When Sharp announced the AQUOS Crystal Android phone it stirred some interest with me for a number of reasons. The design being a big one, but also the implementation of the audio during calls and the inclusion of some camera software to help you take better photos. As interesting as the device is, it isn’t without it flaws for the mid-range price tag it carries along with it.
It has been quite a while since Sharp got rolling with a consumer phone that found its way to the states. Sharp actually has a number of phones across the globe, but mostly they are pretty standard designs. The AQUOS Crystal carries a 5-inch edge to edge to edge screen. It doesn’t get four edged because there is a pretty hefty bezel at the rear of the phone.
The device carriers its self well with a 5-inch 1280 x 720p resolution display. With the lack of side and top bezel it makes the devices physical footprint quite small, even though it is slightly thicker than the Galaxy S4. While I say it is bezeless, it still has a tiny frame around it. After all, something has to hold the screen in place. There is no ground breaking purpose behind the screen fitting in to the edges, but it certainly does make for a stunning look. One would think that you might accidentally press apps, actions, letters or anything else often without an edge on the screen, but the fact of the matter is you simply don’t. At least, I never had any issue during my time with the device.
It is interesting that the glass over the screen offers some sharp edges. Not as in they will cut you sharp, but sharp angles cut along the sides. I would lean towards these being part of the devices name as it reminds me of the looks of a natural forming crystals.
On the front of the device you have your front facing camera and a variety of sensors. They are all located at the bottom, rather than the top since there is no bezel to place them.
The volume rocker placement is slightly down from the top on left hand side of the device like many device. The power button is located on the top right hand side similarly to where HTC has been placing the power button. It is very close to the right edge of the screen which does make it a little awkward to access easily without fumbling with the device. The top left hand side is where you will find the headphone jack and on the bottom is where the mic and micro USB charging port is.
The rear of the device offers up a textured back-plate. The texture doesn’t cover the entire back-plate, which is a little odd to me. It stops just short of where the flash and camera lens are located, which is dead center and stacked. At the bottom rear of the AQUOS is where you will find the speaker grill and your external speaker.
Behind the backplate you will find your SIM card slot and micro SD card slot. The 2040 mAh battery is non-removable. Once your SIM and SD card in place, you will probably never have another reason to pull the back plate off. Which is a good thing because it is ultra thin and flimsier than Samsung’s.
Inside the Sharp AQUOSCrystal get a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1.5GB RAM and 8GB internal storage with a touch ofver 4GB of user available storage for apps and such. It runs a fairly stock build of Android 4.4 KitKat with a few pre-installed carrier apps, in this case, a few Boost Mobile apps.
Beyond the bezzleless screen, the AQUOS has a few features that are really the more interesting selling points of the device. Unlike the more traditional phones on the market, the AQUOS Crystal doesn’t have an ear piece to hear those that call you. Rather the whole screen acts as a resonating speaker. This allows you to hear your callers no matter where your ear is placed, so long as it is on the screen somewhere. While I am familiar with the technology behind it and know that this sort of bone conduction resonating sound is quite spectacular, I was pretty skeptical on how well it work. It actually worked really really well no matter where I held the phone on my ear.
As for cameras, the device sports a 8MP rear shooter with flash and a 1.2MP front shooter. The rear camera is average for the device’s price point. It isn’t stellar, but I have certainly used worse cameras with higher mega pixels in more expensive devices. The big selling attributes aren’t for its resolution, but more so for its added features like Framing Adviser that lays a template on your screen to help you frame your shots.
You also have Night Catch that will help catch those photos in low light situations, along with Sequential Shots, Shutter Detect and Panorama.
The front shooter is a bit of an enigma if you ask me. Since there is no bezel around the top of the device, Sharp had to place the front shooting camera in the bottom of the device. A nice warning message pops up when you switch to the front camera alerting you to this fact and that you should flip the device over. Being that there is no shutter button, simply tap the screen to take the photo, there is no real issue taking photos right side up or upside down as the image in the gallery will be correctly orientated in the gallery anyways.
Sharp put a few little, somewhat useless, flares in the device. For screenshots you can do the usual power + volume down option that many of us are used to doing. However you can turn on ‘Clip Now’ which lets you swipe across the top edge of the screen to take a quick screen shot. it can be tricky to get correct and I ran into personal issues where it would attempt to take a screen shot when all I was trying to do was pull down the notification window. Clip Now does give you some additional functions though, like it captures and creates an embedded URL for easy sharing.
