Sharp AQUOS Xx3 retrospective review

One of the most popular smartphones from Sharp, the flagship of 2016, which had several names: Aquos xx3 506SH for the Softbank operator, AQUOS Zeta SH-04H for NTT Docomo, AQUOS Serie SHV34 for AU KDDI and Aquos P1 for the Taiwan market (not in last of all, it was thanks to this version that he gained popularity). Today we will consider the version for Softbank, which differs from all the others only in software and a set of colors. The only model from this entire series that differed from the others was the Aquos Serie SHV34, which did not have a fingerprint sensor, but instead acquired an iris scanner.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

It is hardly possible to call this model the best Android flagship of 2016, because it failed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S7 series, as well as with OnePlus 3 and a bunch of other devices. However, the device can be called one of the most balanced, which allows it to still remain relevant - as many people know, last year's successful and even the year before last flagships are always one of the best options for users who are undemanding to their characteristics. Today we will look at the hero of the review through the prism of two years (and this is already a lot by the standards of electronics), and also study all its pros and cons that are relevant for the modern user.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Delivery set

You don't have to be a jack-of-all-trades to notice how the range of accessories that come with a device has dwindled over the years. If even ten years ago a box with a smartphone sometimes almost caught up with a medium-sized TV in size, now the boxes have turned into a modest brick, in which the most necessary things are neatly and very tightly packed. However, in this matter, the Japanese, as always, are “ahead of the rest”: Japanese manufacturers no longer even put a USB cable to the current flagships, not to mention “luxury” headsets and charging cradles.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Complete set of the Nokia N8 smartphone from the distant 2010

In the case of Aquos xx3, minimalism showed itself in all its glory: the only thing that they bothered to put in it in the box, except for any waste paper, was a headset adapter that allows you to catch one-seg television, traditionally useless in any country, except Japan.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Appearance

The design of the smartphone can be described as "banal and boring." This is a glossy case and a metal frame around the perimeter that have already set the teeth on edge, the dullness of which is slightly diluted with inserts with LEDs on the sides (more on them later) and the ability to choose more interesting body colors. Each version of this smartphone has a traditional white variant, which we will study, but in addition to it, different carriers have their own “exclusive” body colors. The Softbank version has a turquoise with a “dotted” structure and black-brown mother-of-pearl, Docomo has the same black-brown version plus aqua, and AU KDDI has a dark blue mother-of-pearl and soft pink options. The Taiwanese version didn't get special colors, all variants were transferred to it from AU KDDI.

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Sharp AQUOS Xx3 506SH (Softbank)

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Zeta SH-04H (NTT Docomo)

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Serie SHV34 (AU by KDDI)

We have a white device in our review - the most boring, but, importantly, the most non-staining of all those that I managed to hold in my hands. Fingerprints on it, of course, remain in the same volume as on the rest, but against a white background it is not so easy to see them as it happens with dark options.

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The smartphone cannot be called huge, but still, the return to a more classic design “with frames” at the bottom and at the top did not benefit the dimensions of the device: the same Aquos Crystal X with a display 5.5 inches shorter in length by a whole centimeter ( although it is noticeably thicker), and Sharp's previous flagship for Softbank, Aquos xx2, with the same diagonal, is less than xx3 in length by the same centimeter and is equivalent to it in width and thickness.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Xx2

While one can't help but agree that width is more important than length for grip comfort, I would still like to see an increase in the display-to-body ratio in newer versions, rather than a decrease.

By the way, about "grip". Not being a fan of glossy cases, I want to thank Sharp engineers at least for the fact that the back wall is not made of “premium” glass, but of more practical plastic, which prevents the smartphone from slipping out of hands too easily or moving off a flat surface. Yes, plastic is resistant to scratches, and this is its serious disadvantage, but when using a smartphone with a glass cover, you will probably stick a film on it, but in the case of plastic, the presence of a protective film becomes rather a necessary condition. But this material does not have the fragility inherent in any glass (be it any generation), and therefore it better takes on the “blows of fate”.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The metal frame, by the way, is also quite durable. For a week of operation, not a single hint of a chip or even the slightest scratch from the keys and coins in the pocket appeared on it.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

On the front side, in addition to the display, there are the usual “organs”: at the top there is a earpiece, a front camera and a dark strip of proximity and light sensors, and at the bottom there is a lone sensor of the Grip Magic system.

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On the left side there are trays for a SIM card and a microSD memory card, as well as a pull-out tab with information about the manufacturer and IMEI of the device, together covered with a plug with a silicone seal. Below is another Grip Magic sensor and the Breathing Light LED indicator, which notifies of events in various colors, as well as simulating the “breathing” of the device (more on that below).

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To the right are all the physical buttons, which have a great, crisp feel and are great for blind groping. Just below the power/lock button is a fingerprint sensor, and only the Japanese god knows why Sharp decided not to combine them into one control, as Sony and many other companies did. On the other hand, the scanner works quite well, and in the settings you can activate the inclusion of the screen by touching the scanner, so the “loss” is not so big. In total, you can add up to 5 fingers to the system, you can add them in any position, but the scanner will only recognize them the way you put them for the first time, which is not very convenient. You can, of course, add one or two fingers in all possible combinations, this will increase the chances of recognizing one fingerprint, but trying to unlock a smartphone with one finger is not always a convenient task.

