Siswoo R9 Darkmoon hands on, beautifully made dual screen phone


siswoo r9 darkmoon

Siswoo have been teasing us with their dual screen Siswoo R9 Darkmoon for months now, and while in Shenzhen I managed to get my hands on an early production sample to see what all the fuss is about.

When we think of dual screen phones the famous Yotaphone springs to mind, but Siswoo hope that their R9 Darkmoon will also become as famous as the Yotaphone, and judging be the attention to build quality and certification details they are going to they might just get their wish.

About Siswoo

Siswoo aren’t like other Chinese phone makers we report on here at GizChina. Most of the brands we cover are what the Chinese call ‘internet brands’ meaning they usually have no official presence outside of China, and all their sales and marketing are done on-line. Siswoo on the other hand are more like a traditional phone maker in that they aim to attract European phone carriers who will then offer Siswoo products to their customers.

Already we have seen Siswoo open offices in Spain and Germany, and their phones are available through Jazztel and Tmobile, we requiring the phones to meet demanding and expensive safety and quality testing.

The results are phones that meet strict European and quality control requirements, yet can be bought in a physical EU store from as little as 89 Euros.

Siswoo R9 Darkmoon hands on

siswoo r9 darkmoon

Of course the dual screen R9 Darkmoon is going to be a lot more expensive that 89 Euros, but it will be available through Tmobile in Germany on contract at very little cost. To buy one without contract the price is going to be near 400 Euros!

siswoo r9 darkmoon

As soon as I picked up the R9 Darkmoon it is easy to tell that the phone has been carefully and thoroughly engineered. It doesn’t feel like a smartphone from a small Chinese brand but rather a model from a larger company like Vivo, Oppo, and the quality isn’t far off iPhone standards.

There are simply not rough edges, or misaligned panels. Everything just fits together with extremely high tolerance levels. The feeling is almost like a unibody construction except that would be impossible being the construction is glass front and rear and alloy chassis in between.

siswoo r9 darkmoon

Speaking of the chassis, the metal body features lowered middle section that runs around the entire length of the phone. I asked if this was to prevent the physical buttons from being accidentally pressed, but learned that design is so a special double-sided flip cover can be securely fastened in place, allowing access to both front and rear screens.

As for the screens well the front 5-inch FHD OGS panel is just what we expect to see. A bright, crisp and responsive panel. The rear 4.7-inch e-ink display was a a real surprise though. I expected it to lag like an ebook reader, but the response of the display is actually much faster. There is a delay when the screen refreshes, but its a small one.

The models that I tried had unfinished software so I was unable to try everything, but Siswoo bosses explained to me that their developers are trying to create a ROM that suits the size, resolution and the frequency of both screens. Once complete the final ROM should help quicken the e-ink side of the phone up further still, while still looking good on the main FHD panel.

Siswoo R9 Darkmoon hands on photos

Siswoo R9 Darkmoon Specification Highlights

  • Main 5-inch FHD OGS display
  • Second 4.7-inch e-ink display
  • 2.5D front and rear glass panels
  • Very good engineering and build quality
  • IR remote
  • 3GB RAM
  • Mediatek MT6752 processor
  • 13 mega-pixel main camera, 8 mega-pixel front
  • 3000mAh battery
  • NFC, WIFI, LTE (FDD-LTE B3/B7/B20, TDD-LTE B38/B39/B40)

R9 Darkmoon vs other Chinese dual screen phones

In the meeting I mentioned that other brands will also offer dual screen phones that will cost signifycantly less than the R9 Darkmoon. It was explained to me that the difference between those phones and the R9 Darkmoon is that the e-ink panel on the Siswoo is actually a part f the phone with direct access to the system, where as the cheaper models will basically have an E-ink panel attached on and will require an application to work (much like aftermarket E-ink cases).

While I appreciate the extra work put in to the Siswoo, I’m not sure how the differences in eink integration on the pricey R9 and lower-cost phones is going to effect the overall user experience. On the other hand if I had the money and was in the market for a dual screen phone, the R9 Darkmoon would be at the top of my list.

[ Siswoo ]
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46 Comments

  1. balcobomber25
    August 23, 2015

    The sides and bottom look very similar to the design of the Gionee S7.

    • Airyl
      August 24, 2015

      I though that too. Still, it’s quite impressive that a fairly small brand like Siswoo has managed to replicate the build of a smartphone from a much larger brand, and probably for a lower price as well.

      • balcobomber25
        August 24, 2015

        I have no issues with it, just a general observation. I love what Siswoo has done these past few months, they are one of the more exciting brands to keep an eye on. They keep churning out quality devices without the issues some of the other smaller brands tend to have (see: Kingzone, Doogee, Elephone etc).

        • Airyl
          August 30, 2015

          Agreed.

    • August 24, 2015

      yup I also mentioned this to them, but they said the shape is to help hold on the special covers (which I have not seen yet)

      • balcobomber25
        August 25, 2015

        Personally i like it but now im intrigued about these special covers.

  2. E8hffff
    August 23, 2015

    Not bad specs.

    I’m locking myself down to a Helio X10 or better and at least 8MP/20MP camera on my next phone, but this is real attractive. Siswoo are really thinking up there.

    • balcobomber25
      August 24, 2015

      Why a 20mp camera? Why not 16 or 13?