Frameless Effect is another interesting feature. This feature gives you a few settings to toggle for some on-screen visuals. You can choose from three different light visuals that will display around the edge of the device’s screen when you turn the screen on. You can also activate the Flashing Alarm, which flashes a white light around the edge of the screen when you alarms are going off. Finally you have a wave light of sorts that goes across the screen when you plug it in to charge.
For the price tag on Boost Mobile and Sprint, the Sharp AQUOS offers a fairly smooth experience thanks to Sharp keeping the Android OS very minimally modified. It won me over with the clarity of the screen and sound quality from the glass. Couple that with the Harmon Kardon audio add-on for Bluetooth and headphone connections and you have a great audio performer.
The devices 2040 mAh battery is adequate enough to get your through a day of usage. The standby by time cleared 2 days with me only checking emails and clearing notifications with anywhere between 2 to 3 hours of screen on time. Attempting to use it as often as my primary device I easily got through 14 to 16 hours of medium usage.
There were a number of things that got under my skin a little. keeping the price point in mind they are fairly minor. Getting the notification shade to pull down was sometimes tricky due to the lack of bezel at the top of the screen. It is something you learn to work with and eventually get better at dragging it down. Items that need touch action near the top corners or edges of the screen are also sometimes tricky to appropriately hit. Again, something that I eventually got used to.
I feel the power button placement should not have been at the top of the device, or at least the top right hand side. It would have been better suited, for me at least, in the top middle or on the sides. Its current location works well if you use your left hand and index finger, but if you are right-handed it is awkward to press and you might find yourself pressing the volume keys and squeezing the sides harder than normal to reach it.
The only other gripe I have, which could be due to design or potential defect with the review unit I have in hand, is the light bleed around the screen in low light situations. It isn’t blinding nor does it appear to washout any of the screens color, but it is a bit annoying and noticeable on all three sides. You can see it in the image below with the device held at slight angle.
This is the first phone from Sony to hit the US in a very long time. It isn’t being targeted are a high-end device so I didn’t expect that caliber of functionality or build quality. At $150 out-of-pocket (on Boost Mobile) it is quite the fun and interesting device to use. It handles your apps, games and more quite easily and does so with crisp clear images on the 720p screen. While I wish the camera was slightly better, I can’t fault it considering the price tag. Even with the light bleed that I had,the touch issues and the awkward power button placement, it performed well. It is easily worth picking up if you are on a budget and looking for a solid device with some perks for Sprint, Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile. I think Sharp could take this to the next level and go mid-ranged and follow-up with a high-end variant in a year or two if that is their goal.
The post Sharp AQUOS Crystal: Hands-on with the Bezeless Phone from Boost Mobile appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
It seems like just about every technology manufacturer is throwing their hat in the smartwatch ring, and Sharp is no exception. They’ve recently showed off their take on a wearable device, and it takes a much more conservative approach to what we’ve been seeing lately. Instead of offering tons of bells and whistles, the Sharp watch tries to give you something with extraordinarily long battery life.
The smartwatch uses a reflective layer instead of a backlight for its LCD display. The reflective layer uses light that hits the face of the watch to illuminate the screen, drastically cutting power consumption. There’s a pretty big drawback here, though; a reflective layer means the watch can’t be used in the dark. It would have excellent viewing angles in direct sunlight, however.
The LCD is pretty lackluster for the sake of saving battery, too. It’s an LTPS display, or low temperature polysilicon, and it only displays 8 colors. It definitely wouldn’t be the prettiest screen to look at it, but it would barely use any battery.
If this device ever makes it to the market, would you be interested in one? Is extreme battery life worth sacrificing so many features and display qualities?
via: Phone Arena
Come comment on this article: Sharp shows off extremely battery-friendly smartwatch
Say goodbye to the days of monochrome night vision footage, folks. Sharp recently unveiled an infrared security camera that captures color 720p video, even in absolute darkness. The trick is an imaging sensor that uses near-infrared for illumination; unlike virtually every other competitor, this camera doesn’t have to resort to conventional lights (and thus give itself away) to get a vivid picture. The device will likely be limited to corporate and government customers when it goes on sale in late November, but it could have a big impact on your safety. Building managers will soon have an easier time identifying intruders, not just spotting them — while the technology might not stop a break-in, it should increase the chances of catching thieves before they strike again.