Under the fingerprint scanner are the same sensor and LED as on the left.

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The top side boasts an additional microphone and a standard headset jack (an endangered species!), while the bottom side boasts a speaker, a micro-USB connector, a main microphone and a hole for a strap and accessories, in the bowels of which the traditional Japanese output hole is hidden hot air. If we look at the charging socket, we can see that its outlines were designed for the new USB Type-C connector, but, apparently, something changed at the last moment, and an outdated asymmetric connector was inserted into the xx3, compensating for the difference in cutout sizes with a plastic insert.

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The back side of the Softbank version is a blank white (in our case, literally) sheet, on which there are no logos of either the operator, the manufacturer, or even the Aquos series. The only little thing that breaks this realm of minimalism is the Felica logo, under which the antenna for mobile payments of the system of the same name is hidden (it is combined with an NFC antenna). And at the very top of the back cover are the camera lens, LED flash and the fourth sensor of the system Magic Grip.

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Display

Sharp remained true to itself and put a matrix made using IGZO technology in its flagship. For those who are not familiar with the characteristic features of this technology, I will briefly remind them: this is reduced power consumption, the ability to configure a high scan (120 Hz in our case) and good black depth, adjacent to the general fading and the ability to fade in the sun.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Aquos xx3 got the best (at the time) IGZO screen - there is no such strong fading as before, and even under direct rays the display remains visible, and it is no longer so to look at images or videos that are saturated with color it hurts, but in this regard, OLED display technology remains an unattainable leader for IGZO technology.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Communications

Here, everything is familiar to the Japanese flagship - xx3 has all the necessary communication modules and does not sin with any ill-conceivedness of any of them. Unless I would like support for Bluetooth 5.0, but do not forget about the year the device was released - in 2016, the specification of the new standard was just presented. Wi-Fi catches the signal perfectly, the smartphone itself can distribute the Internet, including at a frequency of 5 GHz, which is good news. The NFC module, unfortunately, does not support Mifare transport cards, but it does support Android Pay contactless payment.

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The cellular network catches steadily, the smartphone supports LTE networks, but, as always, only Band 3 is available from the Russian bands, so you need to carefully check if your operator is broadcasting on this frequency. In Rostov-on-Don, my device perfectly caught the 4G networks of the Danycom operator (MVNO based on Tele2) - it is on this frequency that Tele2 broadcasts in my city. In some places of the city, LTE was even received from Beeline, although I did not find information about the broadcast of this operator in the B3 band in Rostov. Access points of your operator (APN), as usual, must be added manually, this is a matter of one minute, although many have already forgotten how this is done. The quality of cellular communication does not cause any complaints, the earpiece and microphones perform their duties one hundred percent and do not make you want to shout into the phone even in a noisy city environment.

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A few words about the interface. Here is a typical Softbank design of the system, its proprietary Feel Home launcher with some settings (which, of course, can be replaced with any other) and the absence of the Russian language (partially cured by installing morelocale and third-party contacts, messages and launcher applications). All this splendor is based on Android 6.0, which can not be called fresh, but it is still quite relevant for everyday use. If Japanese engineers provided for updating the “OS” outside of Japan, then it would be possible to update xx3 on Android Nougat and, possibly, even on Oreo (if this update comes out), but without a Softbank SIM card and without being in Japan, update won't work.

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There are also "proprietary" software features, some of which are really useful, and some, by and large, only look interesting for the first couple of hours, and then you forget about them or turn them off altogether. Fortunately, the first is more than the second. By the way, the built-in Let’s Try! will show all the software features and teach you how to use them - it's quite convenient.

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In addition to the already mentioned ability to turn on the screen frequency of 120 Hz, there is a function that allows you to hide the screen from prying eyes - when you press a button in the notification curtain, a certain “mask” with patterns is superimposed on the screen (they can be selected in the settings), which allow you to look at the screen only at a right angle. This is in theory, but in practice, if an attacker or a neighbor in the subway really wants to look at your screen, then it will not be difficult for him - in fact, inscriptions and images can be seen even at an angle of about 30-35 degrees, which is already strong expands the field of view for others. But this "mask" looks funny, I even think that some girls will like it purely aesthetically and they will turn it on not for security reasons. Interestingly, it is not captured in the screenshots, so it seems that you just pasted a film with a pattern on the screen. I did not know this fact, and therefore, without a twinge of conscience, I “clicked” the screenshots with full confidence that it could be seen there, and when I realized it, I no longer had the device on hand. So I had to take pictures of the operation of this mode with Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta SH-01F.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Phone Zeta SH-01F

Screen resizing for better one-handed operation, glove mode, automatic and manual blue light filter, and swipe-to-screen screenshots from the top corners (the top edge is for easy saving screen, and if you slide your finger along the side edges, the screenshot will immediately open in the editing window, where you can write and draw something).

