Until very recently, the slider phone was a thing of the past, consigned to the annals of history along with polyphonic ringtones and BlackBerry’s scroll wheel. Now, however, it’s seeing a resurgence, revived by manufacturers as they attempt to push the screen-to-body ratios of their devices higher and higher. What started with pop-up selfie cameras on phones like the Oppo Find X has morphed into handsets where the entire screen slides down to reveal a camera. Xiaomi has the Mi Mix 3, Honor has the Magic 2, and now Lenovo has the Z5 Pro (via Engadget).
The big advantage of the Z5 Pro is its price, which starts at around $287 compared to the Magic $545 or the Mi Mix 3’s $475. The trade-off is specs: Lenovo’s handset features a midrange Snapdragon 710 chipset alongside 6GB of RAM and a 3,350mAh battery. The selfie camera (which is hidden by the sliding 1080p AMOLED display when not in use) has a 16MP sensor, while the rear of the device has a 16MP main camera flanked by a secondary 24MP camera. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor, as if this phone wasn’t on-trend enough, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of just over 95 percent.
Yes, this slider trend is probably a gimmick that’s going to die faster than you can say “pop-up selfie cameras,” but there’s something about the tactility of sliding the screen that feels fun and retro in a way that few smartphones have managed. A release outside of China is yet to be confirmed for the Z5 Pro, but we’ll be first in line if it is.