For those who are unaware of the booming Chinese smartphone industry, you are missing out on a lot. Advancements by companies like Mediatek have made their ARM processor range competitive with Qualcomm's offering, and many of these Chinese phones have dabbled into top of the range features such as high resolution 2K screens, high resolution front and back cameras (that have Sony f/2.0 aperture sensors), and extremely powerful processors. The freedom and flexibility of Android has allowed many manufacturers to focus all of their attention on the physical aspects of their phones as opposed to the smartphone's OS, and this has encouraged a large amount of design creativity to take place.
The interesting aspect of these phones however isn't just the specifications-- it's that the phones with these high-end specifications are selling for.. wait for it.. about an average of only $350 at launch! That's almost a third of the big-name counterparts. Just to be clear, the low prices are not because of poor build quality, as some of the brands have build quality that matches the big names. Instead, it's mostly because of the cut-throat competition and low profit margins among the dozens of Chinese phone manufacturers. Ultimately, the end user is the victor from it all.
Today, however, we won't be discussing Chinese phones as a whole, or the Chinese phone market in general. Instead, we'll be talking about a certain phone that, due to its form factor, could probably double as a kitchen utensil. Running "Amigo OS," which is really just Android 4.2.1 with a custom skin, the phone in question is the Elife S5.5 that has just been announced by the Chinese phone manufacturer Gionee. It's taken the prize for being the world's thinnest smartphone at only 5.55mm thick. Its not cheating either-- that's 5.55mm at its thickest point. It snatched the title away from the Vivo X3, announced late last year, which has a 5.75mm thick chassis. To put this in context, the iPhone 5S is 7.6mm, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is 7.7mm thick, making the S5.5 about a third thinner than the two biggest sellers on the market, and even thinner than the Oppo R809T or Huawei P6.
This image shows the Elife S5.5 being compared against an iPhone 4S
But if you're thinking "I bet it has a tiny battery," it'd be wise not to place that bet! the phone packs a 2300mAh battery, with plans of releasing a 2450mAh battery in the near future. For reference, the iPhone 5S has a much smaller 1560mAh battery, and the Galaxy S4 has a 2600mAh battery. Even with the S5.5's extremely thin form factor, they have still managed to include a fairly reasonable sized battery to get you through the day.
Also packing the eight core MTK6592 1.7ghz processor (yes, eight simultaneous cores), 5" 1080p Super AMOLED display, and a 13 MP rear camera + 5 MP ultra widescreen front camera, the Gionee Elife S5.5 will be up for sale for $370 when its released later next month. An LTE variant is planned for a June release.
Update: It seems like there was a typo in the article. In the photo comparing the iPhone to the Elife S5.5, the iPhone is actually an iPhone 4S and not an iPhone 5S.