Smartisan Hopes to Woo Consumers With a Minimalist New Flagship

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This holiday season Chinese smartphone manufacturer Smartisan Technology Co., Ltd. (锤子科技) launched its newest smartphone, the Smartisan T2. The T2 follows Smartisan’s first flagship model, the T1, after more than two years of development.

The T2’s exterior is a stripped down, minimalist design. The power button is integrated into the home button and the nano SIM tray is hidden behind volume key on the right side, leaving the phone largely buttonless. In addition to an all metal frame which Smartisan describes as “seamless”, the T2 is coated in 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3 to improve the phone’s durability and display.

While Smartisan has invested heavily in the T2’s look and feel, the company has settled for rather standard hardware. The T2 is equipped with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and a 2670 mAh battery, putting it behind devices like the Mi Note Pro and Meizu’s Pro 5. The T2 also comes with a maximum of 32GB of internal storage, which is half the storage that many of T2’s competitors offer. The T2 also comes with a 13 megapixel rear camera, a 5 megapixel front camera, and Smartisan’s OS 2.5.

Founded in 2012, Beijing-based Smartisan has struggled to compete in China’s crowded smartphone market, which includes companies like Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu and OnePlus. When Smartisan launched the T1 in July 2014, only 122,000 phones were sold by December due to supply chain problems, according to Yonghao Luo, the company’s founder.

Nevertheless, Luo’s unconventional background as an English teacher and high school dropout, as well as his popularity – Luo has about thirteen million followers on Weibo – has helped to boost Smartisan’s public image. In 2014, Smartisan received $29 million USD in funding, about four months after a round of Series A funding in 2013.

The T2 is the third smartphone in Smartisan’s portfolio of smartphones, which includes the Smartisan T1 and the Smartisan U1 Jianguo. It is currently being sold for 2,499 RMB ($385 USD).