8 August 2017: The Sharp Aquos S2 has finally been announced officially and comes, as expected, in two versions – the "standard", FS8010, and the "high-specs", FS8016. The difference between the two models is mainly in the processor and RAM/ROM (read below).
The Sharp Aquos S2 is made by FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn, and doesn't really qualify as an authentic Sharp – at least for the true fans of Japanese technology. This of course did not stop Sharp China from bragging it's the 29th phone in the so called bezel-less series (EDGEST and CRYSTAL), shamelessly usurping a purely Japanese tradition of design.
The Aquos S2 comes with a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1080 * 2010 pixels and a 17:9 ratio. This basically means that the standard full HD (1080 * 1920) screen has been extended by an extra 90-pixel notification bar that's been split into two by the front camera.
The technology employed in manufacturing the LCD is not, unfortunately, the IGZO that is traditionally found in Japanese models (although some websites will tell you that it is). Instead, the Aquos S2 has a Color ASV (Advanced Super View) TFT display. One source claims that this display has, like the Japanese counterparts, the touch-sensors built-in (in-cell touch technology) but this remains unconfirmed.
The display is capable of representing 135% of the sRGB gamut, and flaunts a screen brightness of 550 nit, which is fairly impressive. It also has the now ubiquitous 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass protective technology ontop.
What's under the hood: the FS8010, being the lower-specs version, comes with the latest mid-range Snapdragon 630 processor that has 4x Cortex-A53 @ 2.2GHz and 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz cores. It has 4 GB of installed RAM, and 64 GB of built-in storage space.
The higher-specs FS8016 comes with a Snapdragon 660 processor with 4x Kryo 260 @ 2.2 GHz and 4x Kryo 260 @ 1.8 GHz cores. It has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of built-in storage. Up to 128 GB microSD memory cards are supported by both models.
The latest in double data rate synchronous DRAM for mobile computers is employed in the Aquos S2 – the LPDDR4X standard, made official in March 2017, and proposed by Samsung Semiconductors. This advanced type of operating memory offers improved energy saving and higher data transfer rates.
The main camera found on the Aquos S2 is dual sensor 12 MP + 8 MP for depth of field, full-pixel phase-detection auto-focus (PDAF). It employs 1.4 um large-pixel, six-piece (6P) lens with aperture size f/1.75. The Sharp Mobile China website says these are Sharp-made sensors (令人惊艳的夏普相机 which translates as "Stunning Sharp Camera"), which runs counter to earlier leaks mentioning Sony IMX286 sensors. However, other (late 2017 – early 2018) sources indicate that the rear camera sensors are indeed made by Sony, but it's the IMX362 Exmor RS.
The front camera, which is located at the top of the display, in a special teardrop-shaped cutout (notch) in the display, has an 8-megapixel 5P lens with an aperture of f/2.0, again using 1.4 um large pixel technology. The manufacturer is unnamed.
The Aquos S2 supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac standards at both 2.4 and 5 GHz, GPS with assisted-GPS, and the Russian GLONASS.
Further features include VoLTE, VoWiFi, Fast Charge QC 3.0, high-fidelity lossless music playback (WAV/FLAC), WiFi Display, WiFi Direct, USB OTG.
Located at the bottom, next to the speaker grills, is a USB Type-C connector.
The Aquos S2 measures 141.8 x 72.04 x 7.9 mm, and weighs 140 grams. The Sharp China website currently shows four colour versions: black, glazed white, dark blue, and emerald green; however, only the first two colour options are available to purchase for the time being.
The installed battery has a capacity of 3020 mAh.
The pre-loaded OS is Android 7.1.1. On top of that, there is a new UI called SmileUX with smart features such as weather conditions reminders, health reminder (warns the user if they've been toying with the device for longer than 90 minutes without pausing or more than 5 hours cumulatively per day, reducing screen brightness after 10:30 PM, etc.), smart reminders (automatically switching to reading mode when reading and adjusting brightness according to light intensity). Also advertised is the S-Boost Smart Engine with features such as defragmentation (cleans cache and junk files), application freeze (kills apps that are not in use), background auto cleanup (removes non-whitelisted background apps), and preventing autostart of unwanted applications.
