Crazy-looking smartphones that push the envelope (roundup)

Handsets don't always have to be rectangular black slabs. As these devices will show you, they can be curved, circular or downright quirky.

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Editors' note: This article originally posted August 13, 2012, and is updated periodically.

In a sea of black rectangular handsets, it's easy to understand why mobile manufacturers sometimes take a chance and design a smartphone that looks different. Most of the time, that amounts to either an uncommon color that diverges from the usual black and white option, or different materials, like the Motorola Moto X (which has wood grain and leather backings.) But to really leave a mark, these devices below go beyond simple aesthetic changes and take on different form factors altogether.


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The Galaxy S6 Edge has a curved display that tapers down along its sides. Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Sporting two curves that run alongside both left and right edges, the Galaxy S6 Edge is one of the most interesting-looking high-end mobile devices. In addition to being quite daring and chic, the curves help with grip, and the Edge Display software lets you easily view and interact with missed notifications and calls. Read the full review here.


It's easy to see why the Runcible is the most unorthodox-looking smartphone. Sarah Tew/CNET

Monohm Runcible

Earlier this year at MWC 2015, we caught a glimpse of one of the most novel and unique-looking smartphones we've seen in recent years. Known as the Runcible, this device has a polished and circular design, and works in conjunction with a Bluetooth headset to answer calls. It runs a Firefox-based mobile OS, features a rear-facing camera, and has interchangeable back plates made of different wood grains like bamboo. If you're interested in nabbing this pocket-smartwatch/phone, it aims to go on sale by the end of this year in Japan for $600 unlocked (£390 or AU$770 converted). Read the hands-on here.


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With its bowed body, the G Flex 2 sets itself apart. Josh Miller/CNET

LG G Flex 2

Though its arched body isn't as prominent as its predecessor's, the G Flex 2 still has a visible curved design that sets it apart from other handsets. That arc also flexes, and you can push against its back side without fear of it breaking. For extra protection, the battery door features a "self healing," scratch-resistant coating to help against daily wear and tear. Read the full review here.


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The dual-sided YotaPhone 2 offers a secondary e-ink display on the back. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

YotaPhone 2

Consider this handset the "Two-Face" of the mobile world (well, except without all the evil villain connotation). Sporting displays on its front and back surfaces, the YotaPhone 2 has a main 5-inch colored display with a 1,080p resolution and 440ppi that you'd see on regular smartphones, as well as a black-and-white, low-energy e-ink screen on the other side for Web browsing, gaming and reading e-books. This enables users to read text on their handsets for long periods without draining the battery. Read the full review here.


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Named Eggy, this Aka phone is not happy right now. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

LG Aka

To get users to connect with their phones on an emotional level, LG has injected individual personalities into its line of Aka handsets. With names like Eggy (pictured above), Wooky, YoYo, and Soul, these colorful devices have digital eyes that can change expression, built-in interactive software and even backstories for users to explore. That's definitely one quirky way to stand out from others in the market. Read the hands-on here.


The Lamborghini 88 Tauri is on the high, high end of smartphone luxury. Seamus Byrne/CNET

Torino Lamborghini 88 Tauri

If $6,000 (£4,000 or AU$11,255 converted) is no big thing for you and opulence is your modus operandi, then the Lamborghini 88 Tauri should fulfill everything you want in a smartphone -- that is, everything except top-tier specs. (For instance, it has a Snapdragon 801 processor and a 20-megapixel camera.) Of course, handsets like these are seen as niche collectibles, not practical purchases. To justify that steep price however, the device dons high-end material like calfskin leather, stainless steel and a gold-plated design. Read the full review here.

Do you have any favorites that didn't make this list? Chime in below in the comments.

About the author

Lynn La is a CNET editor who reviews and reports on all things mobile. She also writes about visual arts/design and the ways it intersects with tech. Before CNET, Lynn has also written for The Global Post, The Sacramento Bee, and Macworld.

 

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