Allview Impera i – dual SIM Windows Phone 8.1
From the first moment I heard about the new Impera line from Allview I was intrigued… “Allview with Windows Phone? Interesting!” But what really got my attention were the hardware specs. I knew that Microsoft recently relaxed their conditions for Windows Phone smartphones and I knew that they added dual SIM support, but until now I haven’t used one. More important, however, is the fact that Windows and Windows Phone are now free for devices with a screen diagonal lower than 9″, and I think this will be the main catalyst for the abundance of new manufacturers that will get into Windows Phone this year, and that is the case with Allview’s Impera line (Impera i, Impera S and the tablet Impera i8).
For those of you who are not familiarized with the OEM and ODM concepts, the truth is that most of the products we buy are made by a handful of Chinese OEM or ODM. When you have your own design and specifications, you outsource to an OEM partner from China for production – that is what Apple is doing with Foxconn for instance. When you want to use a design that is already made, you choose from what an ODM (original design manufacturer) has to offer.
Depending on the number of units you order you can have a design exclusive for you or that design can also be used in different regions by other brands. And of course, depending on the number of units you order and your relationship with the ODM, you can customize various aspects, starting with the basics (package, logo, color) and ending with more complex modifications like a different camera sensor, a specific storage size and so on.
Allview is the largest brand from Romania that works with chinese ODMs – they have a large variety of products, from 60 USD entry level smartphones to 500 USD Snapdragon 800 beasts, they use MediaTek, Qualcomm and Intel chipsets, and until now they have launched a great number of devices with Android. They sell in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Holland and a number of other European countries. To have an idea regarding how big these guys are, imagine that in Romania Allview is one of the best selling smartphone & tablet brand…
You can find similar products from their counterparts in India (Xolo), USA (Blu) or China (Gionee). So even if you don’t live in a part of the world where you can find an Allview product, you will however be able to purchase some local variant from the same ODM (with software and configuration differences, of course). For instance, the counterpart for Allview Imperia i in India is Xolo Q900s.
Well, Allview is also one of the first brands to jump into the dual SIM Windows Phone 8.1 bandwagon, and for me that is more interesting than screen size or monster chipsets. And I dare say that the bet they took with this hardware configuration and Windows Phone 8.1 is a winning one for the consumer – you will see that the phone offers a very convenient deal and a very pleasant user experience.
The hardware we see at work is a consequence of Microsoft relaxing their policies – the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8212 is a quad core Cortex A7, a distant relative of the usual Krait solutions we could see inside Windows phones so far. The price tag (200 USD / 150 Euro) justifies this, and so do the rest of the features, but the whole package, and especially the price/performance ratio is ideal from my point of view. Let’s take a look on the next page and see why…