Ask anyone to name a smartphone manufacturer and you’re going to hear the usual suspects: Apple, Samsung, Huawei etc. One name you probably won’t hear is Balmuda – because it’s primarily a Japanese toaster brand. But seemingly out of nowhere, the brand has announced a new phone, and we kind of love it.
The creatively titled Balmuda Phone is an Android device with a 4.9-inch display and a 48MP rear camera. The pebble-esque shape and tiny profile feel like a throwback to a bygone era when not all camera phones were rectangular, and we’re loving the personality of the thing.
Spec-wise, the Balmuda device is nothing to phone home about. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 2,500 mAh battery. That’s fairly average stuff, and akin to plenty of mid-level Android smartphones out there.
What sets the Balmuda Phone apart is that design. In a world of flat-edged slabs, the curved design feels almost revolutionary. “The Balmuda Phone was designed for a shape that fits naturally in your hand,” reads the Balmuda website (translated with Google Translate). “To achieve this, not only is the back curved, but the shape when viewed from the front is actually wrapped in a gentle curve.” In other words, the phone doesn’t feature a single straight line in sight – take that, iPhone 13.
And then there’s the size. With many of today’s smartphones requiring at least three hands to hold, it can feel like small phones are a thing of the past. But at 4.9 inches, the Balmuda phone is even smaller than the likes of the iPhone 13 mini. It’s delightfully dinky, and again feels like a nostalgic nod to phones gone by. Even the logo on the back feels retro, with the handwritten 80s vibe taking us straight back to the new Los Angeles logo.
And now for the bad news. Being different doesn’t come cheap, with the Balmuda Phone costing 104,800 yen or around $920. This is clearly a company that prides itself on its unique designs (we kind of need one of those toasters), and we doubt it’s able to mass-produce such a bespoke product as economically as, say, Apple. If you’ve got the cash to spare, the Balmuda Phone is certainly a statement. But if you fancy a more impressively specced phone for less, check out today’s best iPhone 13 deals below.