Filed under: Cameras
What’s that? A brand-new phone from Sharp? Yep, it’s called the AQUOS Crystal and it looks good. That’s not all we have on deck though — read on for our news highlights from the last 24 hours, including the August smart lock, Google’s ongoing licensing battle with Oracle, and more. Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Pop quiz, hotshot: When’s the last time you saw a Sharp phone in the United States? The Sharp FX from years back? Maybe the FX Plus? If you’re anything like me, your mind will hearken back to chunky clamshell classics like this one. Long story short, it’s been ages since Sharp has had any kind of mobile presence around these parts. That’s something the Japanese company is finally ready to change, and it’s aiming to do it with a splash. Enter the AQUOS Crystal, one of the most striking phones you’ll ever see. It’s finally available for $149 on Boost Mobile now and Sprint will get it come October 17th, but we have questions — so many questions. Has Sharp figured out a way to crack the all-too-fickle US market? Are we looking at a classic case of style over substance?
Let’s just get it out of the way now: The AQUOS Crystal looks fantastic. It’s the only phone I’ve ever tested that prompted random bystanders to either gawk or give it a double take as they walked by. One look is enough to reveal why: Those people were ogling the 5-inch 720p screen sitting up front… and more specifically, the lack of just about anything surrounding it. Squint hard enough and you’ll see just the faintest hint of a bezel running around the screen, so small that it may as well not be there. The effect is utterly striking — it feels like you’re holding some sort of J.J. Abramsian Star Trek floating-screen prop in your hand instead of a smartphone you can buy from a store right now.
It isn’t long before you notice why the Crystal earned its name, either. The glass covering the screen is angled at the edges to look like some sort of precious stone, an effect that’s usually more obnoxious than neat since it creates a pair of distracting rainbow lines where the material angles sharply. That gemstone motif informs the rest of the phone’s design, too: It’s mostly hard angles and flat edges, making the gently curving back the only real concession to comfort you’ll find. Still, since there’s hardly any cruft taking up space around the screen, the Crystal feels surprisingly small when you’re holding onto it — in fact, the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5 feel downright unwieldy in comparison.
Since a full seven-eighths of the phone’s face is nothing but screen, Sharp had to get creative when it came time to load it up with the usual accoutrements. Take the Crystal’s earpiece, for instance: There isn’t one. Well, not a traditional one, anyway. Rather than try and squeeze one in above the display (and ruin that lovely floating effect), Sharp included what it calls a Direct Wave Receiver that essentially turns the entire front glass panel into an earpiece. It’s hardly a new concept — Kyocera’s been playing with the idea of speaker-less phones for a few years now and Google Glass has a bone-conducting transmitter — but Sharp’s solution sounds better than you might think. Meanwhile, the 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera is actually located in a silver expanse along the bottom edge of the phone’s face, which some of you will know is definitely not prime placement for selfies.
The rest of the Crystal is decidedly sparse: The 8-megapixel camera and LED flash sit high on the phone’s rear, amid a sea of dimpled, white plastic that forms the removable battery cover. Underneath that lies the (sadly) non-removable 2,040mAh battery, with nano-SIM and microSD card slots nestled right above it. Turns out that latter addition is pretty crucial, since it will let you add up to 128GB of storage to a device that only comes with 8GB of space (only about four of which you can use right out of the gate). When it comes to the brains of the operation, don’t let the premium looks fool you: We’re working with a pretty modest spec list here. There’s a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 thrumming away inside that plastic frame, paired with 1.5GB of RAM and a CDMA/LTE radio — nothing terribly new, nor astonishingly snappy, but not a bad choice considering the Crystal’s cheapo price tag.
Display and sound
It’d be pretty stupid of Sharp to use a subpar screen when it removed nearly everything that could possibly distract you from it. Thankfully, it’s got the chops to make some impressive displays, and the 5-inch LCD panel it crammed into the Crystal doesn’t disappoint. First, the elephant in the room: Yes, the screen only runs at 720p, and no, that’s not a bad thing. It’s plenty bright when you need it to be and colors are well-saturated, though whites aren’t as crisp and blacks aren’t as sumptuous as they are on more premium devices. Still, pictures and videos pop when there’s no border restraining them — even poking through your email feels just a little wondrous.