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The auto-scroll feature turned out to be very convenient for me - when you are in a browser or some reading application and scroll through a lot of text, the smartphone can turn on auto-scrolling.If you swipe evenly from top to bottom or from bottom to top, then a button will appear on the screen that turns on automatic scrolling - you point your finger at it without lifting it from the screen, and the smartphone starts automatically “pulling” the content in the appropriate direction, after which you can release your finger . It is possible to adjust the speed of this action, however, even at the highest speed, it will not scroll through the screen, flickering text. This is not a replacement for fast scrolling down or up, but rather a more convenient way to read. Many reader applications have such tools, but here it is implemented at the system level. By the way, if you enable smooth screen scanning in the same browser or reader, then reading long texts with automatic scrolling becomes even more pleasant, your eyes get a little less tired, and when scrolling through the pictures, they do not “twitch” by pixel, but seem to “float” across the screen.

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An interesting refinement is in the recent applications menu. By clicking on the appropriate button, you can make a quick note (including on a screenshot of the screen), open the clipboard with the last copied texts and set a “child lock”, at which the screen stops responding to pressing, and you can safely turn on the cartoon to the child and hand him a gadget - he won’t knock down any settings and he won’t dial a number from conditional Mexico. This mode is turned off very easily: by pressing the power button, so that the possibility of calling to Mexico still remains. There are also buttons to reduce the screen size and a magnifying glass for more convenient interaction with the gadget.

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Grip Magic sensors are responsible for several "chips" at once. The smartphone can recognize being in a pocket or bag, so you can customize the behavior of notifications - when you take it out of your pocket, it can remind you with vibration and sound about unread notifications and missed calls. Side sensors determine that the smartphone is taken in hand, and thus it can turn on the screen after holding the smartphone in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthese sensors (they are located very competently to recognize hands in the way that you usually grab a smartphone), and also not turn off the screen until then while hands are on them. You can also turn on the attenuation of the volume of the ringtone when picking up the smartphone - also a cool feature that allows you not to try to frantically press the volume button from an unexpected call during a meeting or meeting. The next feature is not related to the Grip Magic sensors: it allows you to switch between applications by twisting the smartphone on the vertical axis - this gesture is familiar to many owners of Motorola smartphones as a gesture to turn on the camera.

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Сенсор Grip Magic на передней панели также отвечает за распознавание чехла-книжки: при включенной соответствующей опции в меню смартфон будет включать уменьшенный интерфейс, созданный для окошка фирменного чехла, наподобие чехлов S View от Samsung и Quick Circle от LG.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

You can also configure the behavior of the Breathing Light LEDs in the menu, the name of these elements is “speaking”: a smartphone at night can simulate uniform “breathing” of LEDs, which is undoubtedly very beautiful, but has absolutely no payload, it’s good at least , this feature is disabled. There are also the usual notifications about various events, battery charge status and notifications from third-party applications, and, most importantly, a separate color can be configured for each (the Japanese never skimp on good multi-color indicators). It is worth noting that the location of the LEDs on xx3 is very good - it is simply impossible not to notice them from any position.

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Battery

The battery life of the Sharp Aquos xx3 does not break any records, but it cannot be called insufficient either. With a not very capacious 3000 mAh battery, good firmware optimization and an economical IGZO screen come into play in this smartphone. The first allows the smartphone, lying on the table, to lose no more than one percent of the charge in three hours with the wireless modules turned on, and the second saves energy consumption in the case of displaying static colors like e-ink displays.

You can safely count on two full days of using your smartphone in the absence of high loads. For example, with my constant use of city navigation, listening to online radio on Bluetooth headphones, reading articles for about an hour, watching videos for another half an hour or an hour and frequently using Telegram (about 6 hours of screen in total) by 8 pm is stable there was at least 20 percent of the charge left, which I consider an excellent indicator for the daily operation of a device with a powerful filling. A full charge from a regular adapter (2A) takes about 2 hours, from an adapter with QC 3.0 support - no more than an hour. The battery, according to fashion trends, is non-removable - you can’t get to it without disassembling the case.

Cameras

The main camera in the Aquos xx3, which looks great on paper, can in fact disappoint a person who is zealously fond of photography. No, it’s not really “horror-horror” here, the module takes excellent pictures in good light, and even in low light it frankly does not fall face down in the dirt, but still shooting dark scenes is not its forte. In the dark, it loses contrast and often adds digital noise, which is not that strong, but noticeable. Again, if you do not peer into every pixel and do not find fault with trifles, then everything is really good here, for family photo chronicles and for social networks this quality is enough for the eyes. Here, fast camera launch, autofocus and shutter release are more important, and the Aquos xx3 has no problems with this.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

What else is not lacking in the main camera of this device is in all kinds of camera modes, in which you can get confused out of habit. Auto, Manual, Slow-Mo, Time Lapse, Fireworks, Black & White, Silver Bypass or Bleach bypass, Focus Blur (which is further subdivided into five modes), reading two-dimensional codes and the "mirror" mode - most of these modes the user will try only once after buying a smartphone, and then safely forget about them. Apart from

