If the iPhone is too boring: unusual smartphones that can surprise you

If the iPhone is too boring: unusual smartphones that can surprise you

The main difficulty when choosing an unusual smartphone is that almost all of them have a typical design in the form of a rectangular candy bar. It is difficult to do something truly new here, so the market has long suffered from a lack of bright ideas. Folding smartphones were able to shake this trend, but in Europe these models are expensive, and questions still arise about their reliability.

However, some brands are trying to do something unusual: experimenting with the design of the camera unit, adding spectacular lighting or a retractable camera. We will tell you about such models. Our selection covers flagship foldable models, mid-range devices, as well as rugged and compact devices – choosing the right smartphone will not be difficult.

Nothing Phone (2)

The first generation of Nothing Phone was released in 2022 and immediately attracted attention: bloggers and the media wrote a lot about the smartphone. The secret is in the spectacular transparent cover and lighting on the back panel. However, this device had many firmware issues, which the company tried to fix with updates. And already in 2023 the second generation entered the market.

Nothing Phone (2) retains the main feature of its predecessor: there is a transparent back panel, under which the wireless charging coil, bolts and cables are visible. And on top there are highlight glyphs. It has not only a decorative function – with its help you begin to interact with the phone in a completely different way.

For example, glyphs will glow when there is an incoming call or message from Telegram. The luminous timer strip will show how much time is left until the end of the workout. And the bright backlight around the entire perimeter of the body will cope with the darkness much better than a regular flashlight.

Photo: nothing.tech

TECNO Phantom V Flip

Samsung remains the most popular folding smartphone manufacturer in 2023. But what to do if Galaxy Flip or Fold are too expensive or have become familiar, but you still want to try an unusual format?

TECNO has released the Phantom V Flip. At first glance, this is a classic flip smartphone, but it has a number of interesting features.

The outer screen is round, like a watch – this is unusual, since most foldable smartphones have a rectangular outer screen. The model is sold not only in black, but also in a delicate lilac color, and both doors of the folding body are covered with eco-leather. The Phantom V Flip is easy to recognize even from afar.

Finally, a foldable smartphone from TECNO is still an unusual choice, so it will ensure the attention of others. This is an image model from a still young brand.

Photo: tecno-mobile.com


The smartphone from HUAWEI turned out to be one of the thinnest foldable devices on the market. Even when folded, it is convenient to use with one hand – and when unfolded, this device turns almost into a tablet with a 7.85-inch display for watching videos and reading websites.

The smartphone does not have a gap between the halves of the body – this is another secret of its compactness. At the same time, HUAWEI Mate X3 received a flagship filling: it is protected from moisture, has fast wired and wireless charging, as well as advanced cameras and a powerful Snapdragon processor. This device looks most interesting in dark green with a leather-like lid.

Another feature of HUAWEI Mate X3 is that it does not support Google services by default. The smartphone is definitely suitable for those who do not want to use the popular ecosystem and prefer Chinese software – this is also a non-standard choice. Although the necessary programs (like YouTube or Gmail) can still be installed on the device yourself.

Photo: huawei.com

Google Pixel 8 Pro

In many countries, Google Pixel smartphones can be seen in the hands of random passers-by. But for Europe, these devices remain exotic: the production volumes of “pixels” are not very large, and they are not officially sold in our country.

Pixel smartphones are loved for their long-term support from the manufacturer, an almost “clean” system without unnecessary applications, and an excellent camera. Google Pixel 8 Pro is the company’s new flagship, which just recently went on sale. Major tech publications around the world agree that the new Pixel is one of the best smartphones for shooting photos and videos.

With Pixel 8 Pro you won’t be able to go unnoticed: the smartphone has a memorable back cover design. The camera block is designed in the form of a horizontal strip, so the “pixel” has no problems with recognition. The smartphone also has nice colors – there is not only classic black, but also bright blue, as well as beige (which the manufacturer itself calls porcelain).

Photo: store.google.com

Google Pixel Fold

If an ordinary “pixel” is no longer enough to stand out in the company of colleagues or friends, you can take a closer look at the Pixel Fold, a folding smartphone from Google.

It is made in the form of a clamshell with two screens – a 5.8-inch external one and a larger internal one, the diagonal of which is 7.6 inches. The design of the Pixel Fold is unmistakable: the back cover is designed in the same style with a horizontal camera block as that of simple “pixels”.

A special feature of Google Pixel Fold is its very high quality of photo and video shooting. This is one of the best camera phones on the market. However, in other respects it lags behind competitors’ foldable devices (such as Samsung). The Pixel Fold has thick frames and a large fold in the hinge between the body halves, which makes the screen bulge and makes it difficult to read and watch videos comfortably.

Photo: store.google.com

Nubia Z50S Pro

This smartphone looks especially good in light brown color. The combination of a black camera block and a two-tone leather-trimmed body makes this smartphone look like a retro camera.

This similarity is not accidental: Nubia Z50S Pro relies on shooting quality. The main camera has a focal length of 35 mm – this is not found in competitors; it is usually wider in mobile cameras (at the same time, the viewing angle increases and many objects are placed in the frame, but the proportions are distorted). Nubia Z50S Pro shoots naturally – with the correct shapes of faces or buildings. In the photo, all objects turn out exactly as they really are.

Smartphones of this brand are almost unknown in Europe and are mainly sold in Asian countries. But the brand itself is not a newcomer: Nubia belongs to ZTE, which has been on the market for many years.

Photo: nubia.com

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

The flagship Xiaomi smartphone is a worthy competitor to the flagships of Samsung or Apple. This is the merit of not only a powerful processor and a high-quality screen. There are many cameras here, they have a complex design and have an optical stabilizer – such a set of optics takes up a lot of space. To prevent the lens block from sticking out so much, a thickening was made in the upper part of the body. Therefore, the smartphone looks hunchbacked, but you definitely won’t confuse it with another.

For the global market, the smartphone is produced in two colors – black and green. But in China you can also order blue, orange or white Xiaomi 13 Ultra. And the gold border around the cameras makes the design of the device even more unusual and eye-catching.

This is one of the best camera phones on the market. It has an impressive zoom, excellent photo detail and high video quality. Other characteristics of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra are also excellent: charging is very fast, stereo sound is loud and clear, and the power reserve is enough for several years to come.

Photo: mi.com

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