I will blatantly start by saying it’s been a while since I last seen a Sharp phone, so long in fact that I completely forget Sharp used to make phones – oh the Sidekick days. Sharp has now introduced a smartphone that screams, “Remember us?” with the all new Sharp Aquos Crystal. The Crystal is a very well designed phone with a bezel-less display that makes it appear like a high-tier device when in fact it is actually mid-tier, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this phone deserves everyone’s full attention.
First and foremost we have to discuss what we all first notice when we see the phone, its bezel-less, or what Sharp calls “Edgeless” display. It certainly looks as if it’s from the future or a prop on a sci-fi show. The display comes in at an adequate 5-inch 720p HD with 294ppi, which is great for most people and standard viewing; however, because of the lack of bezels the front facing camera is now housed at the bottom of the device. It takes some getting used to and at first when I accessed the front facing camera, it caught me off guard, but it does show up with a prompt stating that the camera is at the bottom.
Buried beneath the Crystal has a 1.2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with 1.5gb of RAM which is something that is regular seen in most mid-tier devices and a battery that comes in at 2,040 mAh, but its not removable. Storage wise with most mid-tier phones you cannot expect to get 32gb or 64gb internal storage so what you do hope for is that it can be expandable; luckily the crystal is expandable up to 128gb with also 8gb internally.
Now design as I said before the phone looks very futuristic, but besides the bezel-less display the phone does not have any other redeeming design qualities. I often got asked about the display, but that’s where most conversations ended. The back plastic is dimpled like the Samsung Galaxy S 5 too.
The Sharp Aquos is running Android 4.42, but it is filled with tons of preloaded apps some which are useless and others which I probably would have end up downloading anyway such as Uber, NBA game time and Amazon so there is not that much disappointment, however no one really likes pre-installed apps or bloatware from the carrier you get your device.
When offering a device that is meant to be mid-tier, you have to expect something on the phone to be lacking. The camera, which is severely disappointing, is an 8-megapixel shooter while the front is 1.2-megapixels. The Crystal’s 8mp camera is just down right terrible, comparing to other 8mp camera you learn to understand it’s not only about megapixels, but the hardware you use for your camera. While using the phone I refrain from using the photos because I didn’t want to take photos of important moments with a terrible camera when in fact I really wanted to use this device.
The Crystal is a little workhorse with constant use the battery lasted me all day ending usually around 20-25%, which is something that I look for in every device I get my hands on if my device can take a usage beating and still keep ticking. The processor is just fine, yes the crystal may hiccup at times or take a few seconds before launching an app, but it wasn’t something I was actively trying to notice and be upset about every time. During my call quality test, some people complained I sounded either distant or as if I was speaking too quietly.
The Sharp Aquos Crystal is a great addition to the mid-tier phone market and I also want to welcome Sharp back into the fray of smartphones. I give Sharp extra points for taking a huge design risk in making a bezel-less display. The biggest pros I can take away from this device are a great display, expandable storage and amazing battery life. The biggest disappointment is the camera that is the only con I can find, but it is the most important. When you buy a phone, you hope to use your camera to capture important moments in your lives a birthday, a wedding, a graduation, and so forth. I can only hope we can see a high-tier bezel-less display from Sharp in the near future that would definitely compete with HTC, LG, and Samsung.
- Sleek design
- Bezel to bezel display
- Very fast for a mid range
- Large bottom chin
- Camera is a bit off but usable