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 retrospective review

One of the most popular smartphones from Sharp, the flagship of 2016, which had several names: Aquos xx3 506SH for the Softbank operator, AQUOS Zeta SH-04H for NTT Docomo, AQUOS Serie SHV34 for AU KDDI and Aquos P1 for the Taiwan market (not in last of all, it was thanks to this version that he gained popularity). Today we will consider the version for Softbank, which differs from all the others only in software and a set of colors. The only model from this entire series that differed from the others was the Aquos Serie SHV34, which did not have a fingerprint sensor, but instead acquired an iris scanner.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

It is hardly possible to call this model the best Android flagship of 2016, because it failed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S7 series, as well as with OnePlus 3 and a bunch of other devices. However, the device can be called one of the most balanced, which allows it to still remain relevant - as many people know, last year's successful and even the year before last flagships are always one of the best options for users who are undemanding to their characteristics. Today we will look at the hero of the review through the prism of two years (and this is already a lot by the standards of electronics), and also study all its pros and cons that are relevant for the modern user.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Delivery set

You don't have to be a jack-of-all-trades to notice how the set of accessories that come with a device has dwindled over the years. If even ten years ago a box with a smartphone sometimes almost caught up with a medium-sized TV in size, now the boxes have turned into a modest brick, in which the most necessary things are neatly and very tightly packed. However, in this matter, the Japanese, as always, are “ahead of the rest”: Japanese manufacturers no longer even put a USB cable to the current flagships, not to mention “luxury” headsets and charging cradles.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Complete set of the Nokia N8 smartphone from the distant 2010

In the case of Aquos xx3, minimalism showed itself in all its glory: the only thing that they bothered to put in it in the box, except for any waste paper, was a headset adapter that allows you to catch one-seg television, traditionally useless in any country, except Japan.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Appearance

The design of the smartphone can be described as "banal and boring." These are the glossy body and the metal frame around the perimeter that have already set the teeth on edge, the dullness of which is slightly diluted with inserts with LEDs on the sides (we will talk about them later) and the ability to choose more interesting body colors. Each version of this smartphone has a traditional white variant, which we will study, but in addition to it, different carriers have their own “exclusive” body colors. The Softbank version has a turquoise with a “dotted” structure and black-brown mother-of-pearl, Docomo has the same black-brown version plus aqua, and AU KDDI has a dark blue mother-of-pearl and soft pink options. The Taiwanese version didn't get special colors, all variants were transferred to it from AU KDDI.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 506SH (Softbank)

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Zeta SH-04H (NTT Docomo)

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Serie SHV34 (AU by KDDI)

We have a white device in our review - the most boring, but, importantly, the most non-staining of all those that I managed to hold in my hands. Fingerprints on it, of course, remain in the same volume as on the rest, but against a white background it is not so easy to see them as it happens with dark options.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The smartphone cannot be called huge, but still, the return to a more classic design “with frames” at the bottom and at the top did not benefit the dimensions of the device: the same Aquos Crystal X with a display 5.5 inches shorter in length by a whole centimeter ( although it is noticeably thicker), and Sharp's previous flagship for Softbank, Aquos xx2, with the same diagonal, is less than xx3 in length by the same centimeter and is equivalent to it in width and thickness.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Xx2

While one can't help but agree that width is more important than length for grip comfort, I would still like to see an increase in the display-to-body ratio in newer versions, rather than a decrease.

By the way, about "grip". Not being a fan of glossy cases, I want to thank Sharp engineers at least for the fact that the back wall is not made of “premium” glass, but of more practical plastic, which prevents the smartphone from slipping out of hands too easily or moving off a flat surface. Yes, plastic is resistant to scratches, and this is its serious disadvantage, but when using a smartphone with a glass cover, you will probably stick a film on it, but in the case of plastic, the presence of a protective film becomes rather a necessary condition. But this material does not have the fragility inherent in any glass (be it any generation), and therefore it better takes on the “blows of fate”.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The metal frame, by the way, is also quite durable. For a week of operation, not a single hint of a chip or even the slightest scratch from the keys and coins in the pocket appeared on it.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

On the front side, in addition to the display, there are the usual “organs”: at the top there is a earpiece, a front camera and a dark strip of proximity and light sensors, and at the bottom there is a lone sensor of the Grip Magic system.

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On the left side there are trays for a SIM card and a microSD memory card, as well as a pull-out tab with information about the manufacturer and IMEI of the device, together covered with a plug with a silicone seal. Below is another Grip Magic sensor and the Breathing Light LED indicator, which notifies of events in various colors, as well as simulating the “breathing” of the device (more on that below).