      • E8hffff
        August 24, 2015

        A guess but the quality of colours and perspective is in the lens coatings and mechanism. Getting a bigger matrix is the bonus. There’s no reason for me to compromise for a 13MP or 16MP when there is 20MP components readily available for manufacturers to choose.

        Also like mentioned in past comments, 5MP is awful. You need at least an 8MP front camera for any quality.

        • Fly agaric
          August 24, 2015

          iPhone seems to be coping more than just well with 8MP matrix only.

          • E8hffff
            August 24, 2015

            Consider higher resolution allow better digital zoom. You also have better computational powers with the more data. It’s not all about low-res with convincing colours. What if I want a grayscale photo?

        • balcobomber25
          August 24, 2015

          The sensor size, aperture, optics and software used will make a much bigger difference than 4-7 extra MP’s. 5mp can be awful for front cameras or it can good, no two cameras are the same. Simply having a 20 or 8mp sensor isn’t going to give you better pictures.

  3. MickyLo
    August 24, 2015

    where can buy this phone

    • Fly agaric
      August 24, 2015

      Did you read the article? Nowhere!
      It’s an engineering sample – the phone isn’t even finnished yet.

      • Tommy
        August 24, 2015

        i need a phone

        • Dante
          August 24, 2015

          Really? (°ω°)

    • balcobomber25
      August 24, 2015

      In about a month every reseller will have it.

  4. balcobomber25
    August 24, 2015

    The sides and bottom look very similar to the design of the Gionee S7.

    • Airyl
      August 24, 2015

      I though that too. Still, it’s quite impressive that a fairly small brand like Siswoo has managed to replicate the build of a smartphone from a much larger brand, and probably for a lower price as well.

    • balcobomber25
      August 24, 2015

      I have no issues with it, just a general observation. I love what Siswoo has done these past few months, they are one of the more exciting brands to keep an eye on. They keep churning out quality devices without the issues some of the other smaller brands tend to have (see: Kingzone, Doogee, Elephone etc).

    • Andi Sykes
      August 24, 2015

      yup I also mentioned this to them, but they said the shape is to help hold on the special covers (which I have not seen yet)

    • balcobomber25
      August 25, 2015

      Personally i like it but now im intrigued about these special covers.

    • Airyl
      August 30, 2015

      Agreed.

  5. E8hffff
    August 24, 2015

    Not bad specs.

    I’m locking myself down to a Helio X10 or better and at least 8MP/20MP camera on my next phone, but this is real attractive. Siswoo are really thinking up there.

    • balcobomber25
      August 24, 2015

      Why a 20mp camera? Why not 16 or 13?

    • E8hffff
      August 24, 2015

      A guess but the quality of colours and perspective is in the lens coatings and mechanism. Getting a bigger matrix is the bonus. There’s no reason for me to compromise for a 13MP or 16MP when there is 20MP components readily available for manufacturers to choose.

      Also like mentioned in past comments, 5MP is awful. You need at least an 8MP front camera for any quality.

    • Fly agaric
      August 24, 2015

      iPhone seems to be coping more than just well with 8MP matrix only.

    • E8hffff
      August 24, 2015

      Consider higher resolution allow better digital zoom. You also have better computational powers with the more data. It’s not all about low-res with convincing colours. What if I want a grayscale photo?

    • balcobomber25
      August 24, 2015

      The sensor size, aperture, optics and software used will make a much bigger difference than 4-7 extra MP’s. 5mp can be awful for front cameras or it can good, no two cameras are the same. Simply having a 20 or 8mp sensor isn’t going to give you better pictures.

  6. Majid Khan
    August 24, 2015

    Hi Andy:
    This is my first ever post to Gizchina and I am regular reader of Gizchina.
    I would like to make you a small request as when you choose any post for “Sticky Post” can you please show also the time (ie. since when it was posted) as you do for the rest of the posts.
    Also in addition number of comments (Front Page)
    Thank you.

  7. MickyLo
    August 24, 2015

    where can buy this phone

    • Fly agaric
      August 24, 2015

      Did you read the article? Nowhere!
      It’s an engineering sample – the phone isn’t even finnished yet.

    • Tommy
      August 24, 2015

      i need a phone

    • balcobomber25
      August 24, 2015

      In about a month every reseller will have it.

    • Dante
      August 24, 2015

      Really? (°ω°)

  8. Majid Khan
    August 24, 2015

    Hi Andy:
    This is my first ever post to Gizchina and I am regular reader of Gizchina.
    I would like to make you a small request as when you choose any post for “Sticky Post” can you please show also the time (ie. since when it was posted) as you do for the rest of the posts.
    Also in addition number of comments (Front Page)
    Thank you.

    • Andi Sykes
      August 24, 2015

      ok

  9. Zaya SARAA
    August 24, 2015

    looks great i will buy

  10. Zaya SARAA
    August 24, 2015

    looks great i will buy

  11. Kristijan Gojani
    August 25, 2015

    Andy when you will review letv le max

  12. Kristijan Gojani
    August 25, 2015

    Andy when you will review letv le max

  13. POY
    August 26, 2015

    I’d quite like a 5.5″ eink only screen to be honest

  14. POY
    August 26, 2015

    I’d quite like a 5.5″ eink only screen to be honest

  15. Somedude
    August 29, 2015

    No thanks unbelievably easy to damage

  16. Somedude
    August 29, 2015

    No thanks unbelievably easy to damage