The Mobile World Congress has been home to some truly unique smartphone designs this year, and one of the strangest has to be the Energizer PowerMax P18K Pop, a device that catches the eye of a smartphone with an 18,000mAh battery.
I know what you're going to ask, "Wait, does Energizer make phones?" Yes, this is something like the 45th Energizer communicator. Energizer Holdings licenses its brand to Avenir Telecom for mobile phones, and this French company has used the brand to launch phones with generic features and smartphones since 2016.
The Energizer Mobile page is here but does not recognize the existence of the P18K anywhere. The only official information we have to do is a BusinessWire press release with a single (comically misleading) photo. I think some of Energizer Mobile's skepticism is guaranteed since last year at the Mobile World Congress when the company showed off the Power Max P16K Pro, a phone with a 16,000mAh battery. The company gave the launch date in September 2018 and priced at $ 738, but never hit the market and, according to the GSMArena, was canceled. Avenir also brought what appears to be a plastic model of a foldable 5G phone to the MWC, which does not seem to have a big chance of actually reaching the market.
So, assuming the P18K is no other vaporware, Avenir's press release says it has a 2220 × 1080 6.2-inch monitor (third-party reports say it's an LCD), a Helio P70 MediaTek chipset, 6GB RAM and 128GB. of storage. There are three rear cameras and two front cameras that exist in a pop-up section on the top of the phone instead of taking up screen space. No front cameras to worry about, the screen was graced with some very thin frames.
The press release promises "Users will be able to make up to 90 hours of calls, listen to 100 hours of music and watch two days of video on a single charge. In standby mode, the battery lasts up to 50 days." You can also use the phone to charge other devices through a USB cable.
GSMArena was able to track the phone at the Mobile World Congress and filled in a lot of blanks with Avenir's online presence. The report says the phone is 18mm thick, which is more than two full-size smartphones stacked together. We can also see the phone from various angles, which is cool.
For an 18-mm-thick smartphone, there are still many design decisions that seem inherited from small-size smartphones. For example, there is a fingerprint reader mounted on the side, but the sensor is a thin reader designed to fit on a normal 8mm thick smartphone. This does not make any sense in an 18mm thick smartphone that could easily fit into a full size round fingerprint reader next door. There is no headset, and I can not believe there is no room for one on a 18mm thick smartphone. There is even an impact on the back of the camera, which is a specific commitment to enable larger camera modules to fit into thin smartphones. Instead of designing something without the current size restrictions of smartphones, it seems that Avenir has just used a generic 8mm thick smartphone and slapped the back of a power bank.
I applaud any company that is willing to venture out of the usual anorexic smartphone profile, but it seems like there are better ways to do that than that. Customer surveys regularly list battery life as one of the major drawbacks of modern smartphone design, and the obvious and easy solution to this is to just make smartphones slightly thicker with larger batteries. However, making a 18mm thick phone seems a bit over the top and, in addition to a larger battery, it does not look like Avenir really thought about the possible benefits of a bigger smartphone.