At Mobile World Congress 2019, the biggest trend for smartphones was the adoption of 5G and addition of foldable displays. Samsung showed both the 5G version of Galaxy S10 as well as the foldable Galaxy Fold, albeit behind a glass box. Huawei, one of the fastest growing smartphone maker, introduced its foldable smartphone with 5G support. Oppo, OnePlus, ZTE and LG made use of the show to display either commercial or prototype devices. During all of these talks about 5G and bendable displays, there was little or no talk about battery life and one company took notice and made the most of this opportunity. Enter Energizer.
Energizer is a renowned brand in the battery segment, but is not a big player in mobile or smartphone space. But it showed not one, not two, not even three but a total of 26 mobile phones, forcing a lot of people to take note. One device that caught attention of MWC attendees was the model with 18,000mAh battery called the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop. Every smartphone maker has tried to find a niche with their mobile device. Samsung stands out with wide range and display quality, Apple stands out for its premium design, craftsmanship and secure software, OnePlus makes a mark with premium features that don’t cost a lot of money while Xiaomi has built itself ground up as a budget device maker. Energizer, on the other hand, has been about battery life.
If you ever wanted a power bank that was also a smartphone then you look no further than Energizer. In fact, it is the only brand that makes such a device. At MWC 2019, Energizer literally doubled down on that effort by putting two power bank into a smartphone. Battery is the most critical thing and with the new device, Energizer is claiming standby time of up to 50 days, which puts it in the same league as that of feature phones. At the booth in MWC where Energizer was showcasing the smartphone, I had to stand in line for nearly 30 minutes and while most people would walk away in such situations at trade shows, the device was enjoying a rather unseen interest.
The reason could be the hype caused by that large battery and the fact there was only one working device. The lack of a number of working models makes me wonder if Energizer plans to sell them only in limited units. In terms of design, the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop is arguably the most ugly looking smartphone to ever come out. It looks equivalent to a brick and it can come as a handy tool that can be used to hit someone as a precautionary measure. Energizer people did not speak about the device directly but it seems the intention was clearly to put a big battery and have a big name to go with it.
While it looks like a brick, the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop does not weigh a lot and also holding it closer to your ear while making phone calls did not seem frightening. Some of the other interesting design elements including a display that is almost bezel-less at the top and sports a tiny chin at the bottom. There is also a pop-up selfie camera, which is placed right at the center of the top side of the device. The working prototype shown at MWC was in blue finish with a glossy back. There is also a triple camera setup at the back which is placed similar to Huawei P20 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 9.
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The pop-up selfie camera system houses dual camera sensors comprising of a 16-megapixel shooter and a 2-megapixel shooter. The back is home to three cameras which combine a 12-megapixel, 5-megapixel and 2-megapixel sensors. There is a 6.2-inch Full HD+ display, MediaTek Helio P70 chipset, 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage. It lacks 3.5mm audio jack and runs Android 9 Pie out of the box. Avenir Telecom, which sells Energizer branded smartphones, tells me that the device will be available in June and India is among the countries which could get the device. We all have smartphones that die even before the end of the day and hence always carry a powerbank. The Energizer Power Max P18K Pop is also a powerbank but one that also will let you make calls, browse the web and send WhatsApp messages. The compromise is the hefty design and impractical looks.