Finally, over two months after the date initially scheduled for announcement (16 January 2018), the Aquos S3 mini is a fact. For a while, leaks on the Google Play supported devices list had us believe the phone had been renamed to Aquos V1 mini, apparently not the case, now that it was officially announced on 22 March. Sales will begin (in China) on 30 March, prices starting from 1,599 Yuan (approx. 252 USD) – this is cheaper than any mid-range "bezelless" notched-display Chinese phone.
The Aquos S3 mini model name is FS8018 and there has been little or no change in preliminary specifications.
The display is a 5.5-inch FullHD+ (2040 x 1080 px) notched in-cell-touch-sensor LTPS LCD manufactured by Sharp China. The notch is in the top middle edge of the screen and is wide enough to house the front-facing camera. The 550-nit high-brightness display ensures support for 135% of sRGB colour gamut, like on the previous model, the Aquos S2.
The very thin bezels on the three sides resolve to a display occupancy rate of 87.5% – not as impressive as it could have been, and already beaten by some emerging Chinese brands.
The front camera is indeed a 20-megapixel shooter (2 μm large-pixel sensor, f/2.0) that should appeal to selfie-maniacs – especially since it sports a new "AI portrait shots" feature (reminiscent to the iPhone X Portrait Mode). The front camera is also used for the Face Unlock system that is advertised as being able to unlock the phone in 0.1 seconds. The rear (main) camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with aperture f/2.0, phase detection auto focus (PDAF), HDR.
The Aquos S3 mini is powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor that has 4 x 2.2 GHz and 4 x 1.8 GHz cores. Initial information suggested that two versions would be released – one having 4 GB of RAM/64 GB of ROM and another having 6 GB of RAM/128 GB of ROM. Today's official announcement, however, only features one version having 6 GB of RAM (LPDDR4X) and 64 GB of ROM (EMMC 5.0). The phone has a microSD card slot allowing expanded storage.
The battery capacity is 3020 mAh.
Connectivity is ensured via USB Type-C, 3.5-mm audio jack, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, 4G VoLTE, GPS. NFC is not supported. The Aquos S3 mini is a dual-SIM phone with 4G + 3G standby capability.
Supported radio frequencies include:
WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
GSM: 900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: 800 MHz 1X & EVDO
4G: TD-LTE, FDD-LTE
The fingerprint sensor is mounted in the bottom bezel and doubles as a Home button.
The phone's back cover is made of 2.5D hardened glass.
The Aquos S3 mini will be released running Android 7.1.1 Nougat, upgrades pending. Ontop of the Android is Sharp China's Smile UX user interface.
The device measures 142.7 x 73 x 7.8 mm and weighs 140 grams. It is offered in black, blue, and gold.
The larger 5.99-inch-screen version, the Aquos S3 is set to be announced on 28 March.
Date added/updated: 23 March 2018 – 15:00
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