A common comparison between smartphones these days is screen size. Bigger screen normally means bigger device, but what happens when you get rid of the border around the screen? You get the Sharp AQUOS Crystal, with an eye catching unique, edgeless design featuring a 5.0 inch screen that stretches along three edges of the phone for maximum immersion. While this is awesome for watching movies, I quickly realized there is no speaker at front the top once I answered a phone call, making it difficult to hear the caller – especially in any setting that has any amount of background noise.
I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received a sample device to facilitate this review.
Running on Android KitKat, the AQUOS Crystal comes with all of the great Google apps like Hangouts, Maps, and the expansive Google Play Store. One of my favorite features of the phone is the Clip Now feature which makes taking a screenshot a breeze with a simple swipe across the top of your screen. Another favorite is the microSD slot expandable up to 128gb – perfect for loading up movies for travel.
Speaking of favorites, while the rear facing camera is an unimpressive 8 megapixels, I do really really really love the Framing Advisor feature which offers professional photography tips on composition and framing to improve your photos.
Parents will enjoy the Sequential Shots feature for nailing those action sports sequences as well as Shutter Detect, which automatically takes a photo when it detects a smile. Night Catch supposedly helps brighten both your subject and background to avoid washed out and over/underexposed shots at night, however I didn’t find this to be any better than photos taken at night with other devices. The Panorama mode is easy to use and does a solid job of stitching the photo together but unfortunately, the front facing camera is only 1.2 megapixels and even with all the great camera features, I’m not completely satisfied with the quality of the photos this phone produces.
For someone who travels extensively, Wi-Fi is key in keeping connected with my family while I am away. When traveling out of the country, you are faced with the choice of paying expensive international calling/roaming rates for voice calls or avoiding voice calls altogether and sticking with communicating via email or text on more affordable global data plans. But when you’re away from your family for weeks at a time, sometimes all you want is to hear your child’s voice sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so the Wi-Fi Calling feature is really a bonus here. You can make a voice call and send messages over Wi-Fi!
For the audiophiles out there, the Sharp AQUOS Crystal is also equipped with Harman Kardon audio technology. Harman Kardon is a winner of numerous audio awards and actually supplies the factory speakers on cars like the Kia Optima. They produce incredible sound and promise to boost the sound quality of various media content such as music and videos. Additionally, the Livestage feature gives the audio a boost when headphones are plugged in, and Clari-fi improves the quality of compressed digital music files. You can actually see Clari-fi working by turning on the visualizer window while your audio clips are playing.
Overall the phone features a unique, sleek design with a compact narrow body. Even if it is a bit thick at .4 inches, it still fits easily in the palm of your hand making one handed use a breeze.
SoftBank and Sprint merged to bring the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone to the United States. Sprint and its prepaid brands (Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA) are the exclusive U.S. carriers for this groundbreaking AQUOS device.