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Chinese lead the way with 4K phone screens and week-long mobile battery life

Two sexy new smartphones currently being developed in China could seriously raise the bar for visuals and battery life. Pay attention, rest of the world…

Despite the iPhone rapidly becoming the world’s favourite handset, it still isn’t the most cutting edge device out there – and soon it could even be considered a little antiquated, if the current crop of whispers from the Middle Kingdom prove to be accurate.

Innovation #1: 4K smartphone screens

Web rumours suggest that ZTE is on the verge of launching the world’s first smartphone with a 4K screen, thus beating Samsung to the punch (the Korean manufacturer is primed to launch the Galaxy Note 5 with 4K visuals, but not for another three months). ZTE’s Star 3 device will apparently ship with a 5.5-inch display pushing 2160×3840 pixels (or 806ppi), more than double the pixel count of the iPhone 6 Plus and even a couple of hundred more than the lustrous screen on Samsung’s Galaxy S6.

Samsung isn’t the only other company working hard on super-high-res displays, apparently. Sharp’s 4K smartphone screen plans were revealed back in April, but you might have to wait a while longer to sample the beautiful imagery. Try 2016, in fact.

And with Samsung not expected to reveal a 4K mobile screen until September, that gives ZTE plenty of time to shout ‘first’ when the Star 3 lands.

For the Star 3’s crazy-sharp screen, the company has reportedly sought out the help of Chinese display experts BOE, who recently wowed the world with the first 10K UHD televisions. BOE’s 4K smartphone screens, which pack a bezel just 0.55mm thick, are looking like they’ll be ready to roll much sooner than Sharp’s.

Of course, whether anyone needs a 4K screen in their smartphone is a matter of opinion, but the most widely held belief is that a screen with 4K resolution would be almost indistinguishable from a 2K one and, of course, screens which are pumping out that many pixels need juice – plenty of juice.

Innovation #2: Super-long battery life

We don’t know what kind of battery ZTE will plug into the Star 3 to power that immense screen, but it should probably take a look at its neighbours Doogee, another Chinese manufacturer with an eye for decent low-end hardware. You see, Doogee has just launched its S6000 smartphone, which comes with a big-ass 6,000mAh battery, which the manufacturer claims should be good for five days of average use.

That’s more than the double the battery capacity of the iPhone 6 Plus and a staggering 3,450mAh more than the Galaxy S6, which has shown off some pretty respectable legs in various reviews, including our own.

You’d expect the Doogee S6000 to be somewhat unpocketable (or, to put it another way, thicker than the entire cast of TOWIE coated in tar) by cramming in a cell of that size. However, the Doogee S6000 is only 9mm thick and, better still, boasts MediaTek’s fast-charge solution, giving 75 per cent power in around half an hour of charging.

Doogee’s device isn’t set to be a top-tier flagship, but it will apparently offer up a 1.5GHz MediaTek chipset, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage and an 8-megapixel primary camera as well as Android 5.1, which is a fairly respectable feature-set.

So, next time someone asks you your opinion on pioneering smartphone tech, spare a thought for ZTE and Doogee before you reel off the usual names of Apple, Samsung and Sony; because it’s the relative unknowns who are doing most of the work when it comes to moving things forward.