Sharp presents Aquos Crystal X smartphone
Two months ago we reviewed Sharp's Aquos Crystal, a smartphone with a boldly unique design that we certainly found appealing, few practical shortcomings aside. However, in terms of technical specifications Aquos Crystal was nothing more than a lower mid-range model - luckily with a price to match, ensuring enough interest from potential buyers. Those attracted by the smarphone's looks but expecting higher performance, better display and more advanced cameras were told to wait for the more advanced model called Aquos Crystal X. Now that this device was announced officially, let's take a closer look at what it offers.
Visually, the Aquos Crystal X is nearly identical to its bezelless smaller sibling, the only immediately noticeable difference being a larger 5.5-inch display. The webcam is still positioned under it, so it's safe to assume that the same "Direct Wave Receiver" technique is being used to reproduce the caller's voice - hopefully it has matured since Aquos Crystal, where it somewhat disappointed us with insufficient volume and ever-present static. The display's resolution improved considerably, now offering 1920x1080 pixels, and the additional graphical load arising from that should not be a problem for the Adreno 330 graphics chip.
It is unfortunate that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 SoC is used and not the newer Snapdragon 805 or 810 with substantially more powerful Adreno 420 or 430 graphics (and in case of S810, 64-bit support) but it's very likely that Sharp is still testing the waters with its unorthodox design, reserving a more up-to-date feature set for the future if the current models gain enough popularity. Still, the amount of RAM has been increased to 2 GB, thus providing more multi-tasking freedom, and a 13 MP camera is now installed instead of 8 MP, retaining the LED flash. The front camera remains unchanged with 1.2 MP and the battery capacity grew from 2040 to 2610 mAh to keep up with a larger and sharper screen combined with a much more powerful SoC. LTE support is present, just like in the smaller Aquos Crystal, and the sound is once again provided by Harman Kardon.
The smartphone will launch with Android 4.4 and no plans of a Lollipop update have been announced so far. Worse yet, no release has been announced for the US or Europe yet, currently limiting the Aquos Crystal X to the Japanese market, but we expect it to follow in its predecessor's footsteps and eventually make its way to the West. The pricing was not revealed either, but it is estimated to be around the $450 mark off-contract. Considering the high-end specifications, there's little doubt that the smartphone will generate enough interest for Sharp to consider bringing it to the US and potentially other countries. We'll update our readers once more information on the topic is released by the company.