Review: Sharp Aquos Crystal for Boost Mobile
Sharp has delivered an interesting handset in the Aquos Crystal, which features a 5-inch screen with practically no surrounding bezel. This futuristic-looking smartphone aims to trounce other mid-range contenders on Sprint's pre-paid Boost Mobile. Does it get the job done? Find out in Phone Scoop's full report.
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A phone like the Sharp Aquos Crystal is for those who like to stand out from the crowd and be different. It's no cookie-cutter Galaxy, Droid, or Apple product, and instead brings some unique features to the market. If you're looking for something off the beaten path, the Aquos Crystal is worth gazing into.Body
Sharp's approach to the Aquos Crystal is laudable. It set out to design a phone that's all screen, or at least as close as possible. The Aquos features a nearly bezel-less design, meaning there are minimal side and top edges framing out the display. Most phones have thick bezels above and below the screen, with thinner ones on the sides. The Crystal all but eliminates the bezel along the sides and top. Sharp couldn't get rid of the bezel completely, of course, and stuffed a lot of functionality into the thick bezel that forms the bottom of the Crystal. In designing an edgeless device, Sharp also created an odd-looking one.
I must admit, the first time I saw the Crystal I thought it was ugly as hell. The design looked unbalanced and awkward. After using the phone for nearly a week, my opinion of its basic look has changed. It's different in a good way. It has a futuristic, science-fiction appeal to it that is definitely unique. It managed to grow on me over time, though I suspect some will still be put off by its appearance.
Beyond Sharp's treatment of the display, the phone has a minimalist take on design. The black screen has a bright silver-colored panel below it containing the user-facing camera, microphone, and light sensor. The sides are squared off and formed by a metallic frame that gives the Crystal some strength. The back is formed by either a white or a dark gray polycarbonate panel. It is curved to help fit in your hand a bit better.
Usually devices with 5-inch screens are sizable. The edgeless design of the Crystal, however, allowed Sharp to really keep the dimensions in check. It's the same size as (and in some cases smaller than) some devices with 4.7-inch screens. The materials used in its construction are generally good and the overall fit and finish is pretty solid. Sharp assembled the phone well. The Crystal should fit into most pockets without issue.
The volume toggle is found on the left edge of the Crystal. It has a good profile, but travel and feedback could be a little bit better. There are no buttons on the right edge, not even a camera key. The screen lock / power button is on top. Its placement is a little awkward; it's too close to the side edge of the phone. The profile is a bit too small, and travel and feedback aren't great. The stereo headphone jack is also on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom. There are no buttons on the front of the phone, as the Crystal uses the on-screen controls for Android.
The Crystal's rear cover peels off easily. Sadly, the battery is built into the phone and cannot be removed or replaced by owners. Removing the back cover only provides access to the memory and SIM card slots, which are easy to use.
The Sharp Aquos Crystal isn't for everyone, but I'm sure it'll find fans out there somewhere.
Hands-On: Sharp Aquos Crystal for Sprint
Sharp debuted its first phone for the U.S. market in years this week.
Sprint Formally Debuts Sharp Aquos Crystal
Sprint today announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal, a mid-range handset that it will sell later this year. The Sharp Aquos features a nearly bezel-less design, with narrow edges running along the top and sides of the phone.
SoftBank and Sprint Working with Sharp on Edgeless Phone
SoftBank, which owns Sprint, today said it has chosen Sharp to supply it with low-cost smartphones. The handset deal with Sharp includes Sprint, which will also sell phones made by Sharp.
Boost and Sprint Announce Sharp Aquos Crystal Availability
Boost, Sprint, and Sprint Prepaid today revealed launch details for the Sharp Aquos Crystal. Boost is selling the Aquos Crystal beginning today for $150.
Sharp Looking to Divest LCD Business
Sharp is hoping it will be able to spin off a portion of its LCD panel business. The company wants to unload the piece of its display unit that makes small- and mid-sized displays for devices such as smartphones and tablets.
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