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

To the right are all the physical buttons, which have a great, crisp feel and are great for blind groping. Just below the power/lock button is a fingerprint sensor, and only the Japanese god knows why Sharp decided not to combine them into one control, as Sony and many other companies did. On the other hand, the scanner works quite well, and in the settings you can activate the inclusion of the screen by touching the scanner, so the “loss” is not so big. In total, you can add up to 5 fingers to the system, you can add them in any position, but the scanner will only recognize them the way you put them for the first time, which is not very convenient. You can, of course, add one or two fingers in all possible combinations, this will increase the chances of recognizing one fingerprint, but trying to unlock a smartphone with one finger is not always a convenient task.

Under the fingerprint scanner are the same sensor and LED as on the left.

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The top side boasts an additional microphone and a standard headset jack (an endangered species!), while the bottom side boasts a speaker, a micro-USB connector, a main microphone and a hole for a strap and accessories, in the bowels of which the traditional Japanese output hole is hidden hot air. If we look at the charging socket, we can see that its outlines were designed for the new USB Type-C connector, but, apparently, something changed at the last moment, and an outdated asymmetric connector was inserted into the xx3, compensating for the difference in cutout sizes with a plastic insert.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The back side of the Softbank version is a blank white (in our case, literally) sheet, on which there are no logos of either the operator, the manufacturer, or even the Aquos series. The only little thing that breaks this realm of minimalism is the Felica logo, under which the antenna for mobile payments of the system of the same name is hidden (it is combined with an NFC antenna). And at the very top of the back cover are the camera lens, LED flash and the fourth sensor of the system Magic Grip.

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Display

Sharp remained true to itself and put a matrix made using IGZO technology in its flagship. For those who are not familiar with the characteristic features of this technology, I will briefly remind them: this is reduced power consumption, the ability to configure a high scan (120 Hz in our case) and good black depth, adjacent to the general fading and the ability to fade in the sun.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Aquos xx3 got the best (at the time) IGZO screen - there is no such strong fading as before, and even under direct rays the display remains visible, and it is no longer so to look at images or videos that are saturated with color it hurts, but in this regard, OLED display technology remains an unattainable leader for IGZO technology.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

In the absence of a bright sun in January, you will have to look at the screen photo of the Aquos P1, similar to the Sharp model from Taiwan

The ability to turn the 120 Hz sweep on and off pleases - not everyone needs the super-smooth picture that it presents, but the increased frequency has a noticeable effect on charge consumption. Interestingly, the Sharp developers even provided the ability to enable this technology only for each individual application (for example, for games or video players), which will allow you to flexibly adjust the screen behavior and not worry so much about a strong battery drain.

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In general, the impressions from the Aquos xx3 screen are extremely positive - yes, there is no such riot of colors as on Samsung flagships, but not everyone is satisfied with this riot, and long battery life is much more important than colorful pictures in a mobile device, like me I think.

Communications

Here, everything is familiar to the Japanese flagship - xx3 has all the necessary communication modules and does not sin with any ill-conceivedness of any of them. Unless I would like support for Bluetooth 5.0, but do not forget about the year the device was released - in 2016, the specification of the new standard was just presented. Wi-Fi catches the signal perfectly, the smartphone itself can distribute the Internet, including at a frequency of 5 GHz, which is good news. The NFC module, unfortunately, does not support Mifare transport cards, but it does support Android Pay contactless payment.

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The cellular network catches steadily, the smartphone supports LTE networks, but, as always, only Band 3 is available from the Russian bands, so you need to carefully check if your operator is broadcasting on this frequency. In Rostov-on-Don, my device perfectly caught the 4G networks of the Danycom operator (MVNO based on Tele2) - it is on this frequency that Tele2 broadcasts in my city. In some places of the city, LTE was even received from Beeline, although I did not find information about the broadcast of this operator in the B3 band in Rostov. Access points of your operator (APN), as usual, must be added manually, this is a matter of one minute, although many have already forgotten how this is done. The quality of cellular communication does not cause any complaints, the earpiece and microphones perform their duties one hundred percent and do not make you want to shout into the phone even in a noisy city environment.

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Performance and Software

I didn't experience any major performance issues. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset is still capable of handling heavy apps and games at high graphics levels, especially when it comes to a FullHD screen. The heating of the smartphone occurs quite evenly throughout the "back" and does not reach any critical values ​​even after several hours of benchmarks in a row.

The only thing that gives away the age of the Aquos xx3 is the amount of RAM it has. Yes, 3 gigabytes of RAM is quite enough (again, given the FullHD resolution of the display), but even many flagships of the same year already had one gigabyte more, and, whatever one may say, there are not many of them. I myself use a smartphone with three "gig" as my permanent device, and for everyday use they are enough, but not when it comes to powerful multitasking - just like xx3, it can no longer keep a navigation application in memory at the same time, several Chrome tabs and, for example, Gmail, while playing online radio in the background. There is, of course, the question of optimizing the OS, with which Japanese smartphones are traditionally good, but still I would like to see a clean Android interface, as in the same Sharp Android One S3, and not the Aquos xx3 interface littered with the Japanese operator's software.< /p>

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A few words about the interface. Here is a typical Softbank design of the system, its proprietary Feel Home launcher with some settings (which, of course, can be replaced with any other) and the absence of the Russian language (partially cured by installing morelocale and third-party contacts, messages and launcher applications). All this splendor is based on Android 6.0, which can not be called fresh, but it is still quite relevant for everyday use. If Japanese engineers provided for updating the “OS” outside of Japan, then it would be possible to update xx3 on Android Nougat and, possibly, even on Oreo (if this update comes out), but without a Softbank SIM card and without being in Japan, update won't work.

