I have had another wonderful year working with Sprint as #SprintMom ambassador, where I was able to try out a handful of their new phones and devices, and share my thoughts and fun giveaways with you. As the year comes to a close, so does my participation in this program. But, before it ends, I wanted to share my thoughts on another great phone I was recently sent to try out the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone.
Available in either black...
Prior to being sent the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone to review, I had no idea that Sharp was in the smartphone business, as you usually don't hear about them turning out phones. But, after trying out this smartphone with Sprint service for the past month, I am a fan and hope for more Sharp phones in the future...that is if I can part with my new favorite phone. :-)
So what sets the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone apart from other smartphones on the market, and why should you consider it if you are looking to switch phone carriers or upgrade your phone? Just check out these phone features and more information about the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone, which is a result of SoftBank and Sprint merging and bringing this phone to the US.
First, Sprint and its prepaid brands (Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA) are the exclusive U.S. carriers for this groundbreaking AQUOS device. So, if you are a fan of pre-paid phone for yourself or your kids, then you'll want to check out the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone, as it is not like other pre-paid phones I have tried, as it is full of top quality features and crystal clear sound and picture quality.
Sharp AQUOS Crystal breaks the mold of traditional smartphone design. From stunning picture quality and an immersive, vibrant display, to its sleek, 5-inch edge-to-edge HD screen, AQUOS Crystal revolutionizes the mobile phone experience.
Here is the breakdown of specs and key features of the phone for those who like to see what the phone is all about:
- Sprint Spark™, a unique combination of advanced network capabilities built for data delivering peak wireless speeds of 60Mbps today on capable devices
- Android™ 4.4.2, KitKat
- 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon® processor
- HD Voice, virtually eliminating background noise and sound quality is dramatically enhanced on a call between two Sprint HD Voice-enabled devices on upgraded areas of the Sprint network
- Wi-Fi Calling allows users to use their voice and messaging services over existing home, office and public Wi-Fi networks
- 3G/4G mobile hotspot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi®enabled devices simultaneously
- Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g/n)
- Google Mobile™ services including Google Play™, Google Search™, Google Maps™, Google Navigation™, Google Talk™, Google Calendar™, Google +™, Gmail™ and YouTube™
- OfficeSuite: Easily edit every Microsoft® Word, Excel and PowerPoint document using the AQUOS Crystal, so you can work on the go, whenever you might be
- Speaktoit Assistant: Speak to Assistant just like you’d talk to a person: update social media statuses, manage notes, search for interesting places and let Assistant get to know you to better anticipate what you’ll need
- Runs on the Sprint Spark network, which enhances the phone’s LTE service,allowing for high quality video
- Harman Kardon’s LiveStage™ provides a more lifelike headphone listening experience by adding dimension to the sound
- Clari-Fi™ technology improves digital sound quality by restoring all types of compressed digital music
- Clip Now takes screenshots with one swipe and saves them with an embedded URL for easy sharing
- Dual Cameras: 8MP rear-facing camera with flash (3,264x2,448 photo resolution; 1080p@30FPS video resolution) and 1.2MP front-facing camera (1,280x960 photo resolution; 720p@30FPS video resolution)
- Advanced photo features such as night catch to brighten both subject and background for those tricky nighttime shots, sequential shots to catch rapid movements by using a simple button hold, and shutter detect makes it easy to capture unforgettable moments with your friends and family by automatically taking a photo when it detects a smile
- Google Play™ with more than 1 million apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies
- App Pass – a U.S. Sprint exclusive subscription service that allows customers to access a hand-selected catalog of premium apps and games for one low monthly fee
- Stereo Bluetooth® (4.0 + LE) wireless technology support
- 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack
- Dimensions: 5.16 x 2.6 x 0.40 inches
- Weight: 4.97 ounces
- Display: 5-inch HD frameless LCD display (1,280x720)
- Battery: 2,040mAh Lithium-Ion battery
- Memory: 1.5GB RAM; 8GB ROM; SD card up to 128GB (sold separately)
Available in either white or black color options, the new Sharp AQUOS Crystal has a "chic, compact exterior that houses a smartphone powered by Android 4.4.2 KitKat and supported by the ultra-fast Sprint Spark network. Once you start playing around with this phone, you will find that is truly amazing, not just because of its incredible audio powered by Harman Kardon® technologies and HD voice, but the camera will make your photos look like they were taken by a pro.
