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At last, Archos has made a pair of smartphones to get excited about

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French technology company Archos has never made phones to get really excited about. The mostly midrange devices have been solid, if unremarkable, entries into a crowded market — but that’s about to change this summer. Archos has four new phones coming, and two are potential winners if they can live up to the promises made by the design, specs, and price.

The first is the Archos Sense 55S, and it has a bezel-less screen that makes it look something like the Xiaomi Mi Mix, and to a lesser extent, the new Essential PH-1. However, while those two phones will cost you at least $650, the Archos Sense 55S will cost 170 British pounds, which is around $215. That’s a huge difference, of course, and even if the Sense 55S’s screen isn’t quite as flashy as the more expensive phones mentioned above, that’s still a whole lot of cool design for not a lot of money.

Archos Sense 55S

Surely the specs suffer? It’s not a flagship killer, but it’s still strong. We don’t know the processor inside the phone yet; but we do know the IPS screen measures 5.5 inches and has a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, and gives the phone a 78-percent screen-to-body ratio. There’s only a small bezel at the top of the phone and down the sides, but the space beneath the screen is quite large. For comparison, the Xiaomi Mi Mix has a screen-to-body ratio of 84 percent. On the back, sitting above a fingerprint sensor, is a dual-lens camera, and each lens has 8 megapixels. A 3,000mAh battery is inside the device, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space. Android 7.0 Nougat is the phone’s operating system.

The second tempting phone from Archos is the Diamond Alpha (pictured at the top of the page), which has a sleek metal body, and a dual-lens camera. Archos has teamed up with Chinese brand Nubia on the Alpha and its sister phone the Gamma, and it shows in the minimalist design and dark color palette. We’re fans of Nubia’s phones, and a partnership with Archos is good news.

We know more about the Diamond Alpha’s specs. A Snapdragon 652 chip and 4GB of RAM provide the power, and it has a 5.2-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel screen on the front, with Gorilla Glass over the top. The two 13-megapixel cameras on the back are made by Sony, and like the Huawei P10, one shoots in color and the other in monochrome. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie cam above the screen. The Diamond Alpha will cost 350 British pounds, or about $450, which puts it into territory owned by Honor, a brand Archos says it’s targeting with these new devices.

Archos Sense 50X (left) and Archos Diamond Gamma (right)

The Diamond Alpha and Sense 55S are joined by two other phones, the midrange, 200 British pound ($255), Diamond Gamma which has also been developed in partnership with Nubia, and the 250 British pound ($320) Sense 50X, a rugged phone with a MediaTek chip inside, and an IP68 water and dust resistance rating. Neither sets the heart racing like the other two models.

Archos will release all four phones this July in the U.K., but we’ve yet to hear about a wider international release.

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