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There are also "proprietary" software features, some of which are really useful, and some, by and large, only look interesting for the first couple of hours, and then you forget about them or turn them off altogether. Fortunately, the first is more than the second. By the way, the built-in Let’s Try! will show all the software features and teach you how to use them - it's quite convenient.

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In addition to the already mentioned ability to turn on the screen frequency of 120 Hz, there is a function that allows you to hide the screen from prying eyes - when you press a button in the notification curtain, a certain “mask” with patterns is superimposed on the screen (they can be selected in the settings), which allow you to look at the screen only at a right angle. This is in theory, but in practice, if an attacker or a neighbor in the subway really wants to look at your screen, then it will not be difficult for him - in fact, inscriptions and images can be seen even at an angle of about 30-35 degrees, which is already strong expands the field of view for others. But this "mask" looks funny, I even think that some girls will like it purely aesthetically and they will turn it on not for security reasons. Interestingly, it is not captured in the screenshots, so it seems that you just pasted a film with a pattern on the screen. I did not know this fact, and therefore, without a twinge of conscience, I “clicked” the screenshots with full confidence that it could be seen there, and when I realized it, I no longer had the device on hand. So I had to take pictures of the operation of this mode with Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta SH-01F.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Phone Zeta SH-01F

Screen resizing for better one-handed operation, glove mode, automatic and manual blue light filter, and swipe-to-screen screenshots from the top corners (the top edge is for easy saving screen, and if you slide your finger along the side edges, the screenshot will immediately open in the editing window, where you can write and draw something).

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The auto-scroll feature turned out to be very convenient for me - when you are in a browser or some reading application and scroll through a lot of text, the smartphone can turn on auto-scrolling.If you swipe evenly from top to bottom or from bottom to top, then a button will appear on the screen that turns on automatic scrolling - you point your finger at it without lifting it from the screen, and the smartphone starts automatically “pulling” the content in the appropriate direction, after which you can release your finger . It is possible to adjust the speed of this action, however, even at the highest speed, it will not scroll through the screen, flickering text. This is not a replacement for fast scrolling down or up, but rather a more convenient way to read. Many reader applications have such tools, but here it is implemented at the system level. By the way, if you enable smooth screen scanning in the same browser or reader, then reading long texts with automatic scrolling becomes even more pleasant, your eyes get a little less tired, and when scrolling through the pictures, they do not “twitch” by pixel, but seem to “float” across the screen.

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An interesting refinement is in the recent applications menu. By clicking on the appropriate button, you can make a quick note (including on a screenshot of the screen), open the clipboard with the last copied texts and set a “child lock”, at which the screen stops responding to pressing, and you can safely turn on the cartoon to the child and hand him a gadget - he won’t knock down any settings and he won’t dial a number from conditional Mexico. This mode is turned off very easily: by pressing the power button, so that the possibility of calling to Mexico still remains. There are also buttons to reduce the screen size and a magnifying glass for more convenient interaction with the gadget.

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Grip Magic sensors are responsible for several "chips" at once. The smartphone can recognize being in a pocket or bag, so you can customize the behavior of notifications - when you take it out of your pocket, it can remind you with vibration and sound about unread notifications and missed calls. Side sensors determine that the smartphone is taken in hand, and thus it can turn on the screen after holding the smartphone in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthese sensors (they are located very competently to recognize hands in the way that you usually grab a smartphone), and also not turn off the screen until then while hands are on them. You can also turn on the attenuation of the volume of the ringtone when picking up the smartphone - also a cool feature that allows you not to try to frantically press the volume button from an unexpected call during a meeting or meeting. The next feature is not related to the Grip Magic sensors: it allows you to switch between applications by twisting the smartphone on the vertical axis - this gesture is familiar to many owners of Motorola smartphones as a gesture to turn on the camera.

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Сенсор Grip Magic на передней панели также отвечает за распознавание чехла-книжки: при включенной соответствующей опции в меню смартфон будет включать уменьшенный интерфейс, созданный для окошка фирменного чехла, наподобие чехлов S View от Samsung и Quick Circle от LG.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

You can also configure the behavior of the Breathing Light LEDs in the menu, the name of these elements is “speaking”: a smartphone at night can simulate uniform “breathing” of LEDs, which is undoubtedly very beautiful, but has absolutely no payload, it’s good at least , this feature is disabled. There are also the usual notifications about various events, battery charge status and notifications from third-party applications, and, most importantly, a separate color can be configured for each (the Japanese never skimp on good multi-color indicators). It is worth noting that the location of the LEDs on xx3 is very good - it is simply impossible not to notice them from any position.