I rely heavily on my phone to take photos for my blog posts and sharing things through my social media channels. So, I need to make sure that the phone that I am using is taking crisp, high quality photos. Other phones that I have carried services for in the past offered some great features, but were lacking on the camera features as pictures taken were fuzzy or not as clear as I would like. I couldn't get over the different photo features you can choose from, as it related to the types of photos you are taking with the new Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone. And, there is even a "smile" detector that will take photos once it detects a smile on the subject, which in and of itself is pretty neat.
Unlike other smartphones I have used in the past this phone had options for taking "food" photos, which really made the photos I was taking look like staged or magazine quality pictures. There were even fun vintage and black and white photo option that could turn photos into something fun to share and talk about. I ended up taking a photo of the girls visiting with Santa and made it into a black and white photo, that I used for our greeting card this year. Everyone I sent the card to loved the look and feel of the photo and couldn't get over how even though it was in black and white, the image was still crisp and clear.
There is even a fun “Night Catch” photo feature that I love playing around with that brightens the subject and background for nighttime shots. This will surely come in handy during upcoming summer evenings spent by the fire or taking in the warm air with family while on vacation or relaxing by the pool for a late night dip. But, for now, I have been snapping photos of the girls sleeping, to not only show them how they sleep all crazy, usually doing 360 turns in the night, but also as a keepsake for myself, to remind myself as they get older as to how precious they look when they sleep. I know there will come a time when they will not need a bedtime story read to them or a kiss tonight. So, when that time comes, I can look at the photos I took using the "Night Catch" photo feature, and reminisce about when they were younger and needed their mom for things. :-)
I could go on and on about how much I love the camera of the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone, but I want to make sure I share about the other amazing features that make this new phone one to consider. Besides the camera on this phone, the sound was the next thing that won me over and has had me bragging to family and friends about it.
The AQUOS Crystal boasts Harman’s Clari-Fi™ technology with the ability to restore and “rebuild” music fidelity lost during audio compression. Clari-Fi yields richer, deeper and clearer sound quality for compressed digital music (like MP3 downloads or streaming services such as Spotify®). The Clari-Fi experience includes low and high frequency extension, improved realism and fidelity, and wider sound stage.
Other features of the Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone that I love include the OfficeSuite and Speaktoit Assistant, both of which come in handy for me not just as a blogger, but as a busy mom on the go. I never go anywhere without my phone, and when I am using it, I want to be able to access different thing, including documents sent to me for review, or even ones I create based on ideas I have or even topics I want to research further. While notepad features on most phones is fine, I am used to using Microsoft® Word, Excel and PowerPoint when sitting at my laptop. With this new phone, I can only view, but edit these types of documents, thus allowing me to work and share on the go. I was over the moon excited when I learned of this feature, and have been using it almost every day.
As for the Speaktoit Assistant, this is like my own personal assistant waiting in standby to help me with my daily to-do's and more. Just like if I was talking to a live person, I can speak into my Sharp AQUOS Crystal smartphone using the Speaktoit Assistant and instantly update my social media statutes, search for local kid-friendly restaurants or attractions, as well as manage notes. As you start to use this feature, it gets to know you and starts to anticipate your need, which I think is really neat. I can't tell you how many times I wish I could have a list of kid-friendly places to bring the girls available to me in seconds. With the Speaktoit Assistant, I just ask away and am provided with the information I need to enjoy a day out with the girls.
Have you heard about or tried the “App All You Want” App Pass?
