Should I buy the Hisense A5 Pro CC?

Do you recommend the Hisense A5 Pro CC?

  • Yes - I owned/used the phone and liked it

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes - I haven't owned/used the phone but would buy it

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No - I owned/used the phone and didn't like it

    Votes: 1 50.0%
  • No - I haven't owned/used the phone but don't think it's worth it

    Votes: 1 50.0%

  • Total voters
    2
Hi, I'm looking for a new phone and to replace my 2018 Nokia 5.1. It was already a budget phone when it was released, but now it's really beginning to show its age; often slow and unresponsive to even basic tasks, with far from ideal battery life.
While looking for a new phone I came across the Hisense A5 Pro CC and really liked the idea of a phone with an e-ink display. I don't like the eyestrain I get from looking at traditional screens, and an e-ink display allows me to read comfortably for long periods of time. The obvious disadvantage of any backlit screen over e-paper is that seeing it in sunlight means you have to turn up the brightness, draining the battery.
I use my phone mainly for WhatsApp, Navigation (using Google Maps), mobile banking, music and light browsing. I'll watch the occasional YouTube video, but this is not what I buy my phones for, so it's not very important. It costs about £300, which is about as much as I'm willing to pay for a phone.

For anyone who owns, owned or had experience with this phone or one that's similar, how is it? Would you recommend it? What are the potential issues one would have to watch out for? How do the duller display colours and the lack of Google Play services affect your mobile experience? Also, I heard the phone had a crazy battery life with some people saying that it's up to a week. This would make sense showing still images, as those do not use battery on an e-ink display. However, how is the battery life when the phone is in constant use, requiring the phone to show moving images? This is extremely important to me, as I often go on long cycling trips that require me to use Google Maps for hours on end. Any help would be appreciated and similar phones with e-ink displays would also interest me.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
300 notes is a lot of money for a 'budget' phone, then adding in you basic usage...nah!

Grab yourself a cheap Samsung or Motorola and keep the phone dimmed.
 

everdale

Member
I own a Hisense A5 Pro CC. I bought it because I was super interested to see color e-ink on mobile with my own eyes. It's hard to feel if I should recommend it or not, though. Because even though the technology is quite unique, it fails as a smartphone in many ways.

- No Google Services.
I knew this when I bought it and hoped there would be an update so I could get it. I also thought that I would be okay without it, it would be a good way to not use the phone all the time. Although in retrospect, this issue was bigger than I thought. In my experience, even many apps that aren't from Google will flat out refuse to work without Google Services. I can still get my Gmail via other apps, which is good. But we use Google Drive for work and having to use the browser to access the files when I need them is tedious at best. If Google Services was my only problem, I might survive though. Google Maps and Youtube doesn't work on this, as far as I know.

- Camera/watching media
One of the big problems is although it's not bad at displaying the frames needed for video, you probably don't want to look at many videos or images on it. This is because colors are often smushed together, which becomes most apparent when the image/video are of a person (which they often are). People look can horrifying, as the contrast(?) isn't good enough to show make you recognize your own family. This is only on the screen of course, photos and videos you take with the camera will not have the smushed appearance when you view them on other devices. But...
It's hard to know if photos I take are good or not because of the bad "viewing experience", and the camera usually make them quite dark. If this contrast-problem was fixed I would love this phone more. I doesn't seem to have a working QR-code reader either, but there's no problem with the camera (only the camera app?), because other apps using their own QR reader works.

- Getting a case for it
The device is not popular enough to have good cases made for it. I prefer the flip-wallet style case, and managed to find one for this. But it is already broken in many ways (cards fall out, the phone falls out of its silicon frame etc).

- Not being a good E-ink device
I already said the contrast was bad on this. You don't want to read on this, so it fails at being a "small e-reader", something it could be good at. I don't know if the color-layer of the screen stops it from having good contrast, but I would have wanted to be able to switch to a black-and-white mode with sharper contrasts when I needed to. Most of the times, I would rather look at a high-contrast black-and-white photo/video, than a mushy mess. And if I were able to get the same sharpness when reading text as other E-ink devices, I would use it much more (and be much happier doing it). Another reason you don't want to use it for reading is because you might assume - that being an e-ink device - it should mainly draw power when it updates what's on the screen. However it's too much of a phone for that, it want to lock the screen if you leave it alone too long (I don't know if the reason it does this is to go in power-saving mode or not, but from a theoretical standpoint it would draw more power to do this, and be less convenient if you for example used it for a recipe or similar).

- Bad screen protector
This is a minor gripe, it has a screen protector with a blue-ish tone when you get it. This screen protector also gives a lot of glare. I replaced it with a "paperlike" screen protector, making it as good as it gets (I believe), I still don't enjoy looking at it though. It might even be more eye-straining than a regular phone, when it should be the opposite.

- Chinese
It ships with Chinese apps, and even though the settings and such are in English, it still has remnants of these Chinese apps on it. My phone has a Chinese browser as default, even though I think I've done what I can to change it. So if I slide down to do a quick search, it will use this app, so I don't use that gesture when I want to search for something, which limits the intended experience.

- Battery?
The battery life is fantastic though! But being able to use a bad device for a long time before recharging isn't really THAT good.

ALL IN ALL, I BOUGHT THE DEVICE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE TECHNOLOGY AND FIND IT'S A SHAME THAT ONLY A CHINESE COMPANY DEVELOPS THIS TYPE OF PRODUCT. BUT IT'S VERY LACKING! MAYBE A BLACK-AND-WHITE E-INK SMARTPHONE IS MORE SUITABLE FOR YOUR NEEDS. BUT I HAVEN'T USED ANY OTHER E-INK SMARTPHONE SO I CAN'T REALLY RECOMMEND IT EITHER.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Sony A90J Thoughts, madVR Processor & Sonus faber Lumina II Reviews + Movie & TV roundup
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom