SH-M04

Announced in the end of October and due out in mid-December 2016 is Sharp's next SIM-free phone, the Aquos SH-M04, also released as SH-M04-A, the difference being that the latter is sold with an AC adapter and microUSB cable.

Being SIM-free, this naturally means it is a low-spec device. Indeed, on the Aquos SH-M04 we find the octa-core Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937) that has four 1.4 GHz cores and four 1.1 GHz cores. Only 2 GB of RAM have been installed, which should nevertheless be sufficient since the phone will be lacking all that carrier bloatware that you find on a Docomo/SoftBank/AU-branded phone. The built-in memory is 16 GB, expandable using microSDXC cards to up to 256 GB.

The Aquos SH-M04 has the same "round-and-thin" design Sharp abruptly shifted to with the Summer 2016 collection, a design that totally lacks character, unlike the EDGEST design which brought them the RedDot Design Award for 2015. This one is certain to bring them the Dullest iPhone Knock-Off Design Award.

The phone comes with a 5-inch IGZO display (good!) with an HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (bad!). It does employ Sharp's S-PureLED backlight found in all recent models, which does indeed guarantee great display visuals but you will probably be able to see the pixels on a 5-inch HD display that even low-end Chinese devices no longer seem to have.

Let's look at the camera... Well, nothing to see here either. The familiar old 13.1-megapixel CMOS sensor but not the great one featuring an aperture size of F1.9, but one with the humble F2.2. Notwithstanding, the Aquos SH-M04 camera is advertised as being able to shoot in low-light conditions (NightCatch II) - it even has the recently introduced Fireworks Shooting mode. It also has other standard Sharp-camera features, including Framing Advisor, super-resolution digital zoom, continuous shooting in 4K, monochrome, time-lapse, Capture Later, etc.

Further enhancements include (none of them new, though): Relax Auto (automatically adjusting the display backlight to environment conditions, e.g. reducing blue light at night), Twist Magic (switching between aps by quickly twisting your hand), Auto Scroll, Bright Keep, Clip Now, turning off the display by putting the phone in your pocket, etc.

The Aquos SH-M04 has Sharp's AI Emopa, version 5.0, and the Hikari Emotion LED and graphics that illuminate the display and/or light the LEDs in 9 different colour and 12 patterns.

This phone is waterproof (IPX5 / IPX8) and dustproof (IP6X).

It does not support digital television reception, the infrared has also been scrapped. But it has Mobile Wallet/NFC.

Connectivity-wise, it does not support the latest Wi-Fi standard (ac), only the earlier (b/g/n) and only at 2.4 GHz. The Bluetooth version is 4.2.

It is unclear if GSM frequencies are supported but LTE, incl. VoLTE, and 3G are, as follows:
[LTE]: Band 1 (2.0 GHz), Band 3 ( 1.7 GHz), Band 19 (800 MHz), Band 26 (800MHz)
[3G]: Band 1 (2.0 GHz), Band 6 ( 800 MHz ), Band 19 (800 MHz).

The Aquos SH-M04 is available in white, navy, and red (the back), whereas the front is black in all versions.

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