Alas, that screen ain’t perfect. My biggest niggle comes to the fore when you look at the Crystal’s screen from an angle. This isn’t an issue with viewing angles; your face could be perpendicular to the display and you’d still be able to make out what was going on without much trouble. No, there’s actually some prominent light leakage going on at the edges of the panel. It’s not so noticeable on the longer left and right edges, but there’s enough light bleeding through along the screen’s top side that my eyes couldn’t avoid gravitating there when I was indoors (the power of the sun usually overpowers it). Distraction? You bet. Dealbreaker? Probably not. I’m not sure how widespread this issue is, or if it’s even avoidable given how the screen is laid out. Still, it’s a mild annoyance at worst and it’s even more tolerable considering how much the phone’ll set you back.
Sadly, the audio side doesn’t quite live up to the (pretty high) bar the screen has set. Sharp (and Sprint, I’m sure) have tried to augment the Crystal’s musical chops with Harman Kardon’s Clari-Fi and LiveStage audio-enhancing tech. I’ve taken both features for a spin in the past, and there wasn’t much new to report back here. Clari-Fi once again does a fine job of livening up your audio tracks by sharpening mids and highs and enhancing vocals, but that all really comes down to the song you’re listening to — some will sound vastly improved; others will hardly change, and you probably won’t notice any of those software-enhanced nuances the minute you get on the subway.
And what of LiveStage? I still can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would bother to turn this on. In a perfect world, the feature would add reverb just so and tweak tracks to make them sound as though they’re being performed in front of you. Instead, it adds a bit of aural distance between the layers of a song and almost always makes them sound worse. Maybe my ears, battered as they are thanks to years of loud Japanese rock, just don’t get it. I’d wager yours won’t either, but hey — it’s not a dealbreaker. And, of course, none of those features even work without headphones plugged in, which is sort of a shame considering the single rear speaker is purely average when it comes to pumping out the jams. The speaker’s wimpy muddiness is pretty much par for the course for a budget smartphone, which, while unavoidable, is still a bummer.
I (like many of you, I suspect) am an Android purist. Shocker, right? Thankfully, Sharp hardly futzed with Google’s OS before throwing it on the Crystal: It runs a pretty clean build of Android 4.4.2… that just happens to be festooned with all the extraneous Sprint apps you could think of. Upon first boot, I was greeted by a preloaded AccuWeather widget on the home screen, a Sprint featured-apps widget on another and no fewer than 20 additional apps and bolt-on services that the carrier decided I needed to have. Fortunately, most of those bright yellow Sprint icons are merely pointers to listings in the Google Play store, which means they’re easy to dismiss with extreme prejudice.
Not all of them are useless cruft, though: MobiSystems’ Office Suite 7 contains solid document and spreadsheet apps, and NBA Game Time and NASCAR Mobile are easily accessible if you’re into ballers and racers, respectively. There’s also a pretty impressive Siri/Cortana analog in the form of Speaktoit’s Assistant app (yeah, its branding could use a little work) that’ll read you the day’s top headlines, translate languages and let you check in on Foursquare in addition to the de facto slew of virtual assistant tasks. What few bits Sharp did add are centered on the screen; so-called Frameless effect settings allow you to enable visual notifications that surge across the display. Meanwhile, an additional screen lock will kick in once you initiate or pick up a call just to make sure your cheek doesn’t accidentally hang up on your friends for you. Hardly the fanciest things you’ll ever see, but surprisingly useful all the same.
Every phone maker is guilty of cutting corners with cameras at least once (especially with mid-range phones for the masses), and Sharp is no different. The main imaging attraction is an 8-megapixel rear camera that mostly churns out soft, grainy, under-saturated shots, even when there’s a seemingly sufficient amount of light bathing your subjects. Take it into the great outdoors on a bright day, though, and things start to improve a bit — you’ll be able to pick out just a little more detail in your photos, but the end results are still rarely worth getting worked up over.
If anything, I’m fonder of the equally lacking 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera because it’s quirky and isn’t where it should be. As mentioned before, it sits at the bottom of the Crystal’s face — in order to take a selfie that isn’t 90 percent neck and chin(s), you’ve got to turn the Crystal upside-down. Honestly, it sounds like much more of a hassle than it actually is (though the repeated visual reminders of everything going on south of my face are a little disturbing). Anyway, it’s good enough for a Skype video call or a group Hangout; just don’t expect to snap any masterpieces with it. As usual, both cameras will record video (with resolutions maxing out at 1080p and 720p for the main and secondary shooters, respectively). Surprise, surprise: Video doesn’t come out so hot either, as it’s laden with grain and the lens takes a bit longer to switch focus than I’d like to see.
