Lest you think HTC has a complete lock on Sharp's supply of extra-dense 5-inch, 1080p screens for the Droid DNA and J Butterfly, Sharp itself is building a phone around the giant LCD. The Aquos Phone SH930W slightly rethinks the internals of HTC's new Android 4.1 flagship to make it more affordable, doubling the non-expandable storage to 32GB but scaling back to a dual-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S3 and dropping the currently unsupported LTE. That cost-cutting will be vital, as the SH930W is headed to a more price-sensitive Russia first, in late November -- one of the few (if not only) times that Sharp has tailored a smartphone to a country other than its native Japan. The 22,000-ruble ($694) off-contract price in Russia could undercut mere 720p rivals that often cost 25,000 rubles ($789) or more.
It's an odd phone by any account, and Mobile-review was curious enough to snag a pre-release SH930W for an early inspection. While the device under the microscope was running vanilla Android rather than the planned Feel UX and may easily have a fair share of buggy code, initial benchmarks seem to validate fears of a mismatch between the display and an underpowered chip: the S3 is fast enough for common tasks at that resolution, but chokes with playing 1080p video and certain 3D games. Anyone buying the extra-large Aquos Phone will mostly be choosing it for the good battery life, the camera and that killer price, the site says. We'll admit to being slightly disappointed at such a pedestrian fate for Sharp's screen so soon into its lifespan, although we suspect performance-minded Muscovites could get a chance at a much faster HTC Deluxe in the near future.