It’s not often that we get a true new contender to enter the ring these days when it comes to smartphones. You hear all about your typical manufacturers and their respective models: Samsung, Apple, HTC, Motorola, Sony, LG, BlackBerry, Nokia. You know the names already. However, in recent news we learn that major U.S. carrier Sprint has plans to add a new line of devices called Aquos Crystal by Sharp, and the design is actually somewhat different than what you might typically see lining today’s shelves.
The first thing that I noticed was that the phone itself, when held right side up, looks upside down. The brand, front-facing camera, and sensors are all at the bottom of the device rather than its typical placement on top. The next thing you’ll notice is that the phone has no actual bezel. Zip. Zero. Zilch. None. 404 Error, there is no bezel to be found here. Your bezel is in another castle. You get the message.
And as neat and futuristic as that looks, I don’t like it. I like having bezels to prevent my somewhat chubby hands from touching the display for whatever reason. My hands may not really look that big, but when faced with little-to-no bezel, my hands become the equivalent of Cabbage Patch hands. It’s very hard for me to carefully place my hands around the display without significantly increasing my drop risk. Here’s to hoping that Sharp has the sense to make sure that accidental display touches (which are bound to happen, if you ask me) don’t become a major problem. Still, I think I just prefer to have the bezels on hand anyway. I’ve never found anything particularly unappealing about them, so I’m a little surprised to see how big of a deal they have become.
It’s no secret that bezels seem to be going the way of the dodo, though. With each new generation of smartphone, bezels seem to become smaller and smaller. Perhaps, like the phablet, this might be one of those changes that I’m going to have to learn to live with. People want bigger screens, but phones are getting to a point where they’re getting too big to reasonably hold with one hand. The next solution? Dump the bezels and still manage to make the screen bigger. Voila, problem solved.
Is the Sharp Aquos Crystal the first device with a true edge-to-edge display to steer the market in the same direction? The phone itself might actually make a compelling buy. Although the specs aren’t the most prestigious, the price of the device (in my opinion) more than makes up for the specs that you do end up getting: 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage with microSD card capabilities, HD voice (which is surprisingly still not a standard in the industry), Harman Kardon audio (like in the HTC One M8), and a nice, large 5-inch 720p display. Not a terrible hand to be dealt, especially at a pleasing price of $239 - and yes, that’s without a contract.
If nothing else, I think that the Aquos Crystal could be a big seller for Sprint customers for the price and spec combo alone. The virtually nonexistent bezels could make more appearances in the future if the phone does end up being a successful launch for Sprint, but I think that the more appealing aspect of the device comes from the low purchase price.
But for added measure, and as a final plea, I beg manufacturers to at least let some phones have bezels. They’re my clumsy finger safety net, and I would like to keep it that way.
Images via The Verge