It’s actually kind of a shame the two sensors are so lackluster, because the camera UI packs in a few neat tricks to help you snap better photos. All the usual settings like HDR mode, geotagging controls, ISO and white balance are present and accounted for, but a framing guide displays patterns on the Crystal’s screen so you can better line up your photos. Oh, and if you’re a nerd who often takes pictures of computer screens (not that we’d know anything about that), a Flicker Control setting counteracts the annoying refresh rate that manifests as those dark bars that run down displays. You can dismiss those settings with a single touch, while another snaps a fresh new photo, though there were a few (very rare) occasions when I had to tap the screen multiple times to make the Crystal understand I wanted to take a photo.
Performance and battery Life
The screen will garner most of the attention, but let’s not forget about how this thing runs. As I pointed out earlier, the AQUOS Crystal uses one of Qualcomm’s 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400s (more specifically, the MSM8926). It’s nothing if not a known quantity by now; it was first revealed over a year ago and has powered devices like Motorola’s LTE-friendly version of the Moto G and LG’s G2 mini LTE. Consider that a roundabout way of saying it’s not too hard to guess how smoothly the Crystal operates: It’s plenty snappy, but easy to stymie if you’re willing to try. Rapidly scrolling through long web pages in Chrome was mostly a graceful affair, as was jumping in, out and between apps.
The Crystal isn’t immune to slowdown, though — it took three seconds to launch the camera and a jam-packed notification shade would occasionally stutter when I dismissed it — but there’s enough horsepower tucked away in there to make sure it won’t leave you hanging while you’re trying to get things done. Oh, you’re a fan of numbers? The benchmark breakdown reveals, well, nothing terribly surprising. The AQUOS Crystal and Motorola’s second-generation Moto G are pretty much dead even by all counts, while HTC’s Desire 816 (also available contract-free on Virgin Mobile) pulls ahead thanks to its slightly speedier version of the Snapdragon 400 chip.
|Sharp AQUOS Crystal||Moto G (2014)||HTC Desire 816|
|3DMark IS Unlimited||4,657||4,679||4,830|
|SunSpider 1.0.2 (ms)||1,569||1,534||1,137|
|GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan Offscreen (fps)||1.7||N/A||1.7|
|SunSpider: Lower scores are better; results compiled on Chrome.|
Now, regarding that 2,040mAh battery. In the standard Engadget rundown test (with the phone connected to WiFi and looping a 720p video while fetching social updates at 50 percent screen brightness), the AQUOS Crystal stuck around for a full eight hours and 46 minutes before it needed to suckle on a power outlet once more. Curiously, that’s just over an hour more than what the 2014 Moto G eked out of its battery (which is actually just a touch more capacious) when we ran it through the wringer earlier this month. Real-world testing saw some similarly strong results — my days of tweeting, taking calls, watching Sutton Foster videos on YouTube, triaging emails and playing games on the toilet were never enough to kill the Crystal before work hours were over. On average, it took just north of 15 hours to discharge the thing completely, which means enough juice for your routine and then some.
Here’s another question to ponder: How well does this thing actually work as a phone? It lacks a traditional earpiece! How crazy! In fact, the whole telephonic shebang works reasonably well — while call quality is best when you hold your ear to the top of the phone, you can actually stick it anywhere on the screen and converse the way you always do. Why anyone would choose to plop those ears smack-dab in the center of the screen to listen is beyond me, but hey: At least you’ve got the option. Alas, it’s never quite as loud as a standard speaker, and people I called weren’t terribly enthused with the somewhat quiet output they got as I spoke into the microphone.
Here’s the thing to remember about the AQUOS Crystal: It’s only going to be an option for you if you’re OK inking a deal with Sprint (or shacking up with sub-brands like Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile). Everyone else can just move along right now… unless you live in Japan, in which case I’d recommend you live a little and splurge on the Crystal’s more powerful big brother. After all, the Crystal X pairs a bigger 5.5-inch frameless display with a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 for added oomph. That snappy combination of style and power is a distinct step up from the version we have here in the States, and I’m frankly a little bummed that’s not the model I’m reviewing today.
Anyway, let’s break the rest down by carrier. On Sprint, the Crystal costs $240 upfront to own it free and clear, which you could also split into monthly payments that get tacked onto your bill. You could feasibly consider the LG G3 Vigor (with monthly payments of $13 over 24 months), though we’re looking at a dead heat between spec sheets and I’d give the Crystal the nod if only because of style. And don’t forget the original HTC One. It’s a bit long in the tooth, but it’s got a lovely 1080p display and enough horsepower to run a circle or two around the Crystal.