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Battery

The battery life of the Sharp Aquos xx3 does not break any records, but it cannot be called insufficient either. With a not very capacious 3000 mAh battery, good firmware optimization and an economical IGZO screen come into play in this smartphone. The first allows the smartphone, lying on the table, to lose no more than one percent of the charge in three hours with the wireless modules turned on, and the second saves energy consumption in the case of displaying static colors like e-ink displays.

You can safely count on two full days of using your smartphone in the absence of high loads. For example, with my constant use of city navigation, listening to online radio on Bluetooth headphones, reading articles for about an hour, watching videos for another half an hour or an hour and frequently using Telegram (about 6 hours of screen in total) by 8 pm is stable there was at least 20 percent of the charge left, which I consider an excellent indicator for the daily operation of a device with a powerful filling. A full charge from a regular adapter (2A) takes about 2 hours, from an adapter with QC 3.0 support - no more than an hour. The battery, according to fashion trends, is non-removable - you can’t get to it without disassembling the case.

Cameras

The main camera in the Aquos xx3, which looks great on paper, can in fact disappoint a person who is zealously fond of photography. No, it’s not really “horror-horror” here, the module takes excellent pictures in good light, and even in low light it frankly does not fall face down in the dirt, but still shooting dark scenes is not its forte. In the dark, it loses contrast and often adds digital noise, which is not that strong, but noticeable. Again, if you do not peer into every pixel and do not find fault with trifles, then everything is really good here, for family photo chronicles and for social networks this quality is enough for the eyes. Here, fast camera launch, autofocus and shutter release are more important, and the Aquos xx3 has no problems with this.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

What else is not lacking in the main camera of this device is in all kinds of camera modes, in which you can get confused out of habit. Auto, Manual, Slow-Mo, Time Lapse, Fireworks, Black & White, Silver Bypass or Bleach bypass, Focus Blur (which is further subdivided into five modes), reading two-dimensional codes and the "mirror" mode - most of these modes the user will try only once after buying a smartphone, and then safely forget about them. Apart from

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 retrospective review

One of the most popular smartphones from Sharp, the flagship of 2016, which had several names: Aquos xx3 506SH for the Softbank operator, AQUOS Zeta SH-04H for NTT Docomo, AQUOS Serie SHV34 for AU KDDI and Aquos P1 for the Taiwan market (not in last of all, it was thanks to this version that he gained popularity). Today we will consider the version for Softbank, which differs from all the others only in software and a set of colors. The only model from this entire series that differed from the others was the Aquos Serie SHV34, which did not have a fingerprint sensor, but instead acquired an iris scanner.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

It is hardly possible to call this model the best Android flagship of 2016, because it failed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S7 series, as well as with OnePlus 3 and a bunch of other devices. However, the device can be called one of the most balanced, which allows it to still remain relevant - as many people know, last year's successful and even the year before last flagships are always one of the best options for users who are undemanding to their characteristics. Today we will look at the hero of the review through the prism of two years (and this is already a lot by the standards of electronics), and also study all its pros and cons that are relevant for the modern user.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Delivery set

You don't have to be a jack-of-all-trades to notice how the range of accessories that come with a device has dwindled over the years. If even ten years ago a box with a smartphone sometimes almost caught up with a medium-sized TV in size, now the boxes have turned into a modest brick, in which the most necessary things are neatly and very tightly packed. However, in this matter, the Japanese, as always, are “ahead of the rest”: Japanese manufacturers no longer even put a USB cable to the current flagships, not to mention “luxury” headsets and charging cradles.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Complete set of the Nokia N8 smartphone from the distant 2010

In the case of Aquos xx3, minimalism showed itself in all its glory: the only thing that they bothered to put in it in the box, except for any waste paper, was a headset adapter that allows you to catch one-seg television, traditionally useless in any country, except Japan.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Appearance

The design of the smartphone can be described as "banal and boring." These are the glossy body and the metal frame around the perimeter that have already set the teeth on edge, the dullness of which is slightly diluted with inserts with LEDs on the sides (we will talk about them later) and the ability to choose more interesting body colors. Each version of this smartphone has a traditional white variant, which we will study, but in addition to it, different carriers have their own “exclusive” body colors. The Softbank version has a turquoise with a “dotted” structure and black-brown mother-of-pearl, Docomo has the same black-brown version plus aqua, and AU KDDI has a dark blue mother-of-pearl and soft pink options. The Taiwanese version didn't get special colors, all variants were transferred to it from AU KDDI.

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Sharp AQUOS Xx3 506SH (Softbank)

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Zeta SH-04H (NTT Docomo)

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Serie SHV34 (AU by KDDI)

We have a white device in our review - the most boring, but, importantly, the most non-staining of all those that I managed to hold in my hands. Fingerprints on it, of course, remain in the same volume as on the rest, but against a white background it is not so easy to see them as it happens with dark options.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The smartphone cannot be called huge, but still, the return to a more classic design “with frames” at the bottom and at the top did not benefit the dimensions of the device: the same Aquos Crystal X with a display 5.5 inches shorter in length by a whole centimeter ( although it is noticeably thicker), and Sharp's previous flagship for Softbank, Aquos xx2, with the same diagonal, is less than xx3 in length by the same centimeter and is equivalent to it in width and thickness.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Xx2

While one can't help but agree that width is more important than length for grip comfort, I would still like to see an increase in the display-to-body ratio in newer versions, rather than a decrease.

