The ‘bezel-less’ Pantech Iron is out, and it looks like Sony’s Xperia ZL is still the bezel-less king

This is the year of 5 inch 1080p phones. Samsung has one, Sony has two, and now Pantech has formally announced the Iron. I covered the rumors about this device about a week ago, and they said the phone would be “bezel-less”. According to Pantech’s official press release, the front of the phone is 75.5% screen. That’s fantastic, and I’m not denying the remarkable engineering that went into making the Iron, but the front of Sony’s Xperia ZL is 75.8% screen.

And unlike the Iron, which will probably never leave South Korea, the Xperia ZL is relatively easy to find. Today. Where the Iron bites Sony is in terms of processing power. Whereas the ZL uses a Snapdragon S4 Pro, the Iron has the brand spanking new Snapdragon 600. That’s the same chip that’s inside HTC’s One and Samsung’s Galaxy S4. The Iron also has a metal body, which I can only assume feels an order of magnitude than the ZL’s plastic exterior.

As for the rest of the specs, it has a 13 megapixel camera, it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with no word on when 4.2 will come out, and it has a rather anemic 2,150 mAh battery.

If you’re now considering buying the ZL, I’m going to have to suggest you wait, because there are rumors floating around that it’s going to get refreshed this summer and that it’ll have that ultra quick Snapdragon 600 chip inside. Whether or not it’ll retain that 75.8% screen to device ratio is something I don’t know, but I hope it does.

Update: Stop the presses! According to Engadget, the phone has a 720p display. Ugh!

Update: The Korean site Bodnara has some amazing coverage of the Iron launch, including a video that I’ve embedded below. This phone is so incredibly good looking.

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  • I’ve said it before, but 2013-2014 is going to be the year of the ‘unknown’ handset manufacturers. The ‘big guys’ are all stagnating when it comes to hardware – they’ve realized they can appease the masses with moderately improved versions of last year’s flagship. Where you’re seeing some real movement is with ZTE, Huawei, Pantech, LG, etc.

    It reminds me of Nokia ‘back in the day’ – they had their ‘mass-market’ handsets that your grandma or your school friends had, but they also had the rare ones that pushed the envelope – like my white/mocha N73, etc. Enthusiasts like you and me were willing to spend a pretty penny to get a phone that no one else had.

    In the past 12 months, I’ve owned a Samsung and an LG, and been mostly happy with both. Based on the specs of the last few Huawei and now Pantech phones, I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them built my next phone.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      The thing is, Pantech is huge … but only in Korea. Penetrating the American and European markets is hard. Look at Lenovo, number two in China, the biggest smartphone market on the planet. You couldn’t import their phones if you tried.

      • Agreed, it’s a challenge, and I don’t think they’ll gain mass-market distribution. But they will gain a following, IMO – again, similar to Nseries in the U.S. before Nokia started officially selling them in the U.S. Fans will find a way.

  • I have a phone with a small bezel and it causes problems. I frequently press the screen accidently with my finger tips since the bezel is so small. Little details like this matter and the smaller manufacturers often miss the details. You can still make a lousy phone with good specs.