One of the most interesting brands so far is Newman (a clever choice of name for a Chinese company), which has already proven itself with several high quality, high spec handsets going for a ridiculously low price, chief amongst them being the Newman K1 – a $200 smartphone that had a 720p 5.0 inch IPS display, a quad core processor and a great build quality that you would not expect to find on such a cheap device.
The phone hasn’t been released yet, but we already have several photos showing off its design, and the K2 looks more or less like its predecessor, which in this case is a good thing. The tried-and-true housing should retain the same build quality and while the phone does look like a Samsung copy, it’s still sufficiently different that you won’t mistake the two side by side. The only bad thing about it that it has a simple laminated glass on the front – while these are still pretty hard to scratch or crack, they’re not Gorilla Glass or Dragontrail, that’s for sure.
Hardware features and performance
The hardware of the Newman K2 seems almost unbelievable for the price. The K2 comes in two models, Basic and Advanced, with the only differences being the amount of RAM (1GB in the former, 2 GB in the latter), storage space (16 GB vs 32 GB) and of course, price. 1GB of RAM is still enough for everyday usage, although 2GB will probably become a necessity in a year or two, and storage space doesn’t really matter since you can always add more for cheap with a micro SD card.
The other specs remain the same between both versions. The screen is a 5.5 inch IPS LCD with a Full HD resolution, which is the main attraction here, and it’s amazing that you can get it for under $300. The processor is a MediaTek MT6589T quad core running at 1.5 GHz, which is more than enough for any kind of usage. Even though MediaTek’s first ARM chips were power hogs, this quad core is actually more energy efficient than the company’s previous generation dual cores, and on par with the 1.9 GHz Snapdragon inside the Galaxy S4.
The other specs include a 13 Megapixels camera with an LED flash on the back and a 2 Megapixels unit on the front (both of which are much better than the 5-8 MP blurry cams that were previously used on Chinese handsets), Wifi N, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, HSPA+, a micro USB port and of course, the staple of MediaTek, a dual SIM GSM radio.
|Display||5.5 inches, 1920×1080 pixels, IPS LCD, 400 PPI pixel density|
|Processor||MediaTek MT6589T, 1.5 GHz, quad core|
|RAM||1024 MB (Basic version); 2048 MB (Advanced version)|
|Graphics adapter||PowerVR SGX544MP|
|Storage Space||Onboard: 16 GB (Basic version); 32 GB (Advanced version);
Micro SD card slot: up to 64 GB cards supported
|Camera(s)||Back – 13 Megapixels with support for 1080p video recording; Front: 2 Megapixels with support for 720p video recording|
|Connectivity Options||Wifi N, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, HSPA+, dual SIM, micro USB port|
|Sensors||Light, proximity, magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer sensors|
|Battery||Li-Ion, 2500 mAh, up to 12 hours of continuous use|
|Dimensions and weight||153 x 78 x 9.8 mm, 190 grams|
|Operating System and Software||Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (LeWa OS)|
The Newman K2 will come with Android 4.2.2, in the form of LeWa OS, one of the most attractive Android ROMs on the market. The interface is really nice, while at the same time being fast and stable – not what you’d expect from a relatively unknown open source project. If you don’t like it, you can always wait for third party ROMs, which should pop up pretty soon after the phone is released.
Price and Availability
Here’s the kicker for the Basic version, you’ll only need to pay $259 – that’s unlocked, without a contract. It’s an amazing price for what you get, that’s for sure. If you want to step up to 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage, you’ll need to shell out $359, which seems like a reasonable increase. As always, it’s best to wait a bit until reviews of the phone come in from early adopters, but if it’s anything like the K1, this phone will be a success and a great buy for anyone – it’s already being released in China and soon enough, online stores should have it in stock, as well.