The premium version (FS8016) has a 3D-glass single-sheet back cover which, together with the engraved Sharp logo, is supposed to render it more elegant. The standard version of the Aquos S2 has a plastic back cover and a silk-printed logo. Adding to the phone's sturdiness is aluminium mid-frame that runs around all four sides.
All of the above considered, the final product is rather disappointing – in view of the advertising, leaked CGI rendition – as the Aquos S2 is neither frameless/bezel-less, nor unique in any respect.
The screen actually occupies 87.5% of the phone's front surface. While this is more than the latest Samsung Galaxy S8, it's not that impressive and not a significant increase from the 81% on my Aquos Zeta SH-01G, released in Winter 2014. In 2017 there are at least 5 or 6 other phones that offer a very similar screen-to-body ratio, but haven't been as loudly advertised as the Aquos S2 – as a "full-screen" phone.
Furthermore, the actual photos show the top corners of the screen are trimmed diagonally, which is in contrast to the rounded corners and not the best of design decisions, considering that round cuts are indeed possible – one just has to look at the centre of the screen where the front-facing camera cut-out is. Some photos even show the last digit of the clock (to the right) barely visible because of the cut.
Something tells me Sharp China/Foxconn did a rush job here and that, if they really want to impress and sell worldwide, they'll have to do better for the next phone (maybe the Aquos S3?).
The Aquos S2 features dual-SIM functionality – 4G + 3G dual standby. A vast range of radio frequencies is supported, i.e. no limitation has been imposed on the frequencies that the Qualcomm chip supports by default.
2G: GSM: 900/1800/1900 MHz CDMA: 800(BC0)MHz
3G: WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz TD-SCDMA: B34/B39
CDMA 2000: 800(BC0)MHz
4G: LTE FDD: B1/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B28
LTE TDD: B34/B38/B39/B40/B41 (2555–2655 MHz)
2x20 CA: B39+B39/B40+B40/B41+B41/B39+B41/B1+B3/B3+B8/B3+B28, CAT 7 downlink/CAT 13 uplink.
This means that the Aquos S2 should work just about anywhere in the world. It has, however, only seen official release as follows:
In China, starting August 2017: The standard version (FS8010) on China Unicom cost 2499 CNY (373 USD), and 2849 CNY (425 USD) on Netcom. The higher-specs FS8016 sold for 3799 CNY (567 USD), which is unreasonably high considering that it only gives you more RAM, more onboard storage (but the standard version has just enough), and a fancy 3D single-glass back cover.
On 4 February 2018, the price of the Aquos S2 in China was drastically cut down – to 1499 yuan (238 USD) for the FS8010 and 3199 yuan (509 USD) for the FS8016.
In Taiwan, starting August 2017: Offered by Commtiva and Taiwan Mobile, the FS8010 cost 12,990 TWD (443 USD) and the FS8016 cost 15,990 TWD (545 USD) [* Quoted prices for Taiwan Mobile].
The Chinese and Taiwanese versions have different ROMs, the Chinese lacking Google Play and associated services. Users report successfully flashing one version over the other, however, some also report permanently bricking their phones.
In Hong Kong, starting in late 2017: the FS8010 is offered by carrier SmarTone, initially retailing at 3380 HKD, reduced to 2080 HKD (432 USD to 265 USD) in early February 2018, whereas the FS8016 initially sold for 4380 HKD (560 USD), dropping to 2880 HKD (368 USD) in early February 2018.
In Vietnam, starting 4 February 2018, the Aquos S2 (FS8010) was officially released in Vietnam, retailing at 6,999,000 Vietnamese dong (309 USD).
In Macao, starting 9 February 2018, the Aquos S2 (FS8010) was officially released in the Macao Special Administrative Region on carrier Leikei Telecom, retailing at 1988 Macanese Pataca (247 USD).
14 April 2018: The Aquos S2 has emerged under a new name on the Google Play list of supported devices, the SH-Z01. Since this is the naming convention of phones released on the Japanese market, expectations are that the model will see a launch in the Land of the Rising Sun, too.
You can find a detailed review with photos of the Aquos S2 and camera samples here (in Chinese): http://news.mydrivers.com/1/543/543576_all.htm
Date added/updated: 14 April 2018 – 11:11
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