Phones produced for the Japanese market are usually so radically different than the ones we're used to that you don't really feel like you're missing anything. However, the new Sharp Aquos Crystal may pique your interest. The difference is that you might have a chance to buy this one soon. This device comes in two sizes—5-inches and 5.5-inches. Both of them have teeny tiny, miniscule bezels. Almost none of the body peeks out from the edge of the screen.


The 5-inch version is a mid-range device with 720p resolution, a Snapdragon 400, 1.5GB of RAM, and Android 4.4. The 5.5-inch device is a premium offering packing a Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4, and steps the resolution up to 1080p. Softbank (the carrier of the device) only lists measurements for the 5-inch version right now, but it looks a little chunky depth-wise at 10mm. With almost no bezel, the designers probably had to implement some sort of touch detection algorithm that ignores accidental presses on the edge from simply holding the phone. The sensors and camera are also down at the bottom in a single large bezel, which looks a little awkward.

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Sharp hasn't made a phone of any consequence in the US for as long as I can remember, so it's hard to speculate on build quality or screen performance. However, the overall shape of the devices is a bit boring. It's pretty much a straight-edged rectangle with a large screen. Maybe there's something to be said for that approach, but there's not much to comment with regard to the design.

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The phones should be out late this month on Softbank, but Sprint's name is peppered throughout the Sharp site as well. This odd phone might actually be coming to a carrier near you. Although, it's a little hard to parse these Japanese pages with Google Translate.

Update: Sprint and its prepaid subsidiaries will be getting the Sharp Aquos Crystal soon. Exact date will be announced later.

[Reddit, Softbank 1, 2, Newsdoor – Thanks, Richard]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • J_Pod

    Is it just me or does this phone look like it's perpetually upside down?

    • Cool joke guy

      Must be from Australia.

      • Crude joke guy

        Or a satanist. They love to turn objects upside down, like crosses,

        • h4rr4r

          1. Satanism is a joke religion, it only exists as a troll.
          2. Upside down crosses are actually a symbol of St Peter.

          • Cheetos

            All religion is fiction

          • Gator352

            And Cheetos make you fat.

          • someone755

            ▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄ ▲ ▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄▼ ◄ ▲ ► ▼ ◄ ▲

            Oops, there goes my bag of Doritos.

    • black

      Today's word: Perpetually.

  • TomsDisqusted

    Whoa, Sony! I guess you heard our complains about your chunky bezels. That new phone looks awesome!

    • Brendan


      • TomsDisqusted

        Sorry. Monday morning.

  • john

    Looks ugly and strange without the top bezel.

  • BAM1789

    I don't care how thin those bezels are.. That phone is SUPER Fugly!

  • some guy

    where's the ear piece?

    • AOSPrevails

      At the bottom with the front facing camera and sensors.

    • abqnm

      It seems like it must be behind the screen.

      It doesn't seem like this phone is meant to be used with the bezel at the top for calls, so it has to be behind the screen. Based on the position of the two microphones, one on the bottom and one on the upper back, it seems that it is held normally for calls. If it were meant to be used inverted for calls, the mic would be at the top and the noise canceling mic would be on the lower back so they were in the proper locations when you inverted the phone.

    • RajivSK

      Ear pieces are overrated. I never really understood the appeal of calling anyway. I mean, you're expected to just drop everything and start listening to your wife / mom jabbering on about the colleague of a friends far cousin's cat feeling nauseous. I would pay good money for a phone where all that ended up in the void.

    • Xyor

      I saw a rumor about this phone's front panel integrating bone conduction technology to provide the function of the ear piece....sounds very convincing, judging by the thickness of the top bezel and lack of sorts of holes

      • pfmiller

        How? What bone could it contact when pressed against the side of your head with your ear in the way?

        • John Smith

          that's what she said... then I said "here, get on your knees and let me show you"

        • CoreRooted

          It produces subsonic vibrations that the inner ear (cochlea) picks up before the outer ear does.

