Everyone’s talking about the next iPhone, the next Galaxy Note, and the next Nexus phone from Google, which are all expected to debut within a month’s time. But this smartphone from Sharp may have those other phones beat — at least in the looks department.
Available in black and white, this phone has a head-turning 5-inch display that truly is “edge-to-edge,” as there are virtually no bezels.
It’s not out yet, but it will be pretty cheap: As a Sprint-exclusive, the Aquos Crystal will cost $US239 without a contract. (You can also get it for $US149 on Sprint’s Boost or Virgin prepaid brands, or just pay $US10 per month to Sprint through the carrier’s Easy Pay plan.)
The 5-inch display is obviously the star of the show. In practice, The Verge’s Dan Seifert said he “couldn’t stop looking at the screen,” which reminded him of an “infinity pool that has no edge.”
Though the device is beautiful to look at initially, Sharp left some room for improvement. The edge-to-edge display only has resolution of 720p HD with 294 pixels per inch (ppi). It is technically a Retina display when you view the phone about 12 inches from your face, but other newer phones have higher pixel densities for better viewing. Still, since it has imperceptible bezels, the screen is still the standout on the Aquos Crystal — especially from afar.
Another note about the display: Since Sharp wanted to let you listen to calls while holding the phone in any position, the Aquos Crystal has no clear earpiece and no proximity sensor in its display either; most phones need those sensors to prevent inadvertent swipes and touches. Instead, this handset “locks down” its display when you take a call, and then uses that entire panel surface to create sound. This is good since the Aquos Crystal can support HD voice.
The Aquos Crystal’s other specs are solid, though they won’t impress diehard techies looking for a premium handset (again, consider the price point here). The Aquos Crystal features a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and a measly 8 GB of storage, although there’s a microSD slot so you can add more storage (up to 128 GB).
The camera here is nothing revolutionary, but it looks to offer a few useful settings. It has a “smile detector,” which will take photos at the peak moment of happiness, a grid to keep your photos aligned, and even a unique grid that will allow you to take photos using the “golden ratio,” which is believed to be the most aesthetically-pleasing proportion.
Some other nifty features: The Aquos Crystal boasts support for WiFi calling, as well as audio technologies from Harman Kardon. And since this is a Sprint-exclusive, the Aquos Crystal leverages the carrier’s Spark LTE network, which currently offers peak speeds of 50-60 Mbps in 27 markets in the US.
Sprint and Sharp have yet to announce availability for the Aquos Crystal, but it will reportedly ship within the next month or so, according to PhoneArena. It will also ship running Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
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