If you’re jonesing for some non-contract action on Virgin Mobile (where the Crystal only costs $150), you’ll have to decide whether you’d rather spend the extra cash on a HTC Desire 816. It’s bigger, and it packs a better camera and speakers, and a Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.6GHz. The downside? It costs twice as much as the Crystal. Did your wallet just groan as you read that? You could also consider the HTC Desire (actually a rebranded Desire 601), but you probably shouldn’t — you’d spend $30 more for a lousier camera and a lower-resolution screen. The Crystal costs the same $150 on Boost Mobile, where there are plenty of (less stylish) choices.
There’s yet another HTC Desire in the form of the 510 that only costs $100, and while it doesn’t quite stack up to the Crystal, it’s cheap and it comes close. Oh, and in the event you’re not exactly married to Sprint’s ilk and want a similarly spec’d phone without spending a ton of money, consider the original Moto G with LTE. Sure, it doesn’t have the big screen or improved camera that its sequel does, but $219 will score you a device with the same brains as the Crystal and the LTE support none of the next-gen Moto phones have yet.
Sharp and Sprint deserve some major kudos — not only did they bring a truly interesting smartphone to our shores, but also they’re pricing it to move and trying to get it into as many hands as possible. I can’t help but wish Sprint imported the Crystal’s more powerful brother instead, but hey: We have an actual bezel-less screen, and a set of guts that (for the most part) doesn’t let it down. In the end, though, here’s what it boils down to: If you’re absolutely, positively enamored with Sprint, and don’t feel the need to pay gobs of money for top-tier power, the AQUOS Crystal is definitely worth your attention. If you’re all about the non-contract lifestyle on Virgin or Boost, though, the Crystal is a steal at $150. Thanks to the dark magic of carrier-exclusivity deals, no one else need apply.
Filed under: Mobile
We knew the Sharp AQUOS Crystal was coming, but we weren’t exactly sure when. That’s all changed thanks to news from Sprint. The handset, packing a nigh edge-to-edge display, has just reached Sprint Prepaid and Boost Mobile (either at Best Buy or a Boost Mobile retail store) for $150. If you’d rather run Sharp’s latest attempt at breaking into the US smartphone market on traditional service using a $10 per month payment plan, you’ll have to wait an additional week until October 17th. There’s yet another option, although it sadly won’t put the phone in your hands any sooner. Quite the opposite, actually. Should you rather buy on the Sprint Prepaid from Radio Shack — it’d surely love the business — you’ll have to wait all the way until October 21st to drop your cash. Need help deciding if it’s for you? Check out our hands-on video after the break.
Two months ago Sprint announced that they would be the official launch partner for a new comer device from Sharp. The Sharp AQUOS Crystal as it is aptly named is rather interestingly design Android powered phone with a very unique edge-to-edge screen that dominates the upper section of the phone.
The AQUOS Crystal offers up an edge-to-edge 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720. It packs a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and a micro SD slot with support for a 128GB card. The device offers a 2040 mAh battery that is rated for 13 hours of talk time. As for photos, you get a 8MP rear camera with flash and a fairly standard 1.2MP front facing camera. (Yes, it is down at the bottom.) It also launches with Android 4.4.
Sharps big push is the AQUOS Crystal design. However, in their promo video for the device, they spend a great deal of time talking about the camera software and the audio. In the audio department the AQUOS Crystal boasts Harman/Kardon LiveStage technology mixed with CLARI-FI. The CLARI-FI technology is said to restore all types of compressed digital music back to their original sound quality. Another sound achievement, or difference compared to other devices in the market, is how you hear your calls. There is no earpiece speaker. Rather it uses the entire screen panel as a speaker. They call it a direct wave receiver.
On the camera side of things Sharp has put some pretty cool features inside. You get the usual smile detection , panorama shot and sequential shot options, but you also get framing advisor and night catch. Framing advisor helps new, and seasoned, photographers use various grid overlays to set up image composition.
Kind of cool really. Night catch will brighten backgrounds and the subjects to help you take better shots in low light situations.
