What Happens When A Toaster Company Makes A Smartphone?
So when a japanese company best known for designer tea kettles and a 300 toaster said it was building a compact android smartphone. Well, i wasnt going to be able to resist that im michael fisher, and this is the belmuta phone Music Applause. Now, with the build up. Like that, you can understand why i had low expectations to begin with, but the belmutaphone was barely out of its tiny little box before its charms started. Taking effect you know, smartphones have become so drably predictable in their slab sided utilitarianism that its hard not to love something that tries to disrupt that drudgery. But when i pulled it from its pouch, the belmutaphone immediately evoked memories of the palm pre and moto x devices, whose ergonomics governed their aesthetics you see 10 years ago. It was thought that smartphones should, you know, be comfortable to hold and with not a single straight line or right angle on its entire chassis. The belmutaphone is easily as comfortable as those classics with a textured plastic. Backplate, rounded just right to sit lightly in the palm. When its not in your hand, everything about the phones, design says its meant to rest face down the rear firing speaker, grille, the big bellmuta logo and the offset notification light which breathes gently in one of several available colors, depending on what notifications are waiting for. You belmuire counter balanced the camera with a combination, power button and fingerprint reader nestled in a crater, which is easy to find by feel once you develop some muscle memory about which side its on, in the words of one of my twitter followers, the whole thing has A nice old world charm flip the phone over and its its a bit more like a soap dish and it sure isnt bashful about its bezels, but because theyre symmetrical.
They honestly dont bother me as much as whats missing from them see when theres this much space around the screen. It seems a crime not to fill it with front firing speakers or an out of the way selfie camera, sadly, probably because of space constraints at the edges. The belmutaphone settles for that rear firing, speaker, which is not only tinny but also nowhere near as loud as most other phones and it sticks the front facing camera in one of the biggest hole punch, carve outs, ive, seen on a 4.9 inch screen its pretty intrusive. But before we get further into the downsides, theres, more good design to appreciate in the software pick, the phone up and the custom home screen fades in with a staggered two step animation. To show you that these stripes well theyre more than mere accents. Theyre gesture areas and you can assign functions to each of them like launching an app or locking the screen. Also, you can configure not just their color, but their placement if youre left handed versus right handed, for example, swipe past that first screen and youll find something truly rare in the android world widgets that are both useful and gorgeous a full page calendar, backed by an App that lets you glance at your week with a pinch, an oversized clock with alarms, stopwatch and timer. The memo widget is as quick and light as a notepad should be, and you can tap into the full app for more pinch to zoom goodness, and the calculator comes with a built in currency converter as well as optimizations for the japanese market.
That, for now, is the belmutaphones exclusive domain. Now, can you ditch these widgets or change the home screen wallpaper sure its android 11 do what you want, but that out of box look is so thoughtfully considered with subtle texturing meant to evoke the markings on many nations passports that ive left pretty much everything in Place even the pre loaded ringtones fit right in with the phones chill funky, aesthetic Music. Unfortunately, even i have my limits when it comes to form overriding function, and this thing just has far too many compromises to be taken seriously at the price. Belmuta is asking: where do i start well, the screen gets bright enough and looks fine. I guess, but its an lcd, which means the black levels are more like a really dark gray, as you can see here when i put it up against a phone with an oled panel. Also, it was thoughtful of belmuter to include wireless charging, since charging is something youll be doing a lot. The 2500 milliamp hour battery is half as large as most of the high end. Competition, and my power meter always ended up in the single digits. At the end of a 16 hour day, thats, despite the fact that the phone runs on a mid tier processor, while i wouldnt call it a slow phone necessarily its got more stutters and hiccups than my motorola razer 5g, which runs on a similar chipset. But has an additional 2 gigs of ram, which might be the difference.
Those hiccups include everything from disappearing, widgets to more serious issues like the phone, failing to wake up from sleep and spontaneously locking itself. For seemingly no reason, belmuirs website says a software update is available, but i wasnt able to fetch it possibly due to the lack of a japanese sim card and then theres the camera, its atrocious yeah. I put the belmuta up against my alternate weak daily driver. The galaxy z, flip 3., not exactly stiff competition, and yet it wasnt even close, take a reasonably competent low light photo of a delicious hot toddy from the flip 3 and watch as the belmutas brutal camera sucks out. All the warmth and clarity, replacing it with cold noise and chromatic aberration. Normally, you can find solace by saying a bad camera at least does well during the daytime, but even on a cant, miss east river sunset, the bellmeters results fall much too flat. All you folks who dont care about the camera on your phone. Well, your ship has come in. Itll only cost you 900. Music. Now, if youre already reaching to close the tab and disgust or disbelieve, i dont blame you, but stick with me until after the break and ill make the case for how the belmutaphone might have succeeded. Im not big on resolutions. But i do think the new year is a good time to take a step back and evaluate whats working in your life and whats, not, and one thing thats definitely still working for me is hellofresh.
This video is sponsored by hellofresh the meal kit. That gives you everything you need to prepare a home cooked meal without grocery shopping or meal planning everything you need comes in the box, whether thats a 20 minute meal with easy cleanup or something a little more involved like the zod or spiced chicken. I whipped up the other night and everythings customizable. You can increase your servings if you want leftovers for lunch or shrink them down or even skip a week if youve got other plants. Oh no foods. Best of all you dont have to worry about a lack of experience or expired ingredients, ruining the meal produce, gets from the farm to your doorstep in under a week for peak freshness and from meat tastic to pescatarian options. Hellofresh has more five star reviews than any other meal kit go to hellofresh.com and use code, mr mobile16 for up to 16 free meals and three surprise gifts, one more time go to hellofresh.com and use code, mr mobile 16 for up to 16 free meals and three Surprise: gifts thanks to hellofresh for sponsoring this video. The question i kept asking myself when i pulled the bell muted phone from my pocket this week. Damn why wasnt this marketed as a mid range device, i mean take motorolas moto g options. They match or best the belmutaphone specs for closer to 300 bucks instead of 900, and that mid range segment of the market is so filled with joyless dull designs that a phone like this could really have shaken things up.
But i think it could have done well at four, maybe even 500, but that was just never going to happen with belmuta i mean the kind of company that sells 150 lanterns isnt. The kind of company that wants to sell mid range anything let alone smartphones. You know if you zoom out a little bit. This was almost a design showcase more than a phone, a passion project by the companys president built for the kind of customer who wants to stand out and doesnt mind spending the money to do it, and i say, was because it appears the device has been indefinitely. Put on pause, the reporting is muddy on this. Some outlets claim its been discontinued, but belmutas own support pages seem to suggest its working on a technical problem related to rf interference. I reached out to the company for clarification and ill pin a comment below if it gets back as subscribers to the mr mobile youtube channel will know. Bigger brands have similarly stumbled witness the lights phone, one which leaned too heavily on leicas photographic legacy, to sell a phone that well didnt, always take great photos or that moto razer 5g, which personally i love but brought less durability and fewer features to a foldable race. That samsung has since come to dominate and those are success stories compared to the graveyard theyre built on top of virtue, lg ericsson, siemens, the old nokia phones, are hard high end phones are especially hard and the belmutaphone is just too expensive to justify its existence.
No matter how beautiful it might be, this video was produced following one week with the belmutaphone purchased by mr mobiles publisher, future plc. As always, no company had editorial input, copy approval or an early preview of this content. The loan sponsor of this review is hellofresh.