Sharp AQUOS Crystal vs Samsung Galaxy S5: first look

Entering the highly competitive Android space, every newcomer on the scene knows that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is highly regarded as the benchmark device to beat. That’s not all too surprising, especially when it’s super spec’d, rich with geeky hardware features, and a top performer in every meaningful category. Needless to say, the just announced Sharp AQUOS Crystal has a lot to live up to – so it’s intriguing to see how it can try to compete against one of the heavy hitters in the market.


Frankly, the Samsung Galaxy S5’s design is stale in comparison to the hard-lined look of the Sharp AQUOS Crystal. From a design standpoint, there’s one distinct quality that prevails with Sharp’s offering – its amazing edgeless display. That’s simply the first thing to attract our attention as we stare deeply at the two smartphones next to each other.

To be fair, they’re both sporting similar constructions – plastic frames that have dimpled patterns. From a construction point of view, we can’t concretely say that one is sturdier than the other, but we have to mention the Galaxy S5’s water-resistant design. It surely helps in those occasions where the phone needs to get wet, so that’s incentive that you’ll need to think about when making a decision. Moreover, the Galaxy S5 benefits from an arsenal of features – like its fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor, and IR blaster.


The Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display is about the same in comparison to the 5-inch 720 x 1280 LCD display of the AQUOS Crystal with regards to details. At such high pixel density levels, we’re hard pressed to notice any difference in legibility.

From a cursory look, we do like the neutral color reproduction of the Crystal’s display, as it doesn’t exhibit as much saturation as the Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy S5. Beyond that, the biggest head-turner here is the edgeless look of the Sharp AQUOS Crystal’s screen – it makes it so that the phone is considerably more compact in size than the Galaxy S5. Still, we need to point out the cool tech that’s in play with the Galaxy S5’s screen. In particular, we’re referring to screen’s AirView feature, which recognizes our finger as we hover it over the display.


Sharing the same basic features of Android, we’re inclined to say that Samsung’s TouchWiz interface offers us more features that prove valuable to the productivity-minded individual. And that’s despite the fact that we find the general presentation and look of the experience to be less appealing than the stock Android 4.4.2 KitKat experience of the Sharp AQUOS Crystal. Naturally, there are plenty of purists who say that the stock experience is the best Android experience out there, but other people will nonetheless be agreeable to the extensive enhancements dished up by Sammy’s TouchWiz experience.

Processor and Memory

Right from the onset, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal’s quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5GB of RAM is able to match the performance of the Galaxy S5’s beefier hardware – a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with 2GB of RAM. Sure, basic operations like navigating around the homescreens of each phone are executed similarly with the two, but we know that the Galaxy S5’s hardware is more than sufficient to run today’s 3D-rich games with minimal fluff, which is something we’re not too sure than the Crystal can handle.

In addition, we get a whole heck more storage capacity with Sammy’s pride and joy, since it provides us with an ample 32GB of internal memory – further supplemented by the availability of a microSD card slot. In contrast, there’s only a miniscule 8GB of storage with the Crystal, so it’s safe to presume that you’ll need to be more diligent in what you want to save.


If you’ve read our many photo comparison articles, you probably know that the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 16-megapixel camera is proven to be one of the best! In fact, we can say it’s as close to perfection as it can get, so that’s a lot to live up to for the Sharp AQUOS Crystal’s 8-megapixel camera. At half the tally, most people would already proclaim the Galaxy S5 to be the superior one, but until we actually snap some samples between the two and check them out, we’ll be reserved with our judgment.


After many years of fine tuning each of its successive devices, Samsung managed to hit it out of the park with the Galaxy S5. It’s truly a flagship smartphone in every facet, so each new competitor on the scene knows exactly what’s needed to stand a chance – or at least in the same level. The Sharp AQUOS Crystal gets our attention for its crazy looking edgeless display, but it’s going to need more than just that one astounding feature to topple the juggernaut in the Android space. Certainly, its lower price point is a good foundation for the phone, but until it can prove to be strong in all meaningful categories, it’s going to have to bow down to the king for now.

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. naittosan

Posts: 240; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

I think you should compare it with the Samsung Alpha, there pretty much both mid-range phones.

3. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Funny I think of the Alpha as being the Samsung counter to the new 4.7" iPhone which is still on the verge of being labeled a midrange phone..... 4.7", approx 720p screen in a day when phones are all 5"+ and are now coming with 2K displays...

5. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Yup, except, for the first time in many years, Samsung's competitor to the iPhone will actually have a lower-res display than the iPhone. I'm really disappointed in Samsung...

2. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Ugh. What horrible luck for Sharp. First good shot at success in the USA in years and the first shot they get is Sprint.... Sprint is a horrible first move. I know it was due to some Softbank Mobile partnerships that this came to Sprint in the first place, but God, what bad luck. Either way if this thing had a Snapdragon 800 in it and 16 GB of memory maybe it would be something to even consider for a minute, but not with a Snapdragon 400 and 8 GB. That's not me saying anything negative about the 400. I love the Moto G, Ascend Mate2 4G, and the Lumia 635. But they all have their own special place on the budget charts and are big time appealing in their own way. This Aquos just looks like a severely underpowered and small storage flagship wanna be.....

4. naittosan

Posts: 240; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Yah but now they have a new share your 3g plan.

6. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Both are looking Sharp. Liking the designs of both a lot

7. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

The S5 looks like old and tired design.

8. Mobilephile

Posts: 166; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

I want a 6'' edge to edge display - Aquos Crystal XL!!

9. nebsif

Posts: 37; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Aka: how to make a 250$ smartphone poop on a 700$ rival in terms of design, using the same materials (and even dimples + "fake metal" sides)

10. JS132

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 03, 2013

John - Your review of the Crystal vs the HTC One M8 says the Crystal has a 720p display, not the 1080p screen you mention in this article. You also state that the display on the Crystal is not as crisp as the M8, but in this article, you cannot tell the difference between it and the S5. Which one is correct?

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