Following the launch of the Aquos R Compact on the AU and the SoftBank networks, Japan's first smartphone to utilise a free-form display was also announced as a SIM-free device under the model name SH-M06 and will be available in late January 2018.
Advertised as "the most powerful premium compact model in Aquos history", the Aquos R Compact's most conspicuous feature is, of course, its three-side super-narrow-bezel design. The 4.9-inch high-speed IGZO display is fitted in a very compact body whose width is just 66 mm. This is possible thanks to the adoption of the new trend in smartphone design where displays now have a 18:9 ratio instead of the 16:9 that reigned until last year.
The display on the Aquos R Compact has a resolution of 2032 x 1080 pixels, with the 112-pixel extra bit cut-out in the middle to accommodate the inner camera, and rounded top corners – something that is only possible with the free-form display technology. The new design is dubbed EDGEST Fit and has dealt away with the "drawbacks" of the predecessor EDGEST series that had a difficult-to-hold angular design and bottom-bezel placement of the inner camera. I've put "drawbacks" in quotes as I have personally never felt them as such.
Like the previous flagship models, this one also comes with a high-speed IGZO screen with a 120 Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling without blurring text and images and crisp high-speed movement video and games. To combat eye-fatigue, you can revert to the standard 60 Hz and also reduce the blue light – something that Sharp have offered for at least two years now, although Apple bragged it as "unique" in their latest iPhone X. Image quality is further enhanced by the S-Pure LED back-lighting technology employed on all recent Sharp flagship models. The colour gamut covered by the Aquos R Compact display is 90% of the digital cinema standard (DCI-P3) – the Rich Color Technology Mobile.
Since this is a compact version of the Aquos R, it ships with 3 GB of RAM and with 32 GB storage (4 GB and 64 GB respectively in the Aquos R). The processor is Qualcomm's latest mid-range – the Snapdragon 660 that has eight 64-bit "Kryo 260" CPU cores with 2.2G Hz maximum speed and the Adreno 512 graphics unit to handle visuals. This is the same processor found on the higher-class FS8016 Aquos S2. This processor supports 4K video capture and playback, Quick Charge 3.0, the latest standards for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and LTE Category 13 uplink (150 Mbps) / Cat 12 downlink (600 Mbps).
Operation speed should be faster in comparison with previous models, despite the mid-range Snapdragon 660 and the 3 GB of RAM, thanks to utilising the latest in double data rate synchronous DRAM (the LPDDR4X standard) for improved energy saving and higher data transfer rates. The same type of RAM is found on the Chinese Aquos S2.
The main camera is 16.4 megapixels, has wide-angle lens (90°), and high-speed auto-focus. The concept video demonstrates an interesting new feature of the inner camera called Eye Catch Selfy for capturing the best eye position of the subject – it has an 8-megapixel, also wide-angle (90°) sensor, that can record full HD videos.
The Aquos R Compact is equipped with USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) Type-C port for very fast charging of up to 5 A. This is coupled with a new charge-control technology to extend battery life, with Sharp engineers promising that the battery will maintain 90% of its initial capacity after 12 months, even with rapid charging. The battery capacity is 2500 mAh.
On the top, a 3.5-mm audio jack is mounted.
The bottom bezel is quite big and houses the fingerprint scanner, which can also function as a Home button (the onscreen navigation buttons disappear if set).
The SH-M06 will support all available radio frequencies. I will add them once the release is official.
Further connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (dual-band 2.4/5 GHz). GPS/GLONASS positioning and NFC/Felica for mobile payments are also included. Only OneSeg digital TV is supported.
The phone is, as usual, waterproof (IPX5/IPX8) and dustproof (IP6X).
The Aquos R Compact is the first Sharp phone to ship with Android Oreo (8.0) with the company promising at least two major upgrades in the future.
The colour options of the SIM-free SH-M06 are white and silver-black.
The Aquos R Compact measures 132 x 66 x 9.6 mm and weighs 140 grams.
Date added/updated: 11 January 2018 – 12:01
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