Sharp is the latest Japanese electronics company to break into the smartphone business. Known for making fantastic displays for TVs and mobile devices (and home appliances as some would argue), they're exploring unknown territory by manufacturing whole handsets. Would their flagship Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W prove a success and win the hearts of consumers?
Launched late last year, the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W is among the world's first 5-inch Full HD device. At 1080p it displays vibrant and vivid images that will make you ask why are these displays making it into the market just now. If you're interested in gorgeous screens -- and I know lots of you are -- read our Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W review. You might be impressed as much as we were.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W at first sight screams a truly unique design. You won't mistake it for any other smartphone. In fact, you won't even think that it's a 5-incher. A great feat of engineering.
The face sports a 5-inch display, a unique earpiece, a front-facing 2-megapixel camera, and a notification LED. There are no soft touch buttons as it is already integrated in the screen, albeit with a different button arrangement than that of a normal Android. There's also this Aquos Phone logo emblazoned at the lower portion of the face (in other countries this is replaced simply with "Sharp", which is more likeable in my personal opinion). It would've been better if it was totally clean, then again the logo doesn't bother me much at all.
The rear sports an 8-megapixel camera lined with a chrome ring, a LED flash directly below it, a pinhole streak for the speaker, and a raised Sharp logo. Other than that, the back is totally clean. The rear shell is removed by applying mild pressure then sliding it up.
The device's sleep/wake button and 3.5mm audio jack are located at the top side od the device. The volume rocker is positioned at the left side, while the charger/USB port is found at the bottom.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W is very nice to hold, and has a great size-weight-comfortability ratio. Overall all design aspects give this device a premium look.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W sports a 5-inch Full HD Sharp IGZO capacitive display (as opposed to the HTC J Butterfly's Super LCD 3) at a 1920x1080 resolution and with ~443 ppi.
This device definitely has one of the most fantastic screens I've ever seen. The combination of contrast, brightness, and saturation are highly commendable. Then again, one of Sharp's strong points are displays, so there's no wonder about that. Plus, we're talking about FHD resolution here. Even my Samsung Galaxy Note II's display folds away in shame.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W runs an almost vanilla Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (with some minor additions). There's also this custom UI called Feel UX present on other lower Sharp models that's supposed to available on this phone. Would've been better if two UIs were built-in, but sticking with stock Android is good.
Sharp's IGZO display reportedly offers improved image quality over regular LCDs. It's also more power efficient, making your usage last longer (more on this below).
The Aquos Phone offers the TouchPal keyboard system out of the box.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W is an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean device that's powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor, an Adreno 225 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. Would this chipset prove an effective combination against other current devices and in its own usage?
The aging Quadrant Standard benchmark has the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W at 5766, making it nest on top of the HTC One X. The device's CPU and memory are the primary contributors for such a huge lead.
The AnTuTu benchmark ranks the Aquos Phone at 10281, right around the same score as the original Galaxy Note, plus and minus a few variables. Ages of configurations show, and if this chart is to be believed Sharp's flagship is using one from 2 years ago. In Sharp's defense, they designed the SH930W with budget consumers in mind, plus the fact that devices at that time weren't rocking FHD.
Qualcomm's own Vellamo benchmark ranks the device at 1562 and 577 at the HTML5 and Metal tests respectively. It's up there together with the US versions of the Samsung Galaxy SIII and the HTC One X. The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W would probably be a few notches down if the Galaxy Note 2 and the One X+ have been present in the chart.
In these three tests, the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W proves to be one powerful but affordable combatant capable of holding its own in the mid-range mobile battlefield. But how does it fare in actual usage?
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W, albeit the fantastic display and the awesome design, has some real issues to deal with. It suffered a number of system freezes in my hands (normal usage; camera, gallery, drawer, home, task manager), and I'm not even sure why it's acting that way, seeing that its innards are very capable. We're not talking about apps crashing and force closing, we're talking about the phone's system seizing on normal operation. It seems that it isn't random, as I observed this issue involves more of the camera and the gallery areas of the device.
