Japanese tech giant Sharp is known for its fashionable TVs and other electrical appliances. The firm manufacturer and market an array of devices in every corner of the globe.
If you are reading this post in India, then you probably don't know that Sharp has an expertise in churning a number of intriguing smartphones. Although the firm hasn't announced its entry into the Indian handset market yet, it remains one of the top suppliers of LCD panels to Apple and other big brands.
Sharp recently introduced its new smartphone, the Aquos Cystal, in the US market. The most wonderful thing about the handset is the bezel-less frame surrounding the display. Sharp is certainly banking on this, though we'll have to analyse the handset's performance in our test.
At this year's CES tech show in Las Vegas, we got to spend some time with Sharp's Aquos Crystal and here's our first impression.
Sharp Aquos Crystal: Form Factor, Design, Display and Operating System
The Aquos Crystal feels a little awkward and unapologetically different from other smartphones offered by rival brands. The device definitely looks futuristic that's because of its bezel-less screen.
The front side of the phone is mostly screen, and there's the complete lack of bezel around the top and size of the handset. While the bottom of the handset looks long, it doesn't look cheap when we held the device.
Thanks to its border-less display, it feels so much smaller than most other 5-inch screen sized handsets. The Aquos looks like as if it's the screen, and we found it very comfortable to carry around.
On the downside, we didn't like the back side of the phone. The device still uses plastic to cover the back, but it's hard plastic. Notably, the rear back is replaceable. As expected, the screen picked up fingerprint easily.
The handset comes with a 5-inch LCD display with a resolution of a 720p HD resolution. While the screen resolution may look disappointing, watching a pre-loaded video during the demo session was pleasing.
Since there's no bezel, the display seems much bigger, as if you were watching a video on some portable TV. Contrast ratios are also decent, while text on websites seems manageable.
This sharp-made phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. The UI feels depressing and pretty much standard. It seems that no efforts were put in to make the user interface (UI) engaging.
Sharp Aquos Crystal: Processor and Connectivity
The U.S version of the smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, paired with 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of native storage and a microSD card slot. During our brief testing, we didn't notice any major issues. However, we do think that users may not like the fitted processor, as it looks too old to satisfy power users. Connectivity options are pretty much understandable.
Sharp Aquos Crystal: Camera and Video
Sharp Aquos Crystal's 8-megapixel rear-facing was terrible during our testing at this year's CES tech show. In less-than-perfect conditions, the camera struggles a lot. Notably, it can take several seconds for the handset to focus and process the shot. The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera seemed to be a little better, but we need some more time to pass on our final verdict.
The phone can shoot HD quality videos. Unfortunately it's just not on the level of the cameras that you'll find on the Samsung or HTC.
Sharp Aquos Crystal: Battery and Verdict
The Aquos Crystal offers a 2,040mAh battery fitted inside. It should easily last a day, given the device's low resolution display. Well, for a mid-end phone like the Aquos Crystal, a full day battery is fairly standard.
If you want a phone with a compact size, we'd recommend either the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact or the iPhone 5S. That's not to say that the Sharp Aquos Crystal is a badly designed device. The handset is extremely beautiful, but it may not be enough powerful from inside.
As of now, the tech giant from Japan has no plans to bring the Aquos Crystal to India. The handset is now available to purchase in the US for less than $250 (unlocked).