France's Archos has announced the 50 Diamond smartphone. The company has done so just ahead of CES 2015, which allows it some extra footage in the media. Not bad, we say! What's also not bad is the phone itself, which is priced at just GBP 80 or US$123. Now, we've seen a tonne of phones in that price range in the past few months, but what sets the 50 Diamond apart is the fact that it comes with an on-board LTE modem, making it one of the most affordable 4G phones out there. Also, this is a completely unlocked phone, if you're unaware.
The more you delve into the phone's specifics, the more you're convinced about its amazing value for money (at least on paper). For a little over US$120, you get a phone that has a 5-inch 1920 x 1080p Full HD screen (not bad, Archos!), an octa-core CPU, which isn't made by MediaTek (which means source code shouldn't be a problem) — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, which is paired with a healthy 2GB of RAM (I had to double check for this, didn't expect it to have 2GB RAM). Also, making the specs sheet look pretty is the mention of a 16 mega-pixel rear camera, an Adreno 405 550MHz CPU and an 8 mega-pixel front facing camera. Powering it all is a 2700mAh battery, which again sounds extremely impressive, but real-life performance remains to be seen. Archos have packed all of that, and a 4G LTE modem in a slender 8mm frame.
With the increasing popularity of aftermarket ROMs such as CyanogenMod, OEMs have finally realized that custom overlays aren't people's most favourite thing about smartphones. We've seen a couple phones — the OnePlus One and Yu Yureka — being shipped with CyanogenMod out of the box, and Archos seems to have learned from this. Which is perhaps why the 50 Diamond comes with untouched AOSP aka vanilla Android, which means there'll be no bloatware of any kind to distract you from using the device. Again, all this is being offered by Archos for just GBP 80 in the UK, which looks very much like a steal to me. There's no word yet on this device's availability in the US, but I have a feeling it won't be too long before it does show up in the country.