Then there's the battery heating issue. The battery of the SH930W gets warm real fast (its hotness is more or less akin to a freshly ironed pair of jeans: tolerable to hold, still warm nonetheless) while browsing or gaming at max brightness. The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W is a well made device (I should know, I used it first-hand) -- and we all know the Japanese are sticklers when it comes to quality -- but here I am again unsure why the battery is acting that way. It may be that the display and the system has battery discharging issues. These said, it's either I the unit I held was a lemon or a majority of the SH930W devices behave this way. Do consider though that user experience is subjective.
Audio and Video
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W, with its 5-inch FHD display, is guaranteed to deliver one of the best viewing experiences you can currently get, since FHD is just becoming a thing now. Do note that the video you're playing must also have great quality (if not FHD quality) for everything to properly pop out.
The sound output of the Aquos Phone is wonderful. Videos and music played (of reasonable quality) on the device get out loud and whole. I've actually expected the device to give off such great sound, and it didn't fail to deliver. Anything lower would strongly disappoint me. It's just that majority of the products made in Japan spell quality.
The stock headphones included in the box is godsend. With all the "just okay" quality stock headphones I've been experiencing previously, something that can actually perform is so much welcome. I'd personally give the throw-in -- if it was sold separately -- a tag price of P1,299.00, just because it's good.
The earpiece of the device functions as intended with just the right amount of everything, so expect your calls to be loud and clear, if not crystal clear. The only problem -- annoying if anything -- is the inability of the device to end calls immediately. When you're talking to someone and you wish to end the conversation, you need to wait for the person you're talking to to end the call on his device. Once you put the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W on your ear, the device's display will fade to black (very normal, just as other devices would), but then other devices have physical/soft touch buttons that can wake and end a call at will, the Aquos Phone doesn't. And no, pressing the sleep/wake button or the volume buttons while on call will not wake the device up
Sporting an Adreno 225 GPU, the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W runs your everyday games with no problems. Almost. Not mentioned at the performance section because of its relation to gaming, some graphics-intensive games, such as Shadowgun: Deadzone, will run at lower resolution settings, but with some difficulty. It's not so much that the device can't handle it, it's something more of a imbalanced combination between overall device power and the high display resolution.
Dead Trigger, Temple Run 2, and other games render in the Aquos Phone's IGZO display wonderfully however.
At this department overall, a Mali 400 GPU could've done better. That is, if the processor also gets improved. These will drive the device's price though.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W sports a rear 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. It has some elements to it that might associate the snapper with cheaper devices. Sample photos below.
The first thing you'll notice is that the images are flat: They lack liveliness, lack saturation, lack warmth, and has moderate loss of detail (zoom in on the raw images above), even at ideal lighting conditions. The camera doesn't bring justice to the device at all. It's less than I was expecting, but does have something to do with the unit being marketed as a budget phone. Fortunately photo filters exist.
Powered by a 2,100mAh battery, the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W will last you up to 10 hours (or more, depends on user power management) through regular usage. I personally wish it could last longer though.
Subjecting the device through internet gaming at maximum brightness would cut the device's life down to more or less 6.5 hours (and also bring the battery heat up to noticeable levels. Read performance section above).
Form factor, top-notch build quality, awesome display, and an aging but otherwise still great hardware: these are what define the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W. Given its weaknesses (e.g. noticeable slowdown in some games) and apparent bugs, I'd still place this phone up above the mid-range crowd. No smartphone can simply give you the SH930W's display at half the price. That and its performance makes this smartphone a good buy.
The Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W retails at a suggested retail price of P19,990 and is available at selected resellers nationwide.
Sharp Aquos Phone SH930W Specifications
OS: Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor, Adreno 225 GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 32GB Internal Storage
Display: 5-inch IGZO FHD, 1920×1080 resolution, ~443 ppi
Camera: 8-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash (1080p FHD video), 2-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G, HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, FM Radio, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
Battery: 2,100mAh Li-ion battery