This is exclusive Sprint subscription service that allows "customers to access a hand-selected catalog of premium apps and games for $4.99 per month – after a 14-day free trial. App Pass offers unlimited access to these apps and games across two devices, and additionally, customers are given a $5 credit each month to spend on in-app purchases."
While I always tell myself I will be using my phone just to make and receive calls and take photos, I seem to fill it up with apps within a matter of days of receiving. Don't we all? I find that I am downloading apps that will help making blogging and sharing on the go easier, as well as kid-friendly apps I can let my girls play with, to keep busy. But, when it comes to buying apps, I wish I knew more about what they were and be able to see screenshots, like you would in if buying from the iTunes store. Thanks to this new App Pass from Sprint, they curate a selection of popular apps and games from top developer's like including Gameloft and Oceanhouse Media. Select titles from other developers include OfficeSuite 7 Pro, Camera Zoom FX, Minuum Keyboard, CamScanner and Color & Draw for Kids, so you know that your purchases will be well spent.
"Download as many premium apps and top games as you wish across 2 Sprint devices. Unlimited access."
I can't tell you how many times I have bought an app without researching it further, only to be disappointed with the overall quality of it. Thanks to the App Pass I don't have to worry about kicking myself for a lousy app, as I know they will also be great, as they are popular premium apps, and not ones put together by no-name app developers. I especially love how you get a monthly in-app purchase credit of $5.00 that you can use on any games you download through the App Pass. And, at only $4.99/month to subscribe to the App Pass, this credit makes it feel like you are getting this premium app access for FREE. :-)
"App Pass, powered by Mobiroo, which develops and manages app subscription platforms globally, comes pre-installed on all new Sprint Android devices. If you don't have the App Pass currently on your phone, you can also find it under the “Apps” tab of the Sprint Zone app, on supported devices, for current Sprint customers using an Android phone." Sprint customers can visit www.sprint.com/apppass to learn more and download the app. New apps and games will be regularly added to the storefront.
(To receive the 14-day free trial, customers will need to open the App Pass app and then register by tapping on the menu button, then selecting ‘My Account,’ tapping on the ‘Sign up now’ button on the Featured page or tapping on the ‘download’ button on an App Details page. App Pass will not be available on prepaid devices.)
Another great feature of this phone is its ability to allow to make Wi-Fi calls using you voice and messaging services over existing home, office and public Wi-Fi networks. Because I am home most of the time with the girls and carry Internet and phone service for the house, I am usually connected using these paid services. It is nice not having to worry about racking up text messaging fees or going over on monthly minutes, when I connect using the Wi-Fi feature. Not only do I save my data/minute plans for when I am on the go, but I get to use the phone and Internet services I already pay for at home with both my land line and laptop, as well as my AQUOS Crystal smartphone -- which allows me to travel throughout the house without having to lug my laptop or wonder where I left the cordless phone. Instead, all I need is my AQUOS Crystal smartphone to stay connected.
In addition to impromptu dance parties and listening to Christmas music with the girls whenever we want, I am also loving the 5-Inch edge-to-edge HD screen on this phone. This feature, which you don't find with other phones, makes for great video viewing. My girls love to grab my phone when we are running errands and they want to stay entertained. They were quick to notice how the videos stretched the phone length of the phone, making for a more enjoyable viewing.
I could go on and on about the many features that make the AQUOS Crystal the phone to own, but I know you will realize this soon enough, once you check out this new smartphone at your local Sprint retailer, or read about it online. This was the perfect phone to end my year long Sprint Mom ambassador relationship with, and one phone I will be talking about with family and friends this upcoming holiday season, when everyone starts comparing their smartphones and its features, or sharing photos.
With Sprint Easy Pay, well-qualified buyers can purchase AQUOS Crystal with $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $101 (service plan is required). Customers can visit www.sprint.com/sharp for more information. Sharp AQUOS Crystal is available in black at www.virginmobileusa.com and in white at www.BoostMobile.com, both for $149.99 (plus tax).
Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received a sample device to facilitate this review.