter

      Read the article, it does have LTE.

  • odinsleep

    there is no blurred line here at all.

    this is not a phone.

    this is not a phablet.

    it is a tablet that has a cell radio.

    • Peter

      You're wrong - this is a phone for the Asian market and I see plenty of women carrying Galaxy Notes and similar around. They slip easily into a handbag but I concede I personally wouldn't consider anything that won't fit in my pocket.

      • odinsleep

        it does not matter where this is marketed.

        at this size it is not a phone. period.

        many tablets have cell radios in them and can make calls.

        do you call your home desktop a phone as well ?

  • ZhoraGosha

    I'd say you best to have two:

    one phone to make calls and to be able to put in shorts, skinny jeans, where ever you go, yes it may contain all the features of 2013 flagship, yet it really shoudn't

    AND

    have the second device - communication and consupmtion-wise perfect, which demand a good screen 6.4-8.4 inches and that is it.

    ALSO

    there a third reasonable category - productionworkleasure oriented NOT on the go devices, which include uber power and 9-12 inch size - perfect to use in car, at office or sipping coffee - where ever you won't need to be avtive orand change your location every sec.

    And there's nothing to debate about.

    P.S. I like every bit about this device, if it's gonna be in a reasonable 400 USD price range, except those HiSense's all over it, they sould opt for re-branding or just minimize it to such extent so that without really wanting to find you won't be able to see it, leaving it to be a great piece of hardware and design.

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