        • Xyor

          Probably it'll work like those bone conduction Bluetooth headsets

          • pfmiller

            Those work because they can be put in direct contact with the bone behind your ear. A flat phone can't do that with your ear in the way.

  • Deacon Blues

    Damn, that looks sexy, even if somewhat impractical.

  • TY

    I don't understand the appeal of having a thin top bezel. Why not have a thin bottom bezel like the Moto X to improve one-handed usage?

    • abqnm

      I find that a small bottom bezel makes it harder to use one handed. A larger bottom bezel allows for more maneuvering room without touching the screen when holding the device with one hand. I don't know about you, but when holding the phone (securely at least), my thumb only bends so far down.

      This is exactly the right move. Only have the bezel at the bottom.

      • TY

        I agree we should have a reasonably sized bezel at the bottom, but what's the problem of having one on the top? When using the phone you never touch the top, so there's no reason why it shouldn't be there to accommodate speakers/sensors etc.

        Also I hold phones with my little finger supporting the bottom, so my thumbs have no problem at all reaching the very bottom of the phone, but have trouble reaching upwards. IMO the Moto X nailed it in screen size and placement. For example I would like the Nexus 5's top and bottom bezels reversed in size, and the black HTC logo bar on the M8 placed on top instead of bottom.

        • Matthew Skalecki

          I believe that the Nexus 5's tall bottom bezel is to accomodate the thumb when holding the phone in landscape orientation with one hand. It's perfectly sized for that.

      • gspida
    • Sir Mix

      I like big bezel's and I can not lie, you other brothers can't deny....

  • Renan Lazarotto

    WOW, changed my life. Next subject.

  • uopjo6

    "However, the overall shape of the devices is a bit boring. It's pretty much a straight-edged rectangle with a large screen."

    Are you xxxxing kidding me? Did you say the same about all the smartphones that were released the last decade??

    • hocestquisumus

      too bad apole has a patent on rounded corners. would be nice if others were allowed to use them. alas... :(

      • someone755

        How can you patent rounded corners? That's like if I went out and patented rocks. It's as common as common can be.
        It's shit like this that forces me to not be an Apple fan -- "Duhh your tablet looks like mine to me from far away in a dark room if I look at it with my eyes almost closed like the tablet I made so I'm gonna sue the shit outta you"

        • simp1istic

          You can't, and that's not the scenario at all. It's a ridiculously dumb over-simplification from some android fanboy's wet dream.

          • someone755

            Well, as I understand, and many before me have put it this way, Apple is suing Sammy over design, despite the tablets being completely different unless you look at it from far away in a dark room.

          • simp1istic

            Nothing alike? http://cdn.cultofmac.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/samsung-suit.jpg

            The lawsuit is old and there is a reason that apple won.

          • someone755

            I was talking about Apple suing Sammy over tablets. The lawsuit over the first S line is understandable.
            Found this on NYT; http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2012/08/25/business/Apple2.html
            It pretty much differed from the iPad in every way except for the black and silver around the screen.

            Can't paste a link now, but TekSyndicate had a video on YouTube a while ago titled something like "Did Apple ever invent anything." The reason they list for not supporting Apple is the same as I've had eversince I first heard about the Apple vs Sammy court battles (that being with the tablet stuff).

          • joser116

            He said tablets. Also, they only got a tiny fraction of what they asked for. Some of their patents from the lawsuit have also been invalidated.

          • andy_o

            Now you're backtracking. Just admit the oversimplification of the "rounded corners patent" that so many people just repeat mindlessly while thinking they're being funny and clever is a load of bullshit. You fell for it. Admit it, learn from it and move on.

          • someone755

            It's not me who said anything about the rounded corners, that statement was indeed too simplified. I even was against the idea, as it's absurd. To quote myself from a few posts above; "How can you patent rounded corners? That's like if I went out and patented rocks. It's as common as common can be." By that I wasn't agreeing with him, I was, in a way, telling the guy that his statement was wrong.

            Say, who invited you to the debate party anyways? And why do I always attract people who act asshole-ish to me on this site?

