April 2017: Sharp have just announced their latest Samsung model... knock-off. Although weilding some amazing specs, the design lacks any individuality whatsoever and is a complete copy of your generic Samsung device, even down to the rounded button below the display – which also houses the fingerprint scanner.
The new device is dubbed Aquos R where the "R" stands for Reality, Response, Robotics, Reliability. The name Aquos R is a move by Sharp to introduce a new unified name for its flagship series, replacing the current Zeta by Docomo, Xx by Softbank, and SERIE by AU.
Reliability: Let's begin with the form. It's "round" and "pursues ease of handling" as it is supposed to "fit the hand". The rimming is shiny aluminium and the back is again aluminium but with a mirror finish that will reflect different colours depending on the viewing angle. The sides have edges, much like the hexagon shape on the SH-01G and others that ensure a firm grip and eliminate the possibility of the phone slipping out of your hand. The edges disappear at the corners so that it is more comfortable to hold. All of this sounds really good, but if you put the Aquos R next to a Samsung S6, and the brands are hidden, you will have a hard time telling them apart.
Like all Sharp phones, this one is waterproof (IPX5/IPX8) and dustproof (IP6X). The screen can easily be operated even when wet. You can even use the touchscreen with gloves thanks to a special mode that is switched on and off.
Reality: Now the display is finally catching up with the latest trend that now even Chinese phones have: a 5.3-inch display WQHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. Where the display excels is that this is the latest generation IGZO display where the touch sensors are built-in eliminating the need for a separate digitizer, thus increasing transmittance and lowering backlight power consumption. And those of you who have a Sharp phone with an IGZO LCD know how this easily helps extend battery life significantly. The Aquos R is powered by a 3,160 mAh battery, which, depending on how heavily you use it, should easily give you between two and four, or even five full days on a single charge.
But that's not all. This is a 4K HDR display that guarantees a wider range of luminance and colour gamut data can be realistically reproduced. This technology is adopted from Sharp high-range AQUOS TVs and is compliant with the Digital Cinema Standard (DCT).
Wait, there's more: this display has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, double that of conventional displays, to guarantee superb response speeds and zero afterimage when watching high-speed video or graphics or scrolling quickly through pages. And this is an improved version – now 1.5 times faster than the previous collection high-speed IGZO phones.
Like in the previous collection, the Aquos R has an automatic blue-light reduction function to reduce eye-fatigue. Blue light can also prevent you from falling asleep, which is why this function activates automatically at night – or can be triggered manually.
Response: To achive of all the above, the Aquos R relies on the Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM (first ever for a Sharp phone), and high-speed Universal Flash Storage (UFS) ROM with capacity of 64 GB. Sharp claim this ensures a reading speed that is 3 times faster than in the past.
The main camera on the Aquos R is 22.6 MP with a 90° wide-angle shooting capabilities and aperture f/1.9 for night-time photography. Naturally, optical image stabilisation (OIS) is included, but now there is also electronic image stabilisation (EIS), which is a feature supported by the Snapdragon 835 processor that is used while shooting video. Sharp have given all those selfie-maniacs a thought, too – the inner camera is 16.3 megapixels, 90° wide-angle shooting capabilities and aperture f/2.0, equipped with EIS as well.
Robotics: The Aquos R comes equipped with the lastest advancements in artificial intelligence embodies in Sharp's proprietary EMOPA AI that is your "emotional partner" in all your daily activities. One curious example of how it works is Emopa will learn your habits and will automatically set the morning alarm for you hould you forget to do this yourself. But what truly amazes is the new ROBOQUL moving charging stand, which can detect your face using the internal camera and will rotate the phone to "look for you" when receiving a call or when the alarm goes off. Spooky!
The Aquos R supports Quick Charge 3.0, has USB-C interface, 3.5-mm audio jack.
Connectivity-wise, all Wi-Fi standards are supported (a/b/g/n/ac), dual-channel, the latest in Bluetooth – version 5.0, as well as OneSeg and FullSeg digital TV, Felica and NFC.
The water-resistance rating of the Aquos R is IPX5/8, and the dust-resistance rating is IP6X.
First among the carriers, On 11 May 2017, Softbank announced the launch of the Aquos R, under the codename 604SH. It supports the following radio frequencies:
4G LTE (FDD-LTE): 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.7 GHz, 1.9 GHz, 2.1 GHz
3G (W-CDMA): 900 MHz, 1.7 GHz, 1.9 GHz, 2.1GHz
GSM: 850 MHz, 900MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900MHz
The preinstalled OS is Android 7.1. Sharp have made a promise to offer continuous OS upgrades for a period of at least two years, which sounds great.
The Aquos R 604SH measures 153 × 74 × 8.7 mm. The weight is a massive 169 grams – 209 grams with the Roboqul (the robotic charging stand).
In the Summer 2017 collection, three colour variants were offered: mercury black, zirconia white, and blaze orange.
In the Winter 2017/2018 collection, three more colour versions were released: opal blue, copper black, and aurora pink.
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