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Review: Sharp Aquos Crystal for Boost Mobile

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  1  

Oct 21, 2014, 2:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

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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Is It Your Type?

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.

Body  

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.

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Comments

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Static

Oct 21, 2014, 6:03 PM

Thank You.

Another wonderfully thorough review. Maybe this isn't the place for it, but I don't know if you quite realize how much we appreciate the hard work you put forth in the site.

I've been in the industry for 11 years, and almost every day I direct my customers here. We look at the phones together, combing over all of your detailed specs and reviews to help decide on the best device for their needs. You have helped me immensely, as you are THE trusted standard that I refer to every single day.

Thank you so very much.
 
 
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