Hisense C20 hands-on


Walking through central hall at the CES 2016 trade show, there’s no shortage of brand names that stand out prominently. Names like Intel, Qualcomm, LG, Samsung, and Sony have no problems garnering attention simply because of their recognition in the consumer electronics space. However, there was one name that we might’ve overlooked if it weren’t for an interesting drop test demo that was occurring in its booth. The company in question is Hisense, a Chinese company known for its television sets, but they caught our attention with its Hisense C20 Android-powered smartphone.


Watching the live demo of the Hisense C20 being dropped time-after-time inside of this contraption, it’s undoubtedly something that’s meant to withstand punishment. Add to that, the C20 features a water-resistant IP67 construction to survive submersion for an extended amount of time, but you’ll have to remember to make sure that the 3.5mm headset jack is plugged by the included nub. Besides that, the Hisense C20’s design language reminds us of the iPhone 4/4S because how its metal trim bezel is sandwiched by Gorilla Glass 4. Considering that there are few phones on the market nowadays that feature a water and shock resistant design, the C20 clearly stands out.


At first glance, the C20’s screen appears to have the qualities of AMOLED technology, like having wide viewing angles and saturated colors, but this 5-inch 720 x 1280 panel is in fact an IPS one. We’re forgiving of the 720p resolution, seeing that at 5-inches, it’s more than sufficient to produce sharp details, but it’s further complemented by those AMOLED-like characteristics. There’s a potent glow that enchants our eyes upon looking at it, and that’s reason enough for us to like it.


Running a custom skin on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop, it attempts to be as a minimalist as it can, however, we’re not fans of how it eliminates the traditional apps panel. That’s because it makes for one cluttered homescreen that can quickly become disorganized. There’s a side-screen too that seems to emulate the Window’s 10 tiled interface, but it’s undoubtedly static with its presentation – as opposed to the dynamic live tiles found with Microsoft’s mobile platform. Even though we’re spending only a fraction of time with Hisense’s custom Android experience, it seems to cover the basics, but hardly the powerful punch we get from other, respectable experiences.

Processor and Memory

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8920 SoC running the show, accompanied with 2GB of RAM too, it’s an effective combo to handle the easy and fluffy stuff – such as running around the interface with decent finesse. Nevertheless, we’re a bit cautious about this one, just because this particular chipset isn’t known for being a powerhouse when it comes to 3D gaming.

Endowed with 16GB of internal storage, it’s really not too bad of a tally knowing that it can be supplemented by its microSD card slot.


Based on the camera specs of the phone, the Hisense C20 can be passed off as a mid-ranger because of the 13-megapixel camera slapped on its back – while the front one comes in at 5-megapixels. Naturally, being a smaller player in the mobile space, we’re a bit reluctant to give this one a pass until we can adequately check out some of its samples for ourselves. Still, the combination isn’t too bad considering the specs.


Before diving into the nitty-gritty, just know that the Hisense C20 isn’t coming to the US. Instead, you’ll have to import it from overseas if you’re interested in this water and shock-resistant phone. No doubt, those characteristics alone make it a notable standout in the smartphone space nowadays, but are you really willing to risk trying out a phone from a company that has barely any presence in the US. Some folks won’t mind given what it brings to the table, however, it’ll undoubtedly hinge on its pricing and whatnot – something that wasn’t made public at the booth.

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