The "1-Minute" Review
- Non-removable battery
- Tinny call quality
- Light bleeding on display
- Front-facing camera placement
- Weak cameras
It’s been quite some time since anyone’s seen a phone release from Sharp. Not only are they jumping back into the mobile arena, they’re doing so with gusto. The new Sharp AQUOS Crystal is turning heads at first glance with its bezel-free design, but does the rest of the phone live up to the hype? Let’s check out some reviews!
For first things first, this is an mid-tier phone in pricing. So while the screen might offer some rather cutting edge features, the internal specs are firmly average. Fortunately, Sharp has matched this with extremely competitive pricing. With that out of the way, we’ll look at some deeper details.
The chassis of the phone is purely plastic. While reviews of the phone’s feel and design were generally positive, a few reviews pointed out how cheap the rear cover felt and how the lightness of the phone comes off as less than premium. However, there was plenty of praise as well. Engadget noted, “the Crystal feels surprisingly small when you're holding onto it” and went on to say that it “delivers a lot of style for a reasonably low price.”
The front of the phone is almost entirely taken up with the edgeless 5-inch 1280-by-720 pixel display. While the resolution might be a little low for the flagship market, it holds up well in the mid-tier. Reviews of the display’s image quality and edgeless design were wholly positive, with CNet stating, “Gimmicky or not, I really like it.” Engadget went as far as to call it “the only phone I've ever tested that prompted random bystanders to either gawk or give it a double take as they walked by.”
Powering the phone, you’ll find a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor with 1.5GB of RAM. Nothing incredibly impressive or disappointing. Again, right in line with the mid-tier pricing. Engadget put it through its paces and found “It's plenty snappy, but easy to stymie if you're willing to try.” PhoneArena stated, “navigating across the interface and opening apps are handled in a smooth manner.”
Combining the mid-range display with a similar processor has allowed Sharp to pull some seriously battery life out of its small 2040mAh battery. Reviews on battery life were all positive. Some even found they could make it multiple days without charging. In all, Engadget summed up findings best, stating it has “enough juice for your routine and then some.”
Unfortunately, there are a few things about the phone that reviews didn’t like. The 8MP camera with flash with 1.2MP front-facing camera at bottom of phone both received lackluster reviews at best. While it performed fast for most reviewers, image quality was lacking and colors were muted. You also have the issue with the placement of the front-facing camera. With no upper bezel on the handset, the front camera was relocated to the bottom bezel. While some reviews didn’t mind, most were leary of the move. TechRadar said using it was “far from an ideal experience.” IGN was more critical, calling both cameras “mediocre and unimpressive.”
Another compromise for the sake of the edgeless screen is the phone’s earpiece. It uses technology to send audio through vibrations in the screen in place of the speaker. While reviews indicate that it works, most noted a few clarity and volume concerns. CNet said, “Audio quality was poor. My calling partner's voice was thin and hollow” and IGN described call quality as “Well below the high-fidelity audio heard with newer technologies.”
The Crystal comes with 8GB of internal storage, of which, 4GB is available for use. If you plan to store music, movies or play games, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the phone’s MicroSD card support.
Overall, Sharp appears to have not only turned heads, but offered enough to keep people’s attention as well. If you’re willing to deal with the slight negatives on the phone, reviews agree that it is a solid device. CNet declared, “Among devices in its class, the phone is a worthy buy.”
Prices (Where to Buy)
Sharp released the Aquos Crystal on October 9, 2014.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sharp Aquos Crystal user manual here.
Sharp backs up the Aquos Crystal with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Aquos Crystal has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sharp support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sharp's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.