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 the first phone made in collaboration with Foxconn and is the 29th phone in the so called bezel-less series (EDGEST and CRYSTAL). Despite the leaked CGI image of the golden "105 Limited Edition" full-screen variant, the Aquos S2 does have a bottom bezel after all, and the fingerprint sensor is not built in underneath the screen.
The Aquos S2 comes with a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1080 * 2010 pixels and a 17:9 ratio. Looks like it's actually a full HD (1080 * 1920) screen with an extra 90-pixel notification bar that's been split into two by the front camera.
While the technology employed in manufacturing the LCD has not been specified, it's little likely that this is an IGZO display – Sharp China would not have missed the opportunity to brag if it were. Chances are it is the Low-temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) display type found on several models released last year in Taiwan and Singapore.
The display has the now ubiquitous 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass protective technology ontop. It is capable of representing 135% of the sRGB gamut, and flaunts a screen brightness of 550 nit, which is fairly impressive.
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 @ 2.2GHz and 4x Kryo 260 @ 1.8GHz 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.
The front camera, which is located at the top of the display, in a special teardrop-shaped cutout 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 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 is, however, currently only available to buy in China. The price for the standard version on China Unicom is 2499 CNY, which equals about 373 USD, whereas the price for the Netcom version is 2849 CNY (425 USD). The higher-specs FS8016 is listed at 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.
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?).
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
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