SoftBank and Sharp have announced the first of the Summer 2014 models (on sale in late May), the Aquos Xx 304SH. And one superb gadget it seems to be.
The Aquos Xx 304SH is of the EDGEST series – having a very thin bezel and allowing the display to occupy 78% of the phone's surface. The 5.2-inch display has a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution, is built using the IGZO technology, but now Sharp have added PureLED display backlight technology – to not only deliver more vivid colours and deeper contrast but also ensure reduced power consumption. Indeed, the 304SH is advertised as being capable to run 3 (three) full days with one charge of the 2600 mAh battery in standard use.
The Aquos Xx 304SH, unlike all Sharp smartphones of the past, finally comes with an aluminium frame (the back panel is plastic).
One clever new function we find on the 304SH is the "with one hand" quick launcher feature, where, tapping the dedicated button located in the bottom right corner, the screen is "compacted" to enable one-hand operation. The "reduced screen" contains links to frequently visited apps and functions, history and favourites.
The camera is a 13.1 megapixel shooter that features the new generation NightCatch II flash and BrightEye f/1.9 aperture technology for shooting in the dark, real-time HDR that automatically adjusts the sensor to the backlight level. The camera also features burst mode for up to 999 consecutive shots in full resolution, and framing advisor to help correctly frame the photo, as well as omnidirectional shooting (Photosphere). It can record 4K2K videos! Unfortunately, the camera doesn't support optical image stabilisation – it only features software image stabilisation (shake correction) and only for still images. The inner camera is 2.1 megapixels and has enhanced zoom functionality for "beauty zoom".
The Aquos Xx 304SH has Full-Seg support for terrestrial digital television for viewing, recording and broadcasting. The phone has DTS Surround Sound technology for immersive hearing experience. The built-in Video Player app supports playback of 4K2K resolution video with the option to zoom to a chosen segment of the screen image.
This device is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974AB processor humming at 2.3 GHz, the amount of RAM is 2 GB, and the onboard storage (ROM) is 32 GB. This can be expanded using microSDXC cards of up to 128 GB.
The Aquos Xx 304SH supports a wide array of radio frequencies: W-CDMA system (900MHz/2.1GHz), GSM system (900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz), FDD-LTE system (900MHz/1.7GHz/2.1GHz).
The pre-installed OS is Android 4.4.
The Aquos Xx 304SH weighs 137 grams and measures 72 x 135 x 9 mm, and is, naturally, waterproof. It is available in gold, silver, black and bright red.
Although the 304SH was released before the new SIM unlock policy went into effect, the phone can apparently be unlocked. Some sellers on Yahoo Auctions Japan offer the unlocking service for 5000 Yen. But it is only done by sending the phone to the unlocked by mail.
The SIM unlocking service for this and other models now costs 8000 Yen but does not require shipping the phone, it's done online.
Date added/updated: 3 August 2017 – 00:12
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