          • andy_o

            OK, I see that meaning now. It was ambiguous. My bad. Just like some Android fans like to inject Apple poison in everything, I react badly to them. I should work on that probably.

            But, "who invited you", in a public forum? Really?

          • someone755

            In true fanboy fashion, the Apple ones hate Android and vice-versa.

            And yes, really. I tend to overreact to sudden shocks of people not being nice on this site. (Because most of the time the people here are made of pure marshmallows and love.)

          • Satan’s Taint

            How can you type being lodged so far up Tim Cook's ass?

          • simp1istic

            A very mature comment. Especially talking to me with my 5 android phones within arm's reach. Believe it or not, you can like Apple and Android and technology in general without being an immature, insecure twit.

          • GazaIan

            I don't understand how you can call someone out for an immature comment, yet you flash your 5 Android phones as a status symbol and go on further to insult him and call him a twit.

            If you're going to criticize someone for being immature, don't be a hypocrite and do the same.

    • Labrat

      Furthermore, how would a bezel free screen have round corners?

      • someone755

        Moto 360 has a rounded screen. Could be a solution (and would be sexy imo -- some ROMs/OSs use rounded corners anyways despite running on square-ish screens).

  • Mike Gonzalez

    Not very convenient if you got to turn it upside down every time you get a new call, unless the speaker is hidden behind the display
    I remember Apple had a patent for that tho

    • CoreRooted

      The entire front of the device is the speaker. It uses bone induction technology.

  • Lester Walters

    Then we put an Otterbox on it to protect the bezel. lol

  • http://sp4rkr4t.me.uk/ Michael Sheils

    They are going to be so embarrassed when they realise they made the thing upside down.

  • CeluGeek

    Hmm, the last phone Sharp made for the US was the FX Plus for AT&T, a Sidekick-esque looking Android 2.2 (Froyo) phone. At a time when AT&T promised all of their postpaid phones shipping with Froyo would get an upgrade to Gingerbread, the FX Plus was left out of that party. So you can imagine how much I'd trust Sharp these days. Not to mention how impractical such a bezel-less phone will be. How the heck do you hear the callers?!

    • CoreRooted

      Bone induction technology. The entire front of the device is the speaker.

  • jonnyw2k

    "Sprint has scheduled a press event for tomorrow in New York City and is expected to show off the Aquos Crystal as an US exclusive."
    Another tech site is saying that.

  • Lars Jeppesen

    ... seriously, I drool'ed

  • someone755

    How many times must we tell you OEMs to PUT THE SPECS IN BOTH MODELS. If you don't, you shouldn't make the phone BELONG INTO THE SAME SERIES.

  • Matthew Fry

    While it is cool that the screen is nearly edge to edge, that chin is ugly. If I could have a 5" G3 with a smaller chin that would be the ultimate. 'dat bezel though.

  • Gian Paolo Vecchi

    You'll have to glue it to the bumper case...

  • mauswe

    That bottom bezel!

  • David Mareš

    I don't think I have ever seen such an ugly phone...

  • Jack

    Finally. The first major OEM to do this is going to have a very successful phone on their hands.

  • cm11Themes

    Hate your phone, coz of its huge Bezel, this might just impress you.


    • ProductFRED

      I like how the phone call screen is from Samsung's Galaxy phones (0:16)...

  • Sander Roelofs

    Looks like a Sony Xperia P to me

    • Victoria

      Not really man.. I had it and it looks nothing like it.

  • FrankJL

    that bottom though. Destroys the appeal of this phone.

  • bearballz

    That's some sweet action!

  • John Smith

    I think I'd need a suction-cup handle on the back to avoid starting the navigation drawer by accident

  • Tony Byatt

    The only issue is that the device is only on Sprint and its prepaid subsidiaries...

  • WhyWai

    Woah... perfect phone for all bezel haters!

  • rovielran

    brace yourselves chin and cleavage slefies are coming

  • hmmm

    Are the sprint subsidiaries getting the 5 or 5.5 version?

  • Da Fuq

    Why are Japanese phones always carrier-exclusive?