Overall the Sharp AQUOS Crystal packs quite a few things that make it a stand out device. Possibly the most impress thing is that the device is listed for $149.99 with Boost Mobile and is available today. The press release lists that it is also available for the same $149.99 price tag for Sprint Pre-Paid, but I am not seeing on the pre-paid site just yet. However, it is live at Best Buy and will be at Radio Shack on October 21st. It will be making its way to Sprint on October 17th for $0 down and monthly payments of $10. The suggested retail price is $239.99.
Any interest in this guy?
The post Sharp AQUOS Crystal, the edge-to-edge oddity, now available at Boost coming soon to Sprint appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
I love Disney, but when it comes to smartphones, I probably wouldn’t make it an open statement that I do. Still, if that’s your thing, then maybe the Disney Mobile SH-02G is your kind of thing. If the device looks a bit familiar, that’s because it was forged in a partnership between Sharp and Japanese telco, NTT DoCoMo – Sharp’s most recent device was the almost-bezel-less Sharp Aquos, and while the Disney Mobile SH-02G isn’t quite on the same level as the Aquos, Disney decals aside, it is still an objectively good looking phone with very obvious design cues from the Aquos.
The device will launch with a 5.5-inch display, 2.3GHz processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage. Along with those very fair hardware specifications, the Disney Mobile SH-02G will also get the benefit of Disney theming – the one pictured at the top of this article is the 2014 Winter model, featuring Frozen, of course. The device is also said to have Disney apps already installed and some kind of LED illumination insert, though a version of Android has not been specified. As with most devices launched in Japan, however, it’s not likely to become available globally, but maybe it will if it becomes particularly popular over there.
What do you think of the Disney Mobile SH-02G? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post The Disney Mobile SH-02G: the Sharp Aquos just got a Disney makeover appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Today, we take the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook for a spin, round up a few of our favorite phones, learn about transparent solar panels, and more! Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
It’s sure been a long time since Sharp shipped a smartphone to American consumers. And, let’s be honest with ourselves, the FX Plus wasn’t exactly taking the market by storm. The Sidekick-esque slider was dated even by 2011 standards. But the company is hoping its AQUOS Crystal will have better fortunes. The (almost) bezel-less device offers high-end looks with decidedly mid-range internals. The 1.2GHz chip inside isn’t going to set land-speed records, but it should be enough for most folks. The most important feature, though, is the edge-to-edge 5-inch display. While Sharp’s description of it as a “groundbreaking” device might be a little over the top, we must admit it’s quite a stunning panel — especially for being five inches and only 720p.
While we’ve seen plenty of devices before that claim to be free of bezel, the AQUOS Crystal comes the closest to actually fulfilling that claim. There’s only the tiniest sliver of silver around the edges. In fact, it felt much smaller in the hand than many 4.7-inch phones. Even my tiny hands were easily able to reach across the display (a feat that’s a bit of a stretch on my aging Galaxy Nexus). Sharp’s expertise in building LCDs is obvious when you look at the phone. The screen is bright; the blacks are deep; colors are vibrant; and the viewing angles are solid (though just short of what we’d call impressive). Really the only complaint is that the high-gloss coating produced a ton of reflection and glare in even moderately lit environments.
Fans of the OG Nexus 7 will love the dimpled plastic back. It’s not a soft-touch plastic, but the little indents look nice and offer a good amount of grip. You’ll appreciate every little bit of traction since this thing is so light you could forget you’re holding it. Thankfully, even though it’s primarily plastic and weighs about as much as a small bundle of feathers, it still manages to avoid feeling cheap. We wouldn’t quite call it “premium,” but it certainly doesn’t feel like Sharp cut too many corners on the construction. And that’s important since this is the company’s big reintroduction to American smartphone consumers.
Sharp and Sprint also go easy on the customization, which is nice. There’s minimal bloatware and only minor UI tweaks. Otherwise this is the KitKat you’ve come to know and love. What few changes there are here are actually welcome additions to the Android UI. For instance, swiping diagonally from the top-left corner will take a screenshot and save it to a clipboard along with a related URL for quick and easy sharing. You’ll also find Harman’s Clari-Fi inside, which is designed to improve the audio quality of compressed audio tracks, like those you’d stream from Spotify. Perhaps most importantly though, it works on Sprint’s speedy Spark network.
The AQUOS Crystal will hit Sprint and its prepaid sub-brands soon, though we don’t have an exact date just yet. If you pick it up on Sprint, it’ll cost you $10 a month with a service plan, or you can get it for $150 from Boost or Virgin.