Every trade show has a few gems. This year at MWC, one of the most impressive was from Ulefone, with its new T2 Pro smartphone. The device, due to be released in July, was an unexpected delight of the show.

What makes the phone interesting, compared to other devices on the show floor, is the design. Ulefone list it as a 6.7-inch device, with a 2160x1080 (19:9) display, but by using a combination of an edge-to-edge display, a notch for the front facing camera, and a fingerprint sensor under the screen, the device is a similar size to other Pro flagships. Ultimately what we are looking at is the future, moving to near 100% displays on the front facing real estate. We are clearly going above 90% with a device like this.

I'm going to be bold and say this is what almost all smartphone vendors will do, and soon. The notch extends the screen right to the top of the device, and keeps the camera in the same place (unlike the Mi MIX). Having the fingerprint sensor in the display (or the rear) removes almost all the bottom bezel. Until the camera can also be put into the display, this is how phones are going to go. The Ulefone T2 Pro is the second device we now know of with an in-screen fingerprint sensor, alongside a device made by Vivo, and we confirmed that the Synaptics sensor is being used.

The device has a specific 'first', in that it was showcased as the first implementation of MediaTek's P70 processor. Mediatek has only just announced the P60 at Mobile World Congress, so this device is essentially preannouncing the SoC. We were not able to get specific details about it, but expect it to be a 4x4 Arm Cortex A73/A53 implementation, with Mali G72 in some form, perhaps on TSMC's 12FFC process. We are awaiting information from Ulefone. We tried to benchmark it, but the software was very early.

Despite being such a big screen, as someone who uses ~6-inch display devices day to day, it really did not feel that different. The demo units had plastic curved rears, but we were told that the final units will be curved glass. The software on the units was super buggy and barely booted, crashing in chrome, showing just how early in the cycle these devices are. We were told that there will be some software adjustments to take account of the notch, as the OS was clearly just ignoring it at this point. The rounded corners also cause some overlap for the display, which will have to be optimized for.

So despite the device rear being broken (apparently some journalists earlier in the week dropped it on purpose?) the device felt premium. Along with the display, it we were told it will ship with 8 GB of memory, 128 GB storage, and a 5000 mAh battery. This last one I am a bit skeptical of, as the phone was very light - lighter than expected for 5000 mAh. It could be that the demo unit had a smaller battery in, but if that was representative of a final device, then it comes across as a very nice design.

This is the point that I tell you that it might be impossible to get one. Ulefone mainly operates in China as one of the secondary smartphone brands, but we were told that they are branching out to Europe at least, through retailers. We were told that the estimated price for the unit is expected to be $380, though that might be confused with the wholesale price and doesn't include tax. Assuming the P70 is a nice and highly optimized SoC, then the T2 Pro could easily be a really nice smartphone to use. 

We don't give awards at these shows, but this would be something close to an unexpected surprise. I hope that Ulefone can deliver.

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  • superdave643 - Wednesday, March 07, 2018 - link

    Someone's math is off. 19:9 would give 2280x1080. Some creative accounting with the upper notch might be the culprit. Nice phone anyway if it is polished when released and really has a 5000 mAh battery. Reply
  • serendip - Wednesday, March 07, 2018 - link

    I'm a monster phablet fan but not from the likes of Ulefone, Elephone, Elephant or whatever. Software support is always an issue on Chinese Android devices other than Huawei and Xiaomi.

    Ok Xiaomi, let's make a Mi Max with a massive 18:9 screen, no notch and no bezels...
  • lucam - Thursday, March 08, 2018 - link

    When iPhone X review? Reply
  • Quantumz0d - Thursday, March 08, 2018 - link

    A shame that 2018 has been the year of Notches. Apple did that because they couldn't pull off a better design, lack of incentive to push for be it poor taste in design or whatever.

    Android OEMs copying that is so bad. Android P has support for this.

    Why is display mutilation being top priority for everyone, 18:9, fancy curved screens, rounded corners, now this ?
  • peevee - Thursday, March 08, 2018 - link

    "MediaTek's P70 processor. Mediatek has only just announced the P60 at Mobile World Congress, so this device is essentially preannouncing the SoC. We were not able to get specific details about it, but expect it to be a 4x4 Arm Cortex A73/A53"

    Not A75/A55? And why 4x4 when it would be 4+4?
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, March 08, 2018 - link

    The notch isn't a bad idea. I sometimes poke at my phone's screen to see the time or the battery level. If that information was always on display even when I was using an otherwise full screen app, I think it'd be helpful based on how I use a phone. What bothers me about this design is the 6.7 inch screen. There's very little bezel/edge/whatever around the screen, but I don't think a device that size would be comfortable to hold or easy carry around on a daily basis. It'll get even more cumbersome with a case and glass screen protector adding a bit of thickness. Reply
  • Rod_Serling_Lives - Saturday, March 10, 2018 - link

    You guys have became shamefully unreliable in reviewing mobile phones and you bring me this Frankenstein of an Apple knockoff. I know some people are interested, but give me something to work with. Reply
  • X-Nemesis - Saturday, March 10, 2018 - link

    If you were to guess, how many updates will this phone see, be it security or OS updates? Maybe 1? Reply
  • mabl4367 - Monday, March 12, 2018 - link

    The 8GB RAM I can understand but what's the 128GB ROM for? Should it be 128GB Flash perhaps? Reply
  • mabl4367 - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    What is the 128GB ROM for? Bloatware? Reply

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