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This $400, 3D gaming smartphone from Snail Mobile promises not to be a slowcoach

Not all modern smartphones have to look like the iPhone (or the Galaxy S6), as proven by Snail Games, makers of the new Snail Mobile W3D. Which looks like a PlayStation Vita instead. It’s the latest entry into the phones-designed-for gaming niche, occupied by, well, not much these days. Sony had a go with with the Xperia Play, and Nokia did its best with the N-Gage, plus Archos makes the odd gaming tablet too.

There’s an excellent chance you’ve never heard of Snail Mobile. However, the Chinese company is active in the gaming community, produces a healthy array of mobile games, runs an MVNO, and in addition to the phone, also makes an Android games console called the OBox. Limited recognition can often mean you won’t be able to buy its products, but the W3D smartphone is available to pre-order through Amazon right now.

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You may have worked out one of its big features, thanks to the name. The 5.5-inch, 1080p screen provides a glasses-free 3D viewing experience, using eye-tracking cameras just like Amazon’s own Fire Phone. The Snail W3D won’t be a slouch either, and is powered by a 2.2GHz MediaTek MT6595 octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM. Android 4.4 KitKat is installed.

Because this is a phone for gamers, it has gaming controls. There’s a regular D-pad, a set of shoulder buttons, dual analog joysticks, and a selection of action buttons mounted either side of the display. This keeps it finger-free for the best possible playing experience. It’s possible to map the on-screen buttons to the physical controls, so you won’t have to worry about in-game support for the system.

Other features include a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front cam, a 4200mAh battery for seven hours of continuous gaming, 16GB of memory plus a MicroSD card slot, and an interesting dual-USB system for charging and syncing with a computer simultaneously. The W3D will connect to GSM and CDMA networks, has dual-SIM support, and provides 4G LTE connectivity.

It’s priced at $400 on Amazon, and set for release on September 29.