Ulefone may not be a very well-known brand, at least not in the West, but the company has certainly put out a few good-looking and very reasonably priced smartphones in the past months. Even better — unlike some of its rivaling China-based handset slingers, the company has partnered up with various well-known 3rd party resellers, officially endorsing international sales of its devices, which makes them easy to track down and buy from a reputable place. The manufacturer has just announced the latest member of its handset portfolio, called the Ulefone Future, with a balance between price and hardware that would pique anyone's interest.
The Future is certainly a head-turner thanks to a design that eliminates its side bezels, giving the display that “infinity pool” effect, which only a few smartphones currently have. The screen has a 5.5-inch diagonal, but, thanks to the bezel-less design, the device manages to hit a 75% screen-to-body ratio, giving it a rather compact footprint — 5.96 x 2.89 x 0.34 in (151.5 x 73.5 x 8.6mm). The phone's body is fully made of metal, save for the plastic strips at the back, of course. All of the hardware buttons can be found on the right – the Future has a volume rocker, a power button, and an autonomous fingerprint scanner, which is located slightly below the power button. We can't be sure why the biometric sensor and power key weren't combined, but according to Ulefone, users will still be able to wake the phone up just by placing their finger on the scanner.
Hardware and camera
The Ulefone Future packs a 2 GHz, octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 SoC with an ARM Mali-T860 GPU, a generous 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of expandable internal storage, a USB Type-C port, and a 3,000 mAh battery, which, according to Ulefone, can be charged from 0% to 100% in just 1 hour via the stock wallcharger. The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the manufacturer promises that it offers pure, vanilla experience with no extra re-skinning, so we are hoping to see snappy performance from the handset.
The main camera has an F2.0 aperture lens and is equipped with a 16 MP Samsung-made S5K3P3 sensor. Not to be confused with the sensors you'd find on a Galaxy S6 or the Note 5, this one features smaller, 1.0 μm pixels, which, in turn, makes the sensor more compact, making it easier to fit in thinner camera modules. It still features Sammy's ISOCELL technology, which places physical barriers between individual pixels to eliminate color crosstalk. The snapper is assisted by phase detection autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash. On the front, we have a 5 MP selfie cam.
As for connectivity, the Ulefone Future works on GSM 850, 900, 1800 (band 5, band 8, band 3), WCDMA 900, 2100 (band 8, band 1), FDD-LTE 800, 1800, 2100, 2600 (band 20, band 3, band 1, band 7), and TDD-LTE 2300 (Band 40), so be sure to check if your carrier supports these, if you are eyeballing the handset.
Price and launch
Ulefone is kicking off The Future with a special 2,000 unit flash sale, which will start on the 4th of May, at 2 AM (PDT) / 5 AM (EST) / 9 AM (UTC). These promotional devices will only cost $199.99, but will come with nothing but a USB Type-C charging / data cable. After the 4th of May, the pre-purchase price goes up to $239.99 for a batch of 30,000 units, each bundled with a set of accessories, such as a TPU cover, screen protector, a fast-charge wallplug, and a Type-C to micro USB converter. On the 25th of May, the Future will retail for its full price of $269.99. Of course, bear in mind that you will also have to pay shipping fees and import taxes, where applicable. Whenever buying such an exotic handset, it's also a good idea to see if it supports the bands of your carrier.