Sharp isn’t regarded as a premier player in the smartphone field but its brand new AQUOS Crystal smartphone is definitely turning heads with its amazingly unique bezel-less design. With its edge-less display and the low cost, it is definitely a very interesting device. Let’s review the specs of the device before we move on to our full review.
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
- Display: 5″ TFT LCD display, with 1280 x 720 pixels at ~294 ppi
- Memory: 1.5 GB of RAM
- Storage: 8 GB with microSD, up to 128 GB
- Camera: 8 MP rear-facing camera, 1.2 MP wide-angle front-facing camera
- Battery: 2,040 mAh battery
- OS: Android 4.4 Kit Kat
Design & Build Quality
Weighing just under 5 ounces, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal has a sleek look and feel, thanks to its bezel-less design. And because of its unique design, the front-facing camera and sensors are located at the bottom on the front side of the device instead of the usual top placement.
On the left side of the device, users will find the volume rocker. The power button can be found on the top right of the device; similar to the placement of the power button found on HTC One; alongside a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top left. And on the bottom is where the mic and micro-USB charging port is.
The rear of the device has a removable textured backplate. And at the bottom of it is the external speaker.
Behind the backplate is a SIM card slot, a micro SD card slot and the 2,040 mAh non-removable battery.
The 5″ edge-less TFT LCD display on the AQUOS Crystal looks gorgeous. Although it only packs a 720p display that offers ~294 ppi, the colors are sharp, vibrant and not overly contrasted.
We even found the viewing angles to be better than most devices out there, with the display to be fairly usable outdoors.
The Sharp AQUOS Crystal is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset with Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5 GB of RAM.
Benchmarking with AnTuTu, the device scored a rating of just over 18,000, which is pretty low. We did not notice any difference in performance, probably due to it running stock Android. However, resource-intensive games such as ShadowGun and Riptide had a little noticeable lags at times.
The Sharp AQUOS Crystal comes with a non-removable 2,040 mAh battery. We ran our usual battery test in which we run continuous video while the device is connected to LTE and Wi-Fi with both the Bluetooth and GPS turned on but not connected. We also set the display to 1/2 brightness. We were only able to get 9 hours out of it. However, we managed to get about 21 hours of mixed usage out of the device, which includes mixed network usage (part 4G, part Wi-Fi).
Overall, we would say that the battery life is a little above average.
The Sharp AQUOS Crystal sports an 8MP rear shooter with flash and a 1.2MP front shooter. The photo quality is alright but average at the very best. However, the biggest selling point of this device isn’t for its high-end specs, but rather for its unique design and added features such as the Framing Adviser which overlays the camera app to help users frame their shots.
Audio & Call Quality
The first thing users will notice is that the AQUOS Crystal doesn’t have a speaker due to its design. Because of this, Sharp introduced the digital wave receiver on the device, which allows the entire screen to act as a speaker. Paired with the HD Voice technology, we think that the audio quality on phone calls are great. However, we found that the main speaker is on the back is just average, even though it has the Harmon/Kardon’s Clarifi.
The AQUOS Crystal comes with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat, with no User Interface (UI) overlay. There are however, some additional enhancements such as the Framing Adviser, Clip Now, etc. We especially like ClipNow. ClipNow is a new way for users to take screenshots on the AQUOS Crystal by simply swiping the top of the bezel from left-to-right. Another great enhancement that Sharp included in the AQUOS Crystal is Assistant, which is powered by Speakonit. Among some of the thing it does is reading news headlines, translate languages, etc.
Overall, we like how Sharp included the extra enhancement on top of the stock Android, following in the footsteps of Motorola.
With a price range of $150, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal has so much to offer and it can definitely compete with some of the higher priced mid-ranged devices out in the market. The device handles most of the apps and games quite easily, and does so with crisp clear images on the 720p display. As for the camera, it definitely needs improvement. We have no doubt that Sharp has what it takes to compete with the big players that’s out in the market.