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Meet the X1, the biggest phone you've never heard of

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February 13, 2014

The HiSense X1 is a handful with its 6.8 inch display

The HiSense X1 is a handful with its 6.8 inch display

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HiSense, a Chinese-based and state-owned manufacturer best known for its range of white goods and other household electrical appliances, is planning to bring its X1 mobile device to the US later this year. With its 6.8-inch display, the device straddles the blurry phablet line between tablet and smartphone.

I had a chance to spend some time with the X1 at CES 2014 in Las Vegas last month, and since then HiSense has launched the huge phablet on China Mobile. Company representatives at CES said the handful-and-a-half of a device should make its way to the US this Northern summer (sorry, no word on other markets).

With its 6.8 in display, the HiSense X1 might as well be a Nexus 7 with a 4G radio (technically it is only compatible with HSPA+ networks in the US). Personally, that's a concept that I might be interested in – see my review of the just slightly smaller Samsung Galaxy Mega for more on that.

As huge phones like this haven't been catching on with consumers, top sellers like the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4 have been getting bigger than their predecessors each year, and the X1 shows us what the logical progression of that trend could look like.

The form factor is still taller and more phone-like than a full-blown 7-inch tablet, so you'll only feel a little bit ridiculous putting this monster to your ear. The actual build of the phone feels a bit cheap with its all-plastic construction, but I was impressed by how crisp the 1920x1080 IPS display is.

Only a little ridiculous-looking against the human head
Only a little ridiculous-looking against the human head

The actual operation of the X1 was pretty slick, snappy and responsive as well, with a quad-core Snadragon 800 2.3 GHz processor much like what you'll find in many of the top flight phones of 2013. Those guts are backed up by 2 GB of RAM and a beefy 3,900 mAh battery. Other key specs include a 5-megapixel camera on the front and 13-MP shooter on the back, 16 GB of storage space and Android 4.3, although I was told it will ship with KitKat (4.4).

The X1 is lightly skinned over an Android base

There's been some reporting that we could see the X1 offered through a few of the major American carriers. If not, it will be available unlocked under a different name as the "Sliver X1".

While I've been unable to confirm any details on price, HiSense considers the X1 to be a mid-range phone, which means it could be competing with the likes of the Moto X, which can be had unlocked for as little as US$329 at the moment. I doubt we'll see the X1 available for so little, but with more Chinese phone makers eyeing other major markets, and Motorola's recent sale to Lenovo, I think we can expect to see some new names getting some traction – but it's too soon to say if the X1 and other huge phones like it will ride that wave.

About the Author
Eric Mack Eric Mack has been covering technology and the world since the late 1990s. As well as being a Gizmag regular, he currently contributes to CNET, NPR and other outlets.   All articles by Eric Mack
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8 Comments

When I read the headline, I sniffed, "Ha! I've heard of all the supersize phablets, all the way to Sony's 6.44-inch XPeria Z Ultra." Well, ya GOT me: I hadn't heard of a phablet THIS big!

I've read that the dimensions are 152.8 x 79 x 9.7mm, but I don't see how the 79mm figure can be true. The widest shirtpocket phablets measure 84 to 86mm, and their screens top out at 6.1 inches.

I've also read that the X1 will be followed by an LTE version (LTE + HSPA+?), the X3. Until then, please let the X1 work on T-Mobile's 1700 MHz band!

Paul Stregevsky
14th February, 2014 @ 08:26 am PST

Found a hands on look on Youtube, I want one!

morongobill
14th February, 2014 @ 08:51 am PST

Tablet phone? Nah

Francis Short Jr
14th February, 2014 @ 09:31 am PST

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8, I am using right now to read this, is bigger!

Phablet wirh 8" screen is fine for me as I rately get calls and use Internet all the time.

Kääriäinen Heikki Haykey
14th February, 2014 @ 01:15 pm PST

Not the biggest. As above, Galaxy note line tablet have models with phone function, then there is the Asus padfone 7 inch. Galaxy line goes all the way up to 10 inches.

Dawar Saify
14th February, 2014 @ 03:00 pm PST

Biger means they flex easier and crack screens faster. New screens, at least on the big Sony, cost the same price as a new phone.

christopher
16th February, 2014 @ 08:27 pm PST

TabletMaxx -- is one of the first sources the Hisense X1 is available through in the U.S.A -- and also offers several other new models to launch at CES - including the Idol X+ ... one of the first Android phones with the new Octa-Core processor (Mediatek MT6592 - A7, 28nm chip)

Jessi Sadler
17th February, 2014 @ 02:18 am PST

Thanks for the pointer, Jessi. The X1 is listed at TabletMaxx under Smartphones. The site repeats the claimed dimensions of 152.8 x 79 x 9.7mm, but I continue to maintain that the 79mm figure is mathematically impossible: When you run the numbers through http://www.sven.de/dpi/ , you find that a 6.8-inch 16:9 display measures 84.7mm across, before adding the bezel.

For TMobile fans, you're good to go with LTE and HSPA+ provided that neither band runs on TMobile's 1700 MHz frequency:

4G networks: 4G-LTE 800/850/900/1800/1900/2100

3G networks: WCDMA 800/850/900/1800/1900/2100 MHz

2G networks: WCDMA 800/850/900/1800/1900 MHz

Paul Stregevsky
17th February, 2014 @ 05:23 am PST
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