These 5 phones have weird, unique features

Roundup: These handsets' entertaining and practical party tricks stand out from the crowd.

James Martin/CNET
Phones

Almost every smartphone these days contains the same bag of tricks. Sure, one might have a bigger screen, more storage and other specs that help us tell one phone from another. But on the whole, you'll see the same sort of features again and again. Fortunately, there are some devices out there that stand out from the crowd.

From making headway into the world of augmented-reality, to having the ability to see through objects using infrared light or thermal heat, here are some handsets that have us looking twice thanks to their utter uniqueness.

Editors' Note: This post updates frequently. It was originally published August 2013.


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With this Lowe's Vision app, you can use the phone to place furniture, like this lamp, on the table.

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Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Equipped with Google's Tango augmented-reality software and a depth-sensing 3D camera system, the Phab 2 Pro lets virtual objects interact with the real world around you. This handset, along with a few others like the Asus ZenFone AR, give us a nifty sneak-peek at an AR future. Read the full Phab 2 Pro review.


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The H2 can test if medicine is counterfeit or not, among other things.

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Changhong H2

This phone has see-through vision... kind of. Using a near-infrared spectrometer, the H2 phone can determine things like how fresh your produce is, if your medicine is fake and even your body fat percentage. It does this by shining a special light onto the surface of objects (like fruit, medicine and your skin). Molecules from the object then send back light in different ways and this information gets beamed up to a database cloud where it's processed and analyzed. Read the full H2 hands-on.


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With its magnetic accessories, you can transform the Moto Z into a speaker or projector.

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Motorola Moto Z series

The Moto Z (and the Z Force and Z Play) is a thin and fast handset. But it's the array of magnetic pins on the back the makes it unique. With it, users can snap on different modular accessories, like a power pack or a portable speaker, to change up how the phone functions. Read the full Moto Z review.


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The S60 lets you know who (or what) is bringing on the heat.

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Cat S60

Aside from its tough exterior, which allows it to survive 6-feet drops and dunks underwater, the S60 has a thermal imaging camera. Located above the phone's rear camera, this enables users to visualize the temperature of objects. There's also an app that offers different filters and tools related to thermal imaging. Read the full Cat S60 review.


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Upside down is right side up with the Idol 4S.

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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 4S

Competitively priced with loud speakers and a 16-megapixel camera, the Idol 4S also has one more trick up its sleeve. The device comes with a software goodie that lets you use the OS upside-down as well as right-side up, so you can navigate through the interface whichever way you hold it. Read the full OneTouch Idol 4S review.

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