We already know that Japanese electronics maker NEC doesn’t shy away form wild design choices, but today the company announced a landmark smartphone feature: the world’s first water-cooled CPU. The Medias X 06E is marketed heavily towards women, featuring so-called "ladyphone" features like an HTC Rhyme-style light-up pendant in the form of either a miniature Tokyo Skytree or what can only be described as an earring. Beneath the phone’s effete exterior, a water-filled heatpipe funnels heat away from its quad-core Snapdragon 600 to its shimmering, glossy polycarbonate surface. Combined with a graphite sheet that runs parallel to the phone’s motherboard, the design promises to leave your phone significantly cooler than its water-free competitors. You can see a comparison in the thermographic image below.
So are there any performance benefits? It’s hard to say. The chip inside (an APQ8064T) is clocked at the same 1.7GHz as it is on many other phones, including several that Docomo showed off today, despite the fact that Qualcomm supports clocking it up to 1.9GHz. According to an NEC rep, the cooling helps the processor run at full power longer since it isn’t as prone to overheating, but we’re curious how often that particular problem is likely to occur when the CPU is dynamically reducing power consumption to optimize for battery life.
Perhaps more advanced cooling features are just a natural consequence of throwing more and more CPU cores into mobile devices, and maybe we should even be surprised it's taken this long to put water cooling in a phone. But while the Medias X certainly isn’t a slouch — the 4.7-inch 720p OLED screen is decent enough, and its 13.1-megapixel camera is par for the course — its specs aren't breaking any new ground, which makes the fancy cooling look comically overwrought in comparison. Doubly so when you factor in the pink ladyphone marketing. In any case, if you’re intrigued by sparkly, water-cooled phones and happen to live in Japan, NEC’s Medias X N–06E will be released on NTT Docomo sometime in late June.