I'm continually amazed at the sloppy execution on these devices. Mind if I go on a rant for a minute?
Hey Chinese manufacturers, are you listening? Here's what a "game phone" would NEED for me (and probably other members of this community) to actually be something I would buy:
Quad core 1.6ghz or above - RK3188 is dated at this point, I'd probably not buy anything that wasn't at least as fast as an RK3288 or Tegra 4. I don't need an octa-core monstrosity, most Android games aren't nearly *that* high end, and emulation of Dreamcast and below can be done by an RK3188. Besides, octacore chips eat batteries for breakfast.
Decent GPU - this is one of the areas where the RK3188 is really behind. The Mali 400 GPU is underpowered garbage, a dedicated gaming device should have something like a Tegra or an Adreno 330. I hear the RK3288's GPU is pretty beefy, but I have yet to see it in action. Anything's better than the Mali400/450 though, those things are just plain dated.
Between 4.6" and 5.2" screen, either 720 or 1080p - definitely nothing *above* 1080p (too expensive, too much battery drain, too much work for the GPU). Screen must run at 60HZ in the OS. No idea why all these companies keep releasing with 50hz or 52hz refresh rates. An LCD panel that doesn't do 60hz is pretty much unheard of, so why wouldn't they clock the system to that refresh rate?
1 to 3GB of RAM, nothing below 1GB and even that's on the "low end" these days.
Either 8GB of onboard storage AND a microSD card slot, or 16GB of onboard storage if no MicroSD. Games (the phone's primary feature, remember?) take up a LOT of space, so we want to be able to hold more than 1 or 2 at a time.
Rear Camera 8MP or above. Doesn't have to be great, but don't use the cheapest one around either.
Front Camera: whatever is cheapest or even don't include a front camera. Front cameras are for selfies and I doubt many gamers are going to not buy a device that won't let them take selfies. We know how to use a mirror if we *really* want to take a selfie.
Capacitive multi-touch screen that is flush with the surface of the device. This one is a no brainer, but bears mentioning anyway.
Proximity sensor that disables both the screen AND the face buttons when it detects a face nearby - I don't want a phone that I can't hold up against my face without worrying about accidental button presses.
And here's the biggest and most important thing of all: it absolutely must be able to fit easily and comfortably in a normal (jeans) pocket - ideally it would be able to fit comfortably in a pair of "slim fit" jeans from a company like Old Navy (not those ultra slim jeggings jeans - nothing fits in them). This is why I'd be ok with something like a 4.6" screen; a super large 5.5" screen and game buttons would probably put the phone into "phablet" size and wouldn't fit in a normal pocket. That's a dealbreaker. I can live with a 4.6" screen if that's what it took to make it able to have buttons and fit in a pocket. Hell, I can fit my PS Vita in my pocket and that has a 5" screen and lots of padding around the screen for the buttons and speakers - it wasn't even designed to fit into a pocket and it still does, so this is a very approachable goal we're talking about here.
The phone must have the following:
1 Dpad (that is 1 piece, no separate [2 piece] dpads!)
1 or 2 Analog slider(s)
4 round face buttons (sorry JXD - the teardrop shape kinda sucks) of equal size, preferably labeled "ABXY" - in standard (+) formation
Start and Select face buttons
2 or 4 shoulder (LR) buttons - snappy ones, not mushy like the ones on the Xperia Play. This is one area the JXD S5800 got right.
Separate dpad and joystick - no exceptions, and a dedicated joystick driver for Android so that games actually recognize the controls properly. A lot more games are going to start supporting joysticks soon now that Android TV is on the way.
Analog stick should be a slider that is flush with the device face or not raised up beyond about 1-2mm above surface, otherwise device will not pocket easily (sorry JXD S5800 - real analogs was a nice idea, but totally not comfortable in a pocket).
Absolutely no touch pads like on the Xperia Play. I get why they included them, but they were a complete joke, and were utterly useless as analog sticks. They might as well have just left them out and used the extra space for larger buttons.
