Philips is far from a company most smartphone users think of when asked to list manufacturers. Especially for those of us focused on markets in the West, Philips handsets are few and far between. But in spite of that, we’ve found ourselves captivated by the company’s hardware on more than one occasion, like the launch of its W6618 smartphonewith that preposterously capable 5300mAh battery. Today there’s another Philips model catching our eye, as the manufacturer introduces its I966 Aurora.
If you’re a fan of squared-off phones like you’ll find in Sony’s stable, the Aurora likely speaks to you. It’s got a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 display, a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 3000mAh battery that sounds decently large in its own right. There’s a 20.7MP Sony camera module around back, as well as a big 8MP front-facer. Right below the main camera, you’ll find a fingerprint scanner.
Pretty damn solid, right? So what’s the catch? Well, there are several: for one, Aurora looks like it’s coming to China only. And despite what you might assume, this phone doesn’t run capital-A Android; instead, it’s powered by the somewhat controversial YunOS, which depending on whom you ask is either an incompatible Android fork or an independent Linux-based smartphone platform. Suffice it to say, you probably won’t be importing this guy.
Pricing looks like it’s on the lower side for a flagship, coming in at the equivalent of about $600, but keep in mind that Philips is competing against more established smartphone brands. In the end, we find ourselves wishing Philips might embrace straight-up Android and bring this guy to other nations, but we also understand the desire to make a phone custom-tailored for the Chinese market.