On 5th December 2014, Sharp released their first truly SIM-free phone for Japan, the Aquos SH-M01. It looks, and actually is, the exact same machine that Docomo released in February 2014, the Aquos Phone EX SH-02F.
The display is 4.5 inches, full HD (1920 x 1080px or a pixel density of 487 ppi) and is built using the now standard IGZO LCD tech for optimised energy consumption. Colour reproduction quality conforms to HSV colour space standards.
Underneath the hood is a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB built-in storage, expandable by up to 32 GB microSDHC cards.
The camera on the Aquos SH-M01 is a 13.1 megapixel shooter flaunting the as yet unmatched focal ratio (relative aperture) of F1.9 that Sharp call BrightEye, which in combination with the new NightCatch low-light mode capturing functionality promises amazing results. Also featured are macro-focus for bright close-up shots, high-speed shutter, and high-speed auto-focus, 16x digital zoom, HDR photography and video, plus a simpler camera UI. The front-facing camera has the humble 1.2 megapixels.
A new feature is the Camera Widget, which allows creating shortcuts to three most frequently used camera modes so that you don't waste precious time changing the settings.
Sound quality is ensured by a DTS processing engine found on bluray players. The built-in music player will auto-start and resume the last played track as soon as you plug in your headphones. The APTX® audio codec guarantees sound performance levels are retained even when using Bluetooth-connected devices.
A special add-on allows you to take notes directly on the screen, for instance when you are using the browser. Just write (by hand) whatever you want to remember and an image memo is automatically saved in the phone's Gallery.
Also available is another nice feature, Copy Anywhere, which allows you to, well, copy text between applications by simply drawing a circle around the segment you want to copy.
Also supported are: wireless printing, power-saving Bluetooth connectivity for using headphones and/or keyboard, Casio G-SHOCK watches compatibility to sync information, and the handy USB host function to attach an external USB keyboard, mouse, or memory.
The Aquos SH-M01 has a bottom located LED illumination whose light pattern can be customised for individual callers/emails.
The infrared connectivity module has been removed, and only OneSeg is supported. Another inconvenience is the lack of support for GSM frequencies: the Aquos SH-M01 only works in 3G and LTE mode.
The Aquos SH-M01 is SIM-free but since it is only available from Rakuten, you are bound by contract to use their MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) services for one year. This way the price is 52,800 Yen but the phone can be released immediately by paying a 9800 Yen fee.
The battery capacity is 2120 mAh. The phone measures 128 mm × 63 mm × 9.8 mm, and weighs 120 grams. Yes, it is water-proof (IPX5/IPX7).
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