Front facing or bottom (in landscape) facing speakers. No back speakers, and NO side speakers that get covered by your hands when holding in landscape orientation.
Dpad, analog slider, and face buttons should all be a reasonable size for both Asian and Western thumb sizes - no super-tiny buttons with sharp corners. Nothing smaller than the PS Vita's buttons, for example.
MicroUSB charging port. No exceptions. You can add a DC charge port as well, but if the phone doesn't also charge via MicroUSB I won't buy it. I have 50 MicroUSB chargers floating around my house, and everyone else has one (or 5) at their house, so if I'm at a friend's house and need a quick juice up - I can . The continued insistence on these DC chargers from JXD and GPD is completely baffling to me. I get that they're more common in China, and I can live with them on a tablet, but it's a complete dealbreaker if my phone won't charge via MicroUSB. I don't want to have to buy a bunch of new (and hard to find) chargers for my car(s) and office.
Android 4.4 Kitkat should be the minimum here - it improves performance over previous Android versions, so I don't see why any manufacturer wouldn't choose this. Really, these companies should jump on the 4.5 release when it hits - it's going to include battery saving options that would be very good for a device designed for extended use such as this.
I'm not going to say that the software has to be open source - it would be nice, but I get why companies don't do it, but the manufacturers should at least be willing to work with people like skelton and other "scene" developers to produce alternative roms for those of us who prefer to debloat or overclock.
3000mah minimum, realistically a device like this should be 4000mah or above - in other words, at LEAST enough juice to last for a full day of "heavy" use.
Misc stuff that companies keep getting wrong:
Don't worry about making it super-thin! I don't get why manufacturers keep trying to make phones so insanely thin - a thick device is fine if that's what it takes to get a large battery in there with good cooling and good lifespan. Anything below about 15mm is probably FINE. My current phone is 10.1mm and it could easily gain 2-5mm without being what I would consider "too large". The important thing here is to keep the buttons and analogs close to the face so that it pockets easily - if you have to make the device thicker so that you can partially recess the controls that's fine, just don't recess them too far and make them uncomfortable to use. The "slider" style of the Xperia Play was absolutely brilliant here - the dpad and face buttons were awesome on that thing, and they were neatly tucked out of the way when not in use. Too bad that "slide out" buttons are patented and can't be used without paying royalties...
Clamshell form factor *might* work if you did the "fold over all the way onto the back" style of clamshell. One handed operation of a smartphone is essential, so unless you had that style of clamshell design it's not even remotely an option. A clamshell would make the phone a lot thicker, but could probably still fit in a pocket. The (non XL) 3ds fits in a pocket pretty easily...maybe that's something JXD or iReadyGo should try for their next game phone? But again - no styluses, and it must be able to be operated with one hand and one thumb.
Mostly companies need to remember that this is an everyday device, it will follow me everywhere I go, it needs to be durable enough to withstand constantly going into my pocket and being taken back out. The W1 looks like it got this mostly right, but still screwed up too many other key areas.
Really nice but not essential features:
Global LTE - while I know that China is just now getting onto the LTE spectrum, it would be really hard for me to justify my next phone not having LTE that works here in the US. I would maybe be ok with 3g but it's still a pretty tough sell these days and is definitely one of the larger reasons I didn't even consider the JXD S5800 after seeing all of its other flaws.
Dedicated Back/Home/Menu buttons. These are nice to have, but you're already putting a ton of buttons on the face of this device, so using soft buttons for this instead of physical buttons is totally understandable. Only include dedicated buttons for these if you have the extra space and can add them without sacrificing *anything* else in the process. Again, the W1 looks like it did pretty decently in this regard.
Yes I know this proposal isn't exactly easy or cheap - I'm sure some or many of the flaws in these devices are to save money, but if I'm already going to drop $300+ on a new phone I'm not going to buy it unless it has every single one of these requirements checked off.
I would easily pay $300 for a device that meets all of the above criteria, and I think it's a very realistic goal. The Much W1 got SO CLOSE - if only they'd split the dpad and joystick and included dedicated joystick drivers...
/Rant over, sorry for hijacking your thread.