Phones are getting too heavy, but this carbon-fiber phone offers an alternative
Surviving in the smartphone market, even as an established name with millions of dollars in backing, isn’t easy. It’s like playing Minecraft in Survival Mode with a few friends who can help you out. Entering the smartphone market as a new player is playing Minecraft on Hardcore: any mistake, and it’s all over.
Managing to convince people to buy a premium smartphone that isn’t branded with Apple or Samsung is a tough job. Still, companies are trying.
Enter Carbon Mobile (not to be mistaken with Karbonn Mobiles, the Indian phone brand), a fearless and brand new Android smartphone manufacturer, working at the micro-scale. The debut phone for the company, based in Berlin, is the Carbon 1 Mk II, and, unsurprisingly, it’s made from carbon fiber.
The Carbon 1 Mk II has a single purpose with its carbon fiber build: weight. It’s a really lightweight device. At just 125 grams, and 6.3mm thick, picking it up feels like it’s missing some kind of key component, like the battery or screen. But that’s a good thing. By comparison, the new Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is 222g and the iPhone 11 194g. This thing is thin, and remarkably light.
The 6.0-inch Carbon 1 features an AMOLED display, a MediaTek P90 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, a dual 16MP rear camera, and a 20MP front-facing camera. There’s some bezel at the top and bottom as you can see. It’s not an overt forehead/chin combo., but it is noticeable.
The Carbon 1 Mk II packs a 3,050mAh battery, and that carbon-fiber body wraps around the back, with a fingerprint sensor on the side.
The phone’s display is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, but a new thin spec of glass. At 0.4mm thick, it was developed by Corning specifically for the Carbon 1. Corning saw a challenge it liked, according to Carbon Mobile. Regular Gorilla Glass 6 is between 0.6mm to 0.8mm on most phones.
The Carbon 1 is thin on power. None of the above specs will blow the minds of your typical smartphone enthusiast. The MediaTek Helio P90 SoC is a little bit 2018, rather than 2020. The small battery doesn’t look like it’ll win any endurance races either, not that I would want to game on it for long. The Android 10 build we saw was very light, close to stock.
Carbon-fiber is also a terrific insulator, which is essentially the worst of all choices for a smartphone that needs radio reception. The company solved this problem through the use of HyRECM technology, or hybrid radio-enabled composite materials, an advanced material not used in smartphones before. It has been deployed in key areas for the antennas to ensure adequate reception is available.
The Carbon 1 Mk II will be priced at €799, meaning it’s at a massive premium considering the specs and general offering. However, Carbon Mobile points out none of the comparable devices are made out of anything nearly as interesting as carbon fiber.