Introducing Manta 7X: The Phone with No Physical Buttons
Asian phonemakers deserve more credit than they get when it comes to smartphone design. There’s been some inventive choices in some of their phones of recent years. Examples such as the Aquos Crystal and its bezel-free carcass come to mind, or the Oppo R5 and its 4.85mm width, which is so compressed that there was no way to accommodate a 3.5mm jack. Unlike the world-renowned OEMs, they usually try to stray from the norm and cater to the niche markets that want no bezels, ultra-thin phones or… a spinning camera that acts as both front and back facing shooter. I’m not sure who wanted that, though.
Chinese manufacturers have taken an affinity for metal lately, seemingly cohabiting with their customers’ desires for top-end specifications (and cores, lots of cores). The product of this combination leads to premium-feeling high-spec flagship devices from a number of companies, most of which you’ll never hear about. But this particular company brings something so odd to the table that it is worth pointing out. Manta’s 7X phone features a stylish metal body with no physical hardware buttons.
Manta 7X takes buttons to a whole new level – nonexistence. This 5.5 inch phablet gets rid of the volume keys and power button, and instead of a physical home button, all you’ll find is a single capacitive key at the bottom of the display. How do you control the volume than, you might ask: the phone has a clever work-around as it features a touch-sensitive bezel that will act as sensors for this purpose, and perhaps some other innovative or gimmicky uses as well. This is definitely something fringe compared to the very traditional designs most major players put out. Oh, the phone also features a finger-print scanner if you’d like to use it for locking and unlocking your phone. But like we’ve said before, it’s not that good of an idea to use it for more serious or important purposes if given the chance.
If you are hungry for specifications, the Manta has you covered. It’s 5.5 inch screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 for your viewing pleasure, and then there’s the traditional 2GB of RAM that already seems a little outdated, given that phones like the Asus ZenFone 2 will feature 4GB. You also have a Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, which is clocked at 2.5GHz unlike the earliest models that had just a 2.3GHz clockspeed. While it is by no means the latest and greatest, coupled with the 1080p screen you’d see no performance issues. Devices like the OPO feature the exact same chipset and pixel count configuration and constantly top benchmark scores; but it’d still be nice to see newer generation chips, or more RAM. The camera is 13MP, with the respected Sony IMX 214 sensor – the same found in the Nexus 6 – and another 13MP sensor on the front, just probably not the same sensor. What will have your jaw on the floor is its 4,200mAh battery. Couple that with the efficient processor and the 1080p screen… and baby, you’ve got a stew going.
While we’ve seen many developments that killed or changed certain keys in the past, this button genocide is a huge leap from such changes. Most phones have abandoned physical clicky home buttons (except Samsung, of course), and Google has been pushing for software keys ever since their Galaxy Nexus. LG has seen a respectable success with their new button permutation, too. Skeptics criticized it quite a bit at first, but with the G3 it seems that everyone settled their opinions on positive reviews. So playing around with phone buttons hasn’t been too detrimental to Android phones’ success.
On the software side, this thing is only shipping with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, and sadly not stock either. Instead, Manta developed a custom ROM called M07 OS. The other downside is that, compared to other Chinese offerings, the Manta7X retails at a high amount of about $652 dollars. While this would be quite a price to pay, the premise is interesting; just probably not enough to warrant paying close to what the newer 2015 flagships would cost – those that will feature the latest software, processors two generations ahead, and better hardware all-around.
As an XDA user, though, I’ve only got one question… How the hell would I access download mode?!
What do you think of the Manta 7X? Leave us your thoughts below!