Japanese Flip Smartphone Has 2 Screens, Physical Keypad

BARCELONA, Spain — Freetel's Musashi is a flip phone that's unlike anything else in the world. The device runs Android 5.1 on not one, but two 4-inch screens.

Head-on, the Musashi looks pretty normal. There's a screen facing outwards and three capacitive touch buttons along the bottom for navigation, although the 800 x 480 display is a little lacking in detail. But when you check the phone out from other angles, it becomes a whole 'nother ball game. The double-thick stacked body looks a little bulky, but it's not that uncomfortable in your pocket, unless you're wearing painted-on skinny jeans.

MORE: Best Unlocked Smartphones - Android Phones

When I first pried open the Musashi, suddenly a little voice burst out in my head singing "A Whole New World," like when Aladdin took Jasmine on a magic-carpet ride. Suddenly there was another screen to replace the one that just got pushed away, along with a full physical feature-phone old-style keypad.

Using the Musashi is getting the best of both worlds: physical buttons for people who still use a smartphone to make phone calls, and a small, but snappy 4-inch screen above that, which is really the evolution of notifications screens from days gone past. 

Did I mention that this two-headed beast is coming to the United States and will cost just $249? Freetel says it's working on a deal with Amazon, so you should be able to buy the phone there, or directly from Freetel, sometime in the spring or early summer of 2016.

Inside, the Musashi's specs aren't super special. It features a quad-core 1-GHz Mediatek processor, 1GB of RAM and just 8GB of storage. It does have a microSD card slot for when you inevitably run out of space.

Just because there's a big screen on the outside doesn't mean Freetel had to sacrifice the selfie cam. In front, the phone features a 2-MP shooter, and there's a higher-res 8-MP camera on the back.

There's something about combining a feature-phone keypad with a touchscreen that just makes sense.  I would consider giving the Musashi to an older person who wants to browse Facebook, but also complains about smartphone dialers being too complicated or not being able to read the keys.

The other phone Freetel introduced today is the $249 Rei, which is much more straightfoward. The Rei features the latest version of Android (6.0 Marshmallow), a full-HD 5.2-inch screen, an octa-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and 8- and 13-MP cameras on the front and back.

But for my $249, I'll take the Musashi.

Sam is a Senior Writer at Engadget and previously worked at Gizmodo as a Senior Reporter. Before that, he worked at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer and Senior Product Review Analyst, overseeing benchmarks and testing for countless product reviews. He was also an archery instructor and a penguin trainer too (really).