Nov 17 AT 2:43 PM Nick Sarafolean 2 Comments

Sharp Aquos Crystal design and hardware: Farewell, bezels!

Sharp Aquos Crystal (8)

You’re browsing through your local smartphone retailer, appraising their wares. As you move through the rows, you start to notice a common trend in the design of the phones. A flat slab of a display that’s marked by two large bezels on the top and bottom and two smaller ones on the left and right. Perhaps it’s broken up by a speaker or a button, but the design is generally the same. Then you notice one phone that catches your eye. It has a display that stretches from side to side and extends all the way to the top edge, with only one bezel to be found on the bottom. It’s a stunning piece of work, and it happens to be called the Sharp Aquos Crystal.

Sharp is a company that’s worked primarily with televisions in the past, acquiring a reputable name for itself. Many don’t realize that the company also creates smartphones, with most being either Japan exclusive or low-end. Sharp’s latest entry into the smartphone market is the Sharp Aquos Crystal, a phone that has enough going for it that it could garner the company some extra attention.

The Aquos Crystal is unique in one regard: it’s the first phone to offer a truly edge-to-edge display, at least on three sides. The display stretches all the way to the top, left and right sides, with the edge marked by a beveled edge on the glass. The effect is truly astonishing and has garnered many a comment from those around for its stunning design. Even with the large bottom bezel that contains the front-facing camera, light sensor and LED notification light, the lack of bezels on three sides is enough to draw attention.

The sides and backside of the phone are less interesting, though still very well-crafted. The sides are made of a very sturdy plastic that feels more like metal than plastic. The microUSB charging port sits on the bottom while the left side holds the volume rocker. On top, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and the power button.

Sharp Aquos Crystal (2)

Moving around back, you’ll find dark, softly dimpled plastic that’s curved to fit comfortably in your hand. The 8-megapixel camera and LED flash are centered at the top, while the speaker sits at the bottom. As a whole, the Sharp Aquos Crystal feels well-built and certainly more valuable than its $150 price tag would have you expect. Moreover, it’s a phone with a 5-inch display that can be comfortably used with one hand due to its small footprint.

Powering up the display brings the Aquos Crystal into its element. The display is bright and has surprisingly deep blacks for an LCD display. The resolution is 1280×720, which may seem low in comparison to many phones, and it is. But the truth is that you don’t notice those missing pixels from a 1080p or even QHD display. The display is crisp and clear, and the lack of excess pixels enables the phone to hum along at a very speedy pace.

Sharp Aquos Crystal (6)

The display really shines when you view content that takes up the entire display. Reading is an enjoyable experience with the edgeless display, as it feels like you’re holding just the display in your hand rather than an entire phone. Watching videos is also stunning without bezels because it allows you to get immersed into what you’re viewing. Summed up, the display is great for just about anything.

For a $150 phone, we can’t find any major knocks against the Sharp Aquos Crystal’s design and hardware. It’s sturdily built and feels perfectly fine in the hand. The edge-to-edge display sets the phone apart from others while also making generally everything that you do on the phone look better. If you’re looking for a phone that has a great design at an affordable price, the Sharp Aquos Crystal is the phone for you.

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A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • Dirty Budha

    A VERY interesting move and VERY appealing. Of course, the speakerphone is on the back as if it was an afterthought.

    I’d like to see other makers move this direction. It’s sexy and clean.

  • Steve

    I foresee many accidental screen presses…