Ever heard of Freetel? The relatively new Japanese handset manufacturer has been offering sleek, affordable phones in its home country and touts the quality of Japanese design and manufacturing in its devices. At CES, the company announced that it’s bringing its device lineup into North America.
Freetel’s phones are unlocked and will have LTE capabilities. The first three devices that will make it over the Pacific are the company’s flagship Kiwami, the Miyabi, and the Priori3. The phones will be available in the first quarter of 2016. Most of the company’s phones have a rectangular-slab look featuring sharp edges, and the backs of the devices are reminiscent of OnePlus devices.
The Kiwami qualifies as a phablet at 6 inches and offers a wide QHD display. The company says it has a 2K display and a 3,400mAh battery to keep it juiced up. It supports fast-charging technology so it won’t take too long to fully charge. It’s powered by an octa-core processor, but the company hasn’t listed exactly which one. The Kiwami has a 21-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front one, 3GB of RAM, and a fingerprint sensor — all for $389.
All the devices coming to the U.S. will run Android 5.1 Lollipop — and the company’s vice president and director of global business development, Eugene Yoshioka, told Digital Trends that Freetel will likely bring updates as soon as the latest version of Android is stable. That being said, don’t expect to see Android 6.0.1 on these devices in the coming months.
Another budget option coming to the U.S. is the Miyabi — a $199 5-inch smartphone with a 1,280 x 720p IPS display. It has a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing one. Given its smaller size, it obviously has a smaller battery, which comes in at 2,200mAh.
The 4.5-inch Priori3 is the company’s cheapest offering, with a stunningly weak resolution of 854 x 480p. The device only has a slightly smaller 2,100mAh battery compared to the Miyabi, a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel rear camera.
The company also has two Windows phones in its lineup, but it doesn’t seem like the company will be bringing them to North America anytime soon. It is however, bringing the Musashi towards the end 2016. The Musashi is an interesting device as it’s a Android-powered flip phone — the likes of which we have seen already, so it’ll be interesting to see what the device can offer when it arrives.
The devices should work on U.S. GSM carriers, and the company has plans to bring its devices to retailers and other carriers. You’ll be able to buy the phones on Amazon and the company’s website, FreetelWireless.com. The company’s website also says it is planning to launch in more countries as well.
Specs are all talk, so we’ll have to wait until we can get a hold of these devices to see if they can really offer a solid experience for such low price points.