Xx 404SH

Now, that's the real beast in the SoftBank's Summer 2015 collection! Behold the Aquos Xx 404SH: a 5.7-inch full HD screen utilising the S-CG Silicon LCD technology for reduced power consumption, and the truly narrow-frame design of the EDGEST series. Personally, I don't think anything more than 1080 x 1920 pixels is justified on a mobile screen, so I am quite unimpressed by some other pixel-heavy screens.

The Aquos Xx also makes use of the improved backlight technology, the S-PureLED found on some of the other models of the Summer 2015 collection for Docomo and AU. One particularly exciting new gimmick I'd like to see with my own eyes is the EDGEST Effects: When the screen turns on (during charging), or when you receive a phone call, a spectacular wave of light will roll across the screen.

The camera is... impressive. It is a step forward from SH-01G's world's first "professional single focus digital camera" GR certified by RICOH: it can now deliver super slow video playback (1/70 of normal speed) thanks to its high-speed sensor that can capture 210 shots (FWVGA) or 120 shots (full HD) per second but then is capable of converting these to 2,100 shots (FWVGA) using frame interpolation technology, achieving the world's best speed (as of May 2015). The back-lit CMOS sensor is otherwise the familiar 13.1 megapixels, has two-level optical image stabilisation, Night Catch II + BrightEye F 1.9 aperture lens for low-light shooting, wide-angle, in-camera wide angle for splicing multiple shots into one, 4K2K video capture, Framing Advisor, Background Blur (post-shooting), 360°-degree panorama shooting, continuous shooting, translation finder - and a simplified camera UI. The inner camera is 2.1 megapixels.

Like its corresponding Docomo and AU models, the SH-03G and the SHV32, the Aquos Xx 404SH employs the high-level Snapdragon 810 (MSM8994) octa-core processor that has four 2 GHz and four 1.5 Ghz cores. The amount of RAM is 3 GB, and the on-board storage space is 32 GB, expandable using SDXC cards (up to 128 GB).

The battery is 3,000 mAh - an increase from the 2,600 mAh of its predecessor, the 304SH. The supported radio frequencies are:
4G system: FDD-LTE (900 MHz / 1.7 GHz / 2.1 GHz) + AXGP (2.5 GHz)*
3G system: W-CDMA (900 MHz / 2.1 GHz)
GSM system: 900 MHz / 1800 MHz / 1900MHz.

Further features include Grip Magic: just hold the body, and the display will light up to show the lock-screen with the clock. Again hold the body during an incoming call to hide the caller's name/photo - as you probably know, the Japanese are obsessed with privacy; this will also minimise the ringer volume, but can work in the opposite direction when watching video - just hold the phone and the volume will increase. Something I find very convenient is the "Information in Vibe" feature: when the phone is in your pocket or bag, just hold it (without taking it out) and it will indicate if you have received new mail, or missed a call, by vibrating once or twice. Like all recent Sharp models, the Aquos Xx is also furnished with the Emopa service that allows your phone to communicate with a variety of household devices.

Audio-video entertainment is high-class as well: FullSeg digital TV, DTS Sound and a built-in music player that supports 48KHz / 24bit, 88.2KHz / 24bit, 96KHz / 24bit, 176.4KHz / 24bit, as well as WAV/FLAC format of 192KHz / 24bit. When playing 4K2K videos, you can zoom in any desired part of the screen (but this was available in last year's flagship models, too).

Further connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, and Bluetooth 4.1, but no Infrared. Yes, of course it is waterproof (IPX5/7). The battery capacity is 3000 mAh.

Android 5.0 (Lollipop) comes pre-installed.

The Aquos Xx 404SH measures 79 × 146 × 8.7mm, weighs 168 grams, and is available in amber black, white, and red.

* Only in Japan.

Also released on 15 January 2016 on Y! Mobile under the name Aquos Xx-Y 404SH.

The Aquos 404SH can be SIM unlocked unofficially for a price of 9000 Yen, as advertised on Yahoo Auctions Japan. This requires physically shipping the phone to the unlocker in Japan. 

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