Most smartphones are a bit boring nowadays, following pretty much the same design philosophy – glass front and back, and a metal frame. If you really want to be different and stray from the pack, there are only two options – a case or a limited-edition smartphone. And while we covered smartphone cases from several angles, those limited-edition models are somehow left behind the scenes. At least, up until now. I know the title sounds a bit discouraging, but when there’s a will, there’s a way. Most of our picks are foreign models or a limited domestic market run, but in the era of eBay and Amazon, everything is possible. So, if you find your dream phone that expresses your inner self, you probably can get your hands on it, just with a tad more effort. But that’d make it even more exclusive, wouldn’t it?
Let’s start with the obvious destination when we talk about weird and quirky: Japan. It’s a country like no other and there are different demigods that write phone rules there. The obsession of the Japanese with flip-phones will be covered in another article, but today we picked a couple of interesting models from the far East for you.
Kyocera Card Keitai KY-01L
This DoCoMo exclusive feature phone represents Japanese minimalism at its best. Translation from Japanese is always tricky, but here’s the official description of this phone. “There’s freedom in the way you carry it, and the way it fascinates others.” This thing is tiny at 91 x 55 x 5.3 mm, and also light – just 47 grams. The Card Keitai features a 2.8-inches e-ink display that won’t draw power when it’s displaying static images, which explains the minuscule 380 mAh battery. It’s the perfect digital detox phone, and it’s still available on the DoCoMo site for 31,680 yen (around $295).
Sony Xperia SO-04E Hatsune Miku Limited Edition
Well, this one is rather old, but we just can’t omit a Hatsune Miku phone when we talk about Japanese weirdness. Hatsune Miku is a pop-star sensation in Japan and if she looks like an anime girl to you, that’s because she sort of is. Hatsune chan is a vocaloid software simulation, but make no mistake, she sings at stadium-grade venues. To celebrate this virtual cutie Sony released a limited edition Xperia phone a few years ago. Specs are terribly outdated but Hatsune Miku is all over this phone. You can probably still find it and buy it, but there were only 32,000 made, so it’s a collector’s item by now.
The last one from Japan, we promise. Speaking of manga and anime, we must mention the Sharp EVA edition. This phone was made so fans of the cult manga and anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion can finally be happy. At least for some time. Citing specs is pointless because this phone was made 5 years ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series, but if you’re one of those Japanese culture obsessed otakus, finding such a phone is a must.
Moving to Korea then. Things are not looking any less weird there, as we’re still fairly close to Japan. We have a K-pop phone for you and a totalitarian dictatorship edition one. Here we go.
Samsung Galaxy A80 Blackpink edition
This one is fairly new, and you can still find it around if you’re a fan of Korean pop bands and Blackpink in particular. Actually, if you decide to spend $1,200, you’ll be getting a whole package of goodies – the aforementioned Galaxy A80, a pair of Samsung Buds, and a Galaxy Watch Active. All pink and black, as they should be. But wait, there’s more! According to Samsung, users will be able to access exclusive Blackpink content on the Galaxy A80, such as a Blackpink booting animation that launches when the smartphone is turned on, as well as curated Blackpink themes and icons. Yey!
If pink K-pop girl bands are too soft for you, there’s always the Pyongyang 2425 phone. It’s as hardcore as it gets because this is North Korea’s answer to the iPhone. Apart from the visual similarities though, there’s nothing familiar with this model. It runs only government-approved apps and probably spies on you more than Google, Facebook, and the NSA together. Maybe there’s a hidden menu for launching nukes, too?
Leaving behind the oppression and the will to destroy, we arrive at the end of our journey with something rather delicious. A strange partnership gave birth to an even stranger phone in mainland China. Check this out!
Huawei Enjoy 7 Plus KFC Edition
Yep, you’ve read that one right. To celebrate its 30th anniversary on the Chinese market, KFC teamed up with Huawei to produce this tasty phone. There are just 5000 units made and probably all of them have fallen into someone’s greasy hands by now, but if you’re a real KFC fan, you’ll dig up the auctions to find one. It’s red and has the good old Colonel on the back. Don’t try to deep-fry it and eat it, though.
We’ll round up our digest with an entry from India, which celebrates fashion and infinite love. After all, when thinking about infinities, love is the best option you can end up with, right?
Infinite Red Vivo V7 Plus Manish Malhotra
This phone is a collaboration between Oppo and Indian designer Manish Malhotra. It’s a fairly decent handset, compared to other models in this list, and it comes in red and gold. “With the launch of V7 Plus Manish Malhotra Limited edition, we are providing an opportunity for consumers to express their love in a more elegant and captivating manner,” Kenny Zeng, CMO, Vivo India, said in a statement. We’ve never heard of Manish Malhotra, but we’ll vote for infinite love any day.
And that concludes today’s Far East pick of limited edition phones. Next time we’ll venture to another part of the world to excavate rarities and present them for your amusement.