Sharp AQUOS Crystal hands-on

US consumers know Sharp for its line of AQUOS high-definition television sets, but in the smartphone space, we’re inclined to say that most people wouldn’t even have the slightest inkling to think of them as a brand they’d consider choosing. Why’s that? Well, it’s plainly obvious that Sharp has no presence in the US smartphone market. However, when we look overseas at Japan, Sharp is highly regarded as a formidable contender.

Seeing that Sharp is attempting to get its feet into the door here in the US smartphone space, it doesn’t surprise us to find out that the company is partnering with Sprint for its first major smartphone release in the US. It’s not a juggernaut as we look deep and down into its specs sheet, but for the Sharp AQUOS Crystal, it’s astounding us for the mere fact that it’s sporting a unique quality that’s hard to find in other phones – a phone that packs along a 5-inch edgeless display.


For a player that has no concrete foundation in the US smartphone market, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal is an intriguing beast in the landscape – it just has a distinct look that doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen. With its hard-lined design language, it has this chic appearance that genuinely comes off as stylish, especially when we look at it from the front. And why is that? Well, we’re just enamored by its impressive, edgeless display.

To be fair, though, it’s edgeless around the top and sides of the display – leaving the bottom with the usual amount we tend to see with today’s devices. Nevertheless, we can’t deny the fact that it’s flaunting one of the best screen-to-body ratios out there, with approximately 78.21% of the front surface reserved for the display. For something bearing a flagship-esque sized 5-inch display, it’s so uncanny to find its size rivaling that of smaller screen-sized phones – like the iPhone 5s. In fact, it’s only marginally wider and taller than the prized phone, but we have to point out the vast size discrepancy between their displays (4-inches versus 5-inches).


Okay, there’s no hiding that we’re all flustered by the edgeless quality of its display, but when we look at everything else about the display, we do notice that Sharp needed to make a few, minor compromises. In particular, it doesn’t have the same 1080p resolution of today’s flagships, or even the higher quad-HD resolutions of some others. Instead, we’re presented with a 5-inch 720 x 1280 (720p) LCD display. Of course, we would’ve loved to see 1080p resolution, but in all fairness, its pixel density count of 294 ppi is still effective enough to make it look sharp. Other qualities about the display are sufficient, like its wide viewing angles and natural color production. Quite frankly, we’re not too surprised by all of the top-notch qualities, seeing that the company is known for its impressive looking set of AQUOS televisions.


Checking out the software that’s running on the Sharp AQUOS Crystal, we wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s one of the handset’s stronger selling points. Running what appears to be a mostly stock Android 4.4.2 KitKat experience, the only things separating it from other Android phones are the few widgets floating about the homescreen that we haven’t seen in other phones. Sure, we can gladly accept the straightforward approach here, but for the productivity conscious user, they might think of the experience as limiting – in comparison to the insane software features presents on other flagships.

At the same time, though, the lack of secondary or tertiary features means that we’re presented with an experience that doesn’t attempt to bog us with learning new functions. Therefore, we appreciate it for keeping things uncomplicated and intuitive.

Processor and Memory

Briefly getting the chance to mess around the phone at Sprint’s event, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal manages to maintain a decent amount of performance when executing different operations. No doubt, simple operations are handled easily by the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC with 1.5GB of RAM stuffed into the phone. However, we’re hesitant to say that it’ll run 3D intensive games as smoothly – so that’s one thing worth thinking about for those hardcore gamers out there.

At 8GB of internal storage, it’s undeniably well below the average in this day and age. It’s enough of a mark for those who aren’t big into multimedia content, but for those who are, they're going to be a bit more careful at what they put into it.


Outfitted with an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, we can’t complain about the gear in tow – more so when it’s not in the same caliber as other high-end flagships. From what we can see so far, it manages to snap photos in a speedy manner, but it’s tough to gauge the camera’s quality by just previewing the samples through the phone's display. Therefore, we’re hopeful that it’ll at least put out some decent snapshots, since you know, image quality is a pretty big deal to many people.


