French device manufacturer, ARCHOS, have a successful business based around selling Android-based smartphones and tablets originally centred around the media player. This is important because during Androids early days, ARCHOS applied their media know-how to build a refined and comprehensive media application that could elegantly handle a great many of the media formats available on the device without customers needing to invest time and effort configuring the software, downloading codecs or even setting up accounts (necessary prior to issuing the Google Play Store). In recent years, ARCHOS have continued to promote their media application alongside running a user interface that is very similar to stock Android. Furthermore, ARCHOS have also released devices running a current, or near-current, version of Android.
This brings us on to two new ARCHOS Android smartphones, the 50 Helium Plus and 55 Helium Plus. These two devices are based around the MediaTek 64-bit MT6735P processor, which is an entry level, quad core ARM Cortex-A53 unit with a maximum clock speed of 1.0 GHz, backed up by the Mali T720 GPU and 1 GB of RAM. The 50 Helium Plus comes with a 5.0-inch IPS LCD of 1,280 by 720 pixel resolution, so 720p, and the 55 Helium Plus has a 5.5-inch, 1,280 by 720 IPS LCD panel. Both devices also come with 8 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD slot, which can take cards of up to 64 GB capacity. Around the back, there’s a 13MP main camera featuring a back side illuminated sensor, or BSI, autofocus and a flash. For the selfie brigade, or for those of us who use their ‘phone for video calling, there’s a 5MP front facing camera. As is common with most ARCHOS devices, these are dual SIM devices featuring dual standby and this is a 4G LTE compatible handset, which also features DC-HSPA networking technology with a theoretical 3G data download speed of 42 Mbps in addition to the Category 4 LTE (capable of 150 Mbps). The device also comes with Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) and WiFi, although there’s no sign of NFC. The 5.0-inch model comes with a 2,000 mAh internal battery and the 5.5-inch device comes with a 2,400 mAh battery.
Perhaps the best news is that each device comes with a near stock version of Android, which is almost the very latest version at 5.1 Lollipop. The devices are inexpensive, too; the 50 Helium Plus will sell for $109 and the 55 Helium Plus is $30 more at $139, available in July. Each device will be available in either Jet Black or White Frost colors. Whilst the device processor is towards the bottom end of the MediaTek chipsets available, bundling in 4G LTE connectivity and a stock Android installation should keep things running smoothly.