NEC's Medias W global prototype spotted: 4.3-inch Android phone or 5.6-inch tablet? (hands-on)

NEC will launch its dual-screened Medias W in Japan in April, but now the company is working to get the phone landing in shores beyond Nihon. We saw glimpses of the red-finish global prototype that's on show here at MWC, although the company wasn't able to confirm any prices or destinations for the worldwide versions just yet. We also managed to get to grips with the Japanese iteration. Fortunately the only difference between the two models is NTT DoCoMo's baked-in proprietary apps and menus. So that's less bloatware? Count us in. We've got more impressions the on the dual 4.3-inch phone (and our hands-on video) right after the break.

Switching between the 5.6-inch tablet mode (with the homescreen spread between two screens) and the smaller footprint 4.3-inch smartphone setup is accompanied with a satisfying click -- the hinge takes up the whole of the right edge. Despite that two-screen setup however, NEC has managed to shave the profile down to just under 13mm thick. Those two 4.3-inch LCD displays (each 540 x 960) join a Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel shooter, 16GB of built-in storage and a microSDHC slot for extra space. Yes, That's just a single camera, as the Medias W's flexible frame means you can use the same sensor for 'proper' photography and video calls.

Fortunately, despite the unusual hardware config, the software experience is a stock Android 4.1 one. Even the ability to transfer (and pin) internet, maps and more is accompanied by its own on-screen stock-esque button. It took a while to get accustomed to fixing one app on one screen, and navigating to the other, but the experience wasn't difficult. The fact that most apps can be used in the smartphone means it isn't quite as awkward as, say, the Sony Tablet P. We also thought the typing experience was notable, with the ability to use the full width of the secondary screen when typing in landscape -- it was seriously comfortable. Whether the 2,100mAh battery will be enough to power those two screens is a concern, but first we'll have to wait on confirmation that the rest of the world will get a chance to try it.