Friday, December 12, 2014

Sharp Aquos Crystal First Impressions

As part of the Sprint Product Ambassador team, I have the opportunity to try out new phones from time to time and blog about them.  Usually it's something new and cutting edge - this time though, it's the Sharp Aquos Crystal.  Quietly released by Sprint in October, this interesting handset design from a non-typical Android company is a pleasant surprise.

With a 5" bezel-less screen running 720p resolution, the phone is a full size midrange value.  The Aquos has a very clean, excutive appearance, free from extraneous branding.  From looking at it, you would think 'Seiko', not 'Sharp'.

What's in the box?  The usual phone and charger - a basic 800ma brick, suitable for your phone, but not reusable for tablets or other big battery devices.  No headphones are included.

The Aquos has a removable back panel for access to the SIM card (included) and a MicroSD slot capable of supporting up to 128GB chips, but unusually, a fixed 2040mA battery. The back panel has a fine pebbled texture for improved feel and grip.

Once it's activated, we'll test out the Harman Kardon sound and patented Clari-Fi™ technology. Sharp (or Harman) claims that the Clari-Fi technology restores compressed digital music to "its full glory for crisper, wider and more dynamic audio through your headphones or accessories."   We'll see how that works out with standard lossy MP3 files -- I should still have some low-bit rate 128 files somewhere . . .

The Aquos supports the latest LTE band aggregation (Sprint Spark) so it should offer great download speeds and long battery life in upgraded Sprint markets.  With Bluetooth 4.0, it should also provide great connections to both my calling headset (Plantronics Voyager) and my music headset (Moto Buds).

For calls, the Aquos uses a 'Direct Wave Receiver' - since it has no bezel, it has no where to put the typical speaker for the handset.  Essentially, it vibrates the entire display area for calls.  Early reports show a less than stellar sound quality, but I'll mostly be using a bluetooth headset, so not a huge factor for me.

Wrapping up the first look at the handset, you'll find the USB port on the bottom, with the volume rocker on the left side.  On top is both the 3.5mm headset jack and power button.

“Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond in an official capacity. #sprintemployee.”

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