Energizer is best known as the battery maker that isn't Duracell. Few, however, are aware of the Energizer phone brand, which today announced its latest effort – the KaiOS-powered Hard Case H280S.
Although the Hard Case H280S sounds like it could be a cyborg Millwall supporter, it's actually a rugged handset resembling a beefed-up feature phone with a 2.8-inch QVGA display. KaiOS – a fork of Firefox OS, Mozilla's abortive attempt at a mobile operating system – comes with a fleshed-out app store and an active developer ecosystem.
Under the hood, it uses a Unisoc SC9820E platform, which packs two Arm Cortex-A53 cores, as well as a Mali T820 GPU. There's 512MB of RAM, and a generous (given the context) 4GB of storage. It also supports microSD cards up to 64GB.
On the connectivity front, the Hard Case H280S ships with a 4G VoLTE-capable modem, as well as Bluetooth (albeit the older 3.0 standard), Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), and GPS.
And while KaiOS supports the usual social media time-sinks, you probably won't want to upload any footage or pics from the Hard Case as it ships with a puny 2MP rear shooter and a VGA selfie camera. That in itself isn't surprising, given that the Unisoc chip used only supports sensors up to 5MP.
The Energizer marque conveys a sense of battery longevity, and the Hard Case H280S lives up to that with a 2,000mAh battery that lasts up to five days on standby.
While that doesn't sound much (most Android phones nowadays have between 4,000mAh and 5,000mAh), it's not bad considering the average user won't be using this phone for any juice-draining tasks like gaming.
Energizer's phones are manufactured by French firm Avenir Telecom ("avenir" being the French word for "future"), which has somewhat of a reputation for designing interesting – if not slightly impractical – phones.
A personal favourite is the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop. This blower was unusual for a host of reasons – chiefly because it came with a 18,000mAh battery, which resulted in the phone having a thickness of 18mm.
Energizer is just taking the Mick with this. pic.twitter.com/kbTyildYFP— Matthew Hughes (@matthewhughes) February 25, 2019
Making the phone even weirder was the fact that it came with a nearly borderless display, as well as a pop-up selfie camera. Because if you're carrying around a phone thicker than a paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice, the last thing you want is to be distracted by bezels, right?
Predictably, the phone-buying public wasn't enthusiastic. Avenir decided to test the waters by listing the Power Max P18K Pop on Indiegogo, where it only reached 1 per cent of its $1.2m funding goal.
Fortunately, the Energizer Hard Case H280S is a bit more sensible. There's an appetite for rugged devices, largely from those working in rougher industries, like energy and construction. And not all of those will want a phone running the full Android OS, or something as wide as a standard touchscreen blower.
Distributors can order the Hard Case H280S now – although consumer pricing and availability is yet to be announced. ®