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. You really don’t need a super spec’d smartphone to garner interest from consumers, which is evident in past devices like the Moto X. As for the Sharp AQUOS Crystal, we have great confidence that it’ll have a strong attraction from the onset, as its edgeless 5-inch display is so darn unique in the space – to the point that it makes it look drastically different from other phones. Throw in its aggressive price points, free with a 2-year contract through Sprint, or the $149.00 outright cost through Boost Mobile or Virgin, it’s a fantastic and ballsy move on the parts of Sprint and Sharp. Hey, you never know, once you got edgeless, you might never want to go back.

Related phones

AQUOS Crystal
  • Display 5.0" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Quad-core, 1200 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2040 mAh(13h talk time)



1. kotan24

Posts: 320; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Nobody has said or comment on the countless videos I have seen about this phone, where the earpice is located, at least try to make a dang call! It's a phone for God's sake!

4. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

It's right there on the front of the phone, at the bottom. You flip/rotate the phone bottom to top to talk on the phone.

5. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1849; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

I saw a video saying you hear through the screen, the screen outputs some type of sound when on a call so you don't have to worry about placing your ear on a earpiece.

6. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1849; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

8. TheCynicalTechie

Posts: 78; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Bone conducting.

9. palmguy

Posts: 987; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Good question. Where's the hole? :)

11. tricky

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Its bone conduction technology. Basically the entire screen is a earpiece that allows you to sound clarity even in load environments because it vibrates your bones in you ear directly without dissipating the sound like normal earpieces would.

12. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The Phandroid article says this: "Instead, the entire display acts as an earpiece, allowing users to place their ear anywhere they like for crystal clear calls." But then the video says the display is made from "tempered plastic". So you don't have to flip it upside down, thank goodness. You only have to press your ear against the screen... haha. The phone will need special ear grease protectors and anti-lice treatments for some people. Let's hope "tempered plastic" is easy to disinfect.

2. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Sharp edges!

3. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

I think that screen looks pretty cool. I can now see where early wrap around screens are going to be interesting. We all want the folding screens, but things like this can be a good stepping stone to get there.

7. PressStart

Posts: 119; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

Keyboard in landscape mode looks a

10. thephonedude

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 27, 2012

I think I'm the only one who finds this phone ugly.....

13. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Sharp isn't going to make their $240 model the most beautiful phone.

22. thephonedude

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 27, 2012

I know that... I mean. Just look at it. I know zero bezel design is cool and bleeding edge, but you're like taking away the phone's personality.

14. jeff1434325

Posts: 97; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

same here dude.

16. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

No your not. I find it fairly repulsive also.

15. joey18

Posts: 682; Member since: Jul 20, 2010

weeerrrr phone

17. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Power button on top; haven't they learned anything from Sony's blunders?

18. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Very beautiful and sexy. How do people find it ugly please explain?

19. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

it's ugly for them maybe because uncommon, they have conservative taste that fell wrong with being different.

20. aledelcastle

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 16, 2014

Because we have decent taste... They just wanted to make something futurist looking. They may have accomplished that, but how practical is it? I guess we'll have to wait for that.

21. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The Crystal is an interesting phone and it definitely catches the eye. That said, the layout is unusual and perhaps strange to look at, especially after years of phones that all look basically the same.

23. parthoman

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 18, 2014

i see practical inconviniences on the way and i would never let the glass touch my ear so i could receive vibration. sometimes it looks like blackberry passport , which reminds me how eagerly iam waiting for that phone :D

24. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Too bad the screen wasn't 1080p and the specs better. I would have totally bought it.

25. kassi

Posts: 109; Member since: May 25, 2013

get rid of the asymmetry, but this is the new standard for side bezels

27. PressStart

Posts: 119; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

I agree, except how about no bezels?

26. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

That's a sharp phone ;) But I wonder if they're also gonna release a high-end variant. Especially one that is waterproof.

28. nodnarb

Posts: 35; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

why is that bottom bezel so damn fat?!

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