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NEC Intros First Smartphone with Liquid Cooling

By - Source: The Inquisitor | B 19 comments

This phone is headed to Japan, but its innovative design could cause ODMs to rethink their smartphone layouts.

The Inquisitor reports that NEC's Medias X N-06E is the first smartphone to feature liquid cooling.

Before now, phones didn't have a cooling system at all. But the new Medias X sports a liquid-filled heatpipe that pulls heat away from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core SoC and disperses it all via a graphite "radiator" through the phone's polycarbonate exterior to slow overheating. The system board is also designed to disperse the heat.

What's surprising about this cooling aspect is that the Snapdragon chip isn’t overclocked – it's not even maxed out at 1.9 GHz. Instead, the chip is toned down to a slower 1.7 GHz even with its liquid-cooled core installed. Still, overclocked or not, the chip will generate heat from heavy use like graphic-intensive game playing and media streaming. The liquid-cooling system should help the overall device stay cool to the touch even during heated FPS shootouts.

In addition to the liquid cooling, this phone will feature Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean", a 1.3MP camera on the front, a 13.1MP Exmor RS camera on the rear and a backside illuminated sensor. There's also a 4.7-inch OLED display with a 1280 x 720 resolution, NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity, a 2,300mAh battery and compatibility with Japanese digital TV services. That's right: it's only heading to Japan's NTT DoCoMo this summer.

Still, if this liquid cooling design is successful, it could find its way into other smartphones sold in more regions. It may eventually become necessary as components decrease in size but increase in number within smartphone form factors and in sheer desktop-like performance. It certainly would be the preferred alternative to a noisy fan.

The weird aspect about this phone is that NEC isn't marketing the device to gadget nerds. Instead, it's shooting for the ladies, packing the phone with a pretty pink color option and girly charms. Some of us would buy it nonetheless just to take it apart and see how the cooling system performs... and for the pretty charms.

Display 19 Comments.
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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    tului , May 17, 2013 6:20 AM
    My girlfriend tried liquid cooling an iPhone 4. Dropped it in the toilet. Apparently it reached temperatures so low it would no longer turn on >:) 
  • 13 Hide
    thegreatms , May 17, 2013 7:13 AM
    @irish_adam
    Nope, heat pipes are not solid. They are generally filled with a liquid/gas that evaporates and condenses at the correct temperature to allow the convective flow of the gas to transport the heat from the source to the sink.
    A well designed heat pipe can move many times more heat than the same diameter solid copper pipe.
  • 13 Hide
    house70 , May 17, 2013 7:51 AM
    Quote:
    My girlfriend tried liquid cooling an iPhone 4. Dropped it in the toilet. Apparently it reached temperatures so low it would no longer turn on >:) 


    She just placed it where it belongs, LOL.

    Heatpipe is NOT liquid cooling, at least not by the widely accepted definition of it. If anything, it's phase-change cooling.
Other Comments
  • -7 Hide
    aibenq , May 17, 2013 6:08 AM
    well, they target is lady is more likely fitted. woman is kinda hate when they phone warmed, specially on summer. so if the phone is cooler, the result they will able hold the phone longer and able to do many activity longer without worrying overheating they phone.
    well, we man rare complain about the heat because we kinda ignore it... :D a
  • 9 Hide
    InvalidError , May 17, 2013 6:18 AM
    A lot of wireless gadgetry does have a (crude) cooling system: a copper sheet that serves both as an EMI shield and a heat-spreader to soften major hotspots.
    I think the fancy liquid cooling is more about spreading heat around more effectively to reduce uncomfortable hotspots than anything else.
  • 31 Hide
    tului , May 17, 2013 6:20 AM
    My girlfriend tried liquid cooling an iPhone 4. Dropped it in the toilet. Apparently it reached temperatures so low it would no longer turn on >:) 
  • 12 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , May 17, 2013 6:47 AM
    Heatpipes now constitute liquid cooling? I guess my graphics cards and my motherboard are liquid cooled now. Running a tower heatsink on your CPU? You're liquid cooling!
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , May 17, 2013 7:02 AM
    WTFone moment of the day.
  • 13 Hide
    thegreatms , May 17, 2013 7:13 AM
    @irish_adam
    Nope, heat pipes are not solid. They are generally filled with a liquid/gas that evaporates and condenses at the correct temperature to allow the convective flow of the gas to transport the heat from the source to the sink.
    A well designed heat pipe can move many times more heat than the same diameter solid copper pipe.
  • -1 Hide
    TheBigTroll , May 17, 2013 7:31 AM
    they should have overclocked it with that cooling system. 2.5ghz would be achievable
  • 13 Hide
    house70 , May 17, 2013 7:51 AM
    Quote:
    My girlfriend tried liquid cooling an iPhone 4. Dropped it in the toilet. Apparently it reached temperatures so low it would no longer turn on >:) 


    She just placed it where it belongs, LOL.

    Heatpipe is NOT liquid cooling, at least not by the widely accepted definition of it. If anything, it's phase-change cooling.
  • 0 Hide
    bildo123 , May 17, 2013 12:21 PM
    Kind of bad when you start thinking in terms of battery life.
  • 6 Hide
    house70 , May 17, 2013 12:24 PM
    Quote:
    Kind of bad when you start thinking in terms of battery life.


    This is not powered cooling, it's the phase-change that creates the movement of fluid through the heat pipes. Everything is passive. No power required.
  • 0 Hide
    sumire , May 17, 2013 5:33 PM
    i thought that "radiator" is real, seems it's just a passive heatsink-like.
  • 1 Hide
    oj88 , May 17, 2013 6:25 PM
    Wouldn't liquid increase the weight of the phone? My lady sure won't like the extra weight in her bag.
  • 0 Hide
    -Jackson , May 17, 2013 9:27 PM
    Quote:
    Heatpipes now constitute liquid cooling? I guess my graphics cards and my motherboard are liquid cooled now. Running a tower heatsink on your CPU? You're liquid cooling!

    Ahem, "liquid-filled" heatpipes. :p 
  • 2 Hide
    edwd2 , May 17, 2013 9:47 PM
    looking forward to K-series atom processors and smartphone overclocking hahaha
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , May 18, 2013 12:16 AM
    "Some of us would buy it nonetheless just to take it apart and see how the cooling system performs..."
  • 0 Hide
    laststop311 , May 18, 2013 11:10 AM
    Is this basically like a mini vapor chamber? Phones are already fanless. Can this method dissipate a higher tdp of heat? or does it run the same tdp cooler? What temp does its 1.7ghz qualcomm 600 hit when cpu/gpu are fully stressed for 30 mins? What temp does the htc one with 1.7ghz qualcomm 600 hit when fully loading cpu and gpu? Is this any better then the standard passive radiators? The article doesnt give any real info. Where is Anand when u need him. Sorry tom Anand owns you hardcore anal style.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 19, 2013 12:22 AM
    Quote:
    Is this basically like a mini vapor chamber? Phones are already fanless. Can this method dissipate a higher tdp of heat?

    How much heat the heat pipe can transfer is pointless since the ultimate heatsink in mobile devices is the device's body. No matter how good the heatpipe may be, you still do not want to exceed what power the device's body can dissipate without generating uncomfortable heating.

    Personally, I find hotspot - uneven heating - on modern devices somewhat annoying so I would welcome lower TDP chips with more efficient heat-spreading to eliminate hotspots.
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , June 10, 2013 7:43 PM
    Using a heatpipe is not liquid cooling, otherwise I could say that my 4 year old gaming laptop came from the factory with liquid cooling.