Is there room for another smartphone brand in the market? Gigaset wants a piece of the pie, introducing not one but three new Gigaset Me smartphones ahead of the IFA trade show kicking off in Berlin.
Of the trio - Me Pure (entry), Me (mid-level) and Me Pro (aspiring high-end) - it's the 5.5-inch Pro model that will turn the most heads, building upon familiar high-end specs that, on paper, challenge the likes of the mid-to-high spec OnePlus 2, while knocking on the door of LG G4 specification.
The Me Pro comes loaded with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, paired with 3GB RAM. No messing around here from a high-end processor point of view then.
But the phone also comes with a variety of interesting specifications. A 4,000mAh battery delivers considerable capacity - 25 per cent more than even the LG G4 - and is coupled with a USB-C port and Qualcomm fast charge technology for quick top-ups. That's something even the OnePlus 2 isn't able to muster via its USB-C cable.
The Me Pro's body, which has more than a whiff of iPhone about its appearance, is built around a stainless steel frame with "spherical shaped" gorilla glass on the front (better known as 2.5D glass, offering a contoured edge). It's feel weighty, but in a good way; the kind of solid build quality you'd expect from a premium phone.
It's a singular front panel that incorporates "invisible" loud speakers which are able to emit audio without any holes or openings in the front of the device, so no need to position your ear over a small speaker opening. That's same technology as used in bone conducting headphones, which also don't require to be placed inside the ears.
The Me Pro's 5.5-inch screen is a 1920 x 1080 resolution panel, though, keeping this Gigaset in the realms of OnePlus rather than top-tier Samsung, Sony and LG 2K-screen devices. Such a resolution isn't going to kill the phone dead, but with 4K panels expected in similar sized phones in the near future it may appear lacking for a premium device.
Flip the phone around and the Me Pro comes with a fingerprint sensor for secure sign-in. Its position defies the typical placement of the iPhone and Samsung home key positions on the front, instead making for easy one-handed, which is particularly useful at this scale.
We've seen similar from the likes of Huawei in the Ascend Mate 7, but without the option to register a digit with the Gigaset Me Pro at the press conference we're unsure just how swift its response is. The fingerprint sensor isn't recessed, however, it merely has an outer edge which makes it easy to locate; it's also possible to use it as a camera shutter for selfies and other functions.
Speaking of cameras, also on the rear is an 85-degree wide-angle lens with bright f/2.2 aperture and optical image stabilisation, feeding light to the 20-megapixel sensor at its core (that's the same decent Sony sensor as found in many other high-end phones).
And with in-house developed tech, autofocus is said to capture shots within 0.2-seconds. Focus was relatively swift in our quick camera play, but as this is a pre-production unit not everything was working at capacity just yet (the exposure compensation slider wasn't quite right, for example). The front camera is an 8MP offering with f/2.0 lens and 120-degree wide-angle lens.
Other fun features include an infrared control which the company claims can communicate with 95 per cent of current connected devices, so whether it's changing the channel on your TV or listening to music, this universal remote idea should be able to take over. Sounds like a play on the incoming Gigaset home products, as part of its smart home focus, but not something we could try out for real at the company's Berlin press conference.
A dual SIM slot can be used for either two SIM cards or one SIM and a microSD card for expanding storage, an idea we're seeing more and more, particularly from Huawei with phones like the Honor 7. It's a logical way of thinking.
Having handled the Gigaset Me Pro we were waiting the German company to announce an out-of-this-world low price tag at the end of its Berlin press conference. However, the Me Pro will cost €549 when it launches in the autumn, which is more than an LG G4 and roughly double that of the OnePlus 2. There are lots of features to admire in the Gigaset Me Pro, but its name and price tag aren’t two of them.
Not got that much cash? Then the lower-spec Me and Me Pure may be better suited at €469 and €349 respectively, but in a competitive market complete with Motorola Moto G models and the like, Gigaset has its work cut out to penetrate the market. It has little to do with the product, which has plenty going for it, merely the saturated market space.