Owned by Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, since 2016, the Japan-based Sharp Corporation is looking to expand its focus from LCD TVs and smartphone displays to OLEDs and higher-profile in-house mobile devices.
We have no idea if the Sharp Aquos S3 mini is scheduled to launch in any Western markets anytime soon, but even though it strongly resembles last year’s Aquos S2, the new 5.5-incher feels like a breath of fresh air.
Instead of “paying homage” to the iPhone X notch, the thin-bezeled Android handset adopts an approach that arguably provides a more elegant solution to the “full screen” problem. It’s not ideal, but the Essential Phone-inspired cutout is significantly smaller, allowing enough room for an impressive-sounding 20MP selfie shooter.
Unfortunately, the Aquos S3 mini still sports a huge “chin”, with both a company logo and front-mounted fingerprint reader on it. There’s also facial recognition in tow, AI-powered beautification tricks, and a Snapdragon 630 processor under the hood paired with a hefty 6GB RAM.
All in all, the Full HD+ (2040 x 1080 pixels) 5.5-inch “mini” phone is clearly not aimed at power users, speed junkies or the most demanding of shutterbugs, featuring just the one 16MP rear-facing camera, and disappointingly running Smile UX-skinned Nougat out the box.
Fortunately, the CNY 1,599 ($252) price makes the Sharp Aquos S3 mini a fairly sensible purchase in China, where it’s exclusively available from JD.com. A shiny glass back, 64GB internal storage space, and 3020mAh battery should help seal the deal, making us wish for global availability at a similar MSRP. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no, the “regular” Aquos S3 hasn’t been officially unveiled yet. We’re starting to doubt it’ll borrow the iPhone X notch too, but let’s wait and see.