And you thought movies were getting redundant. Apparently, no one can come up with an original idea, not even in the cell phone business. The Sharp FX Plus is not the first featurephone to be turned into a smartphone and I'm sure it won't be the last. After all, why spend millions of dollars and man-hours creating a new hardware design and name when you can just recycle an old phone and slap a few updated components onto it? It's like Frankenstein's Monster. Same body, different brain. Unfortunately, most of these featurephones-turned-smartphones function just as well as that failed experiment. If you ever need proof that manufacturing companies don't care about the customer but just want to make money, take a look at the latest low-end smartphones. Either this is just an experiment to see how naive the average customer is or the manufacturing company itself is naive.
Anyway, the Sharp FX Plus is a familiar sight, but with different guts and a slimmed down design. I've had it for about a day so here are a few things I've noticed:
- The hardware is an improvement over the original Sharp FX (a featurephone). The design and form factor are the same, but it's been slimmed down considerably and the keyboard has a new look. Yes, the phone resembles the Sidekick. No, it is not the Sidekick.
- On the new-look keyboard, I like it. The original Sharp FX had a terrific keyboard but it wasn't perfect. I liked the design, but the bubble-style keys peaked a little to high and sharp for me. This new keyboard has completely flat keys, but they are raised above the panel. The keys are also extremely grippy, similar to the keys on the Pre and Pixi. So far, the keyboard is excellent for typing and I have very few complaints about it.
- I'm disappointed by the processor performance so far. It may seem strange, but I actually was expecting smooth performance out of the FX Plus' 600 MHz CPU. Why? Because I tested several U.S. versions of the Optimus One and loved them. So far, the phone hasn't fooled me into thinking it's not a low-end phone. Rather, things are quite choppy and laggy.
- What doesn't help the overall experience of using the phone is that the display is sticky. I mentioned this in the unboxing video and said that it was probably due to some residue left from the protective film. To a certain extent, this proved true; however, even after that residue wore off, the screen is still too sticky for my taste. The display is likely made out of plastic and not glass. Glass screen are smooth and glossy.
- As of right now, I've had the phone on standby, with minor use here and there, for 26 hours and the battery is at thirty percent. Therefore, I'm hypothesizing that the battery should easily get you through a full day of normal to heavy use. Check back for my full review to see if I'm right.
There's a lot of things that I like about the Sharp FX Plus, at least for now. I like the keyboard, the hardware design, the fact that it ships with Android 2.2, and Sharp's UI. However, none of that will count for anything if the processor slows the phone down too much or if the screen is a pain to use. I'll put it through its paces and see what results I come up with. Keep it on PhoneDog and watch for my full review. In the meantime, you can check out the unboxing video below.