Sharp's edge-to-edge AQUOS S2 is a glimpse at your next phone

Even if it won't be a Sharp phone.

Sponsored Links


Andy Rubin's Essential Phone may have wowed us with its edge-to-edge display recently, but let's not forget that Sharp has been driving this design with many of its previous Android phones -- 28 of them, to be precise. Today, the Japanese brand unveiled its 29th release dubbed AQUOS S2 which, funnily enough, looks rather familiar. From afar, the S2's screen and the Essential Phone's screen share the same front-camera notch at the top, except the former is a smaller 5.5-inch panel with a slightly lower 2,040 x 1,080 resolution. The more notable difference here is how the corners at the top appear to be hastily trimmed, which is a bit of a letdown, but at least you're still getting a nice 135-percent sRGB gamut plus a handy 550-nit brightness.

Thanks to Sharp's very own Free Form Display technology, the S2 has an impressive 87.5-percent screen-to-body ratio. It's also a much smaller device: we're talking about tucking a 5.5-inch display into the body of a conventional 4.9-inch smartphone. And don't worry, you still get a 3,030 mAh battery which is plentiful, especially considering that the phone is powered by Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 660 (8x Kryo 260; 2.2GHz + 1.8GHz; 14nm) or Snapdragon 630 (8x ARM Cortex A53; 2.2GHz + 1.8GHz; 14nm), depending on which of the two price tiers you're going for.

While the S2 is no powerhouse, it comes equipped with a pair of nice cameras. The front imager has an 8-megapixel 1.4um sensor with f/2.0 aperture, which is pretty good given how compact the module is. The f/1.75 dual camera on the back consists of a 12-megapixel sensor plus an 8-megapixel sensor, both also feature efficient 1.4um pixels and together offer a seven-level bokeh effect.

Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from Engadget
You can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.
Not now

Compared to previous Sharp smartphones, the S2 has ditched the old bone conduction actuator in favor of a conventional earpiece that's hidden underneath the screen, next to the front camera, with its audio channeled to a thin pipe placed along the top edge of the screen for clearer sound. While the front camera is no longer placed on the chin, there's now a fingerprint reader centered there -- an interesting choice when both the Essential Phone and Xiaomi's Mi Mix opted for a rear fingerprint reader instead.

Another interesting engineering feat here is the use of a "3D" single-sheet glass back on the premium model: it's named as such because not only are the four edges curved, but it's also molded with the camera bump to give a more elegant finish. As a bonus, the "Sharp" logo is engraved near the bottom, which is a much nicer touch than the usual silk-printed branding. For those who are wondering, Sharp claims that the S2 has passed its "rigorous" drop tests for all six sides and four corners thanks to its aluminum mid-frame design, but we'll believe it when we see it.

It's unclear which other markets will the AQUOS S2 enter, but for now, Sharp is already taking pre-orders in China. The standard model with Snapdragon 630, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is priced at 2,499 yuan (about $370), and it comes in black, white, blue or mint green. The premium model due to arrive later is asking for 3,499 yuan (about $520) and packs a Snapdragon 660, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage plus the aforementioned "3D" glass back, but it doesn't have the mint green option.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.
Popular on Engadget