By the way, about "grip". Not being a fan of glossy cases, I want to thank Sharp engineers at least for the fact that the back wall is not made of “premium” glass, but of more practical plastic, which prevents the smartphone from slipping out of hands too easily or moving off a flat surface. Yes, plastic is resistant to scratches, and this is its serious disadvantage, but when using a smartphone with a glass cover, you will probably stick a film on it, but in the case of plastic, the presence of a protective film becomes rather a necessary condition. But this material does not have the fragility inherent in any glass (be it any generation), and therefore it better takes on the “blows of fate”.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The metal frame, by the way, is also quite durable. For a week of operation, not a single hint of a chip or even the slightest scratch from the keys and coins in the pocket appeared on it.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

On the front side, in addition to the display, there are the usual “organs”: at the top there is a earpiece, a front camera and a dark strip of proximity and light sensors, and at the bottom there is a lone sensor of the Grip Magic system.

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On the left side there are trays for a SIM card and a microSD memory card, as well as a pull-out tab with information about the manufacturer and IMEI of the device, together covered with a plug with a silicone seal. Below is another Grip Magic sensor and the Breathing Light LED indicator, which notifies of events in various colors, as well as simulating the “breathing” of the device (more on that below).

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To the right are all the physical buttons, which have a great, crisp feel and are great for blind groping. Just below the power/lock button is a fingerprint sensor, and only the Japanese god knows why Sharp decided not to combine them into one control, as Sony and many other companies did. On the other hand, the scanner works quite well, and in the settings you can activate the inclusion of the screen by touching the scanner, so the “loss” is not so big. In total, you can add up to 5 fingers to the system, you can add them in any position, but the scanner will only recognize them the way you put them for the first time, which is not very convenient. You can, of course, add one or two fingers in all possible combinations, this will increase the chances of recognizing one fingerprint, but trying to unlock a smartphone with one finger is not always a convenient task.

Under the fingerprint scanner are the same sensor and LED as on the left.

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The top side boasts an additional microphone and a standard headset jack (an endangered species!), while the bottom side boasts a speaker, a micro-USB connector, a main microphone and a hole for a strap and accessories, in the bowels of which the traditional Japanese output hole is hidden hot air. If we look at the charging socket, we can see that its outlines were designed for the new USB Type-C connector, but, apparently, something changed at the last moment, and an outdated asymmetric connector was inserted into the xx3, compensating for the difference in cutout sizes with a plastic insert.

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The back side of the Softbank version is a blank white (in our case, literally) sheet, on which there are no logos of either the operator, the manufacturer, or even the Aquos series. The only little thing that breaks this realm of minimalism is the Felica logo, under which the antenna for mobile payments of the system of the same name is hidden (it is combined with an NFC antenna). And at the very top of the back cover are the camera lens, LED flash and the fourth sensor of the system Magic Grip.

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Display

Sharp remained true to itself and put a matrix made using IGZO technology in its flagship. For those who are not familiar with the characteristic features of this technology, I will briefly remind them: this is reduced power consumption, the ability to configure a high scan (120 Hz in our case) and good black depth, adjacent to the general fading and the ability to fade in the sun.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Aquos xx3 got the best (at the time) IGZO screen - there is no such strong fading as before, and even under direct rays the display remains visible, and it is no longer so to look at images or videos that are saturated with color it hurts, but in this regard, OLED display technology remains an unattainable leader for IGZO technology.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

In the absence of a bright sun in January, you will have to look at the screen photo of the Aquos P1, similar to the Sharp model from Taiwan

The ability to turn the 120 Hz sweep on and off pleases - not everyone needs the super-smooth picture that it presents, but the increased frequency has a noticeable effect on charge consumption. Interestingly, the Sharp developers even provided the ability to enable this technology only for each individual application (for example, for games or video players), which will allow you to flexibly adjust the screen behavior and not worry so much about a strong battery drain.

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In general, the impressions from the Aquos xx3 screen are extremely positive - yes, there is no such riot of colors as on Samsung flagships, but not everyone is satisfied with this riot, and long battery life is much more important than colorful pictures in a mobile device, like me I think.

Communications

Here, everything is familiar to the Japanese flagship - xx3 has all the necessary communication modules and does not sin with any ill-conceivedness of any of them. Unless I would like support for Bluetooth 5.0, but do not forget about the year the device was released - in 2016, the specification of the new standard was just presented. Wi-Fi catches the signal perfectly, the smartphone itself can distribute the Internet, including at a frequency of 5 GHz, which is good news. The NFC module, unfortunately, does not support Mifare transport cards, but it does support Android Pay contactless payment.

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The cellular network catches steadily, the smartphone supports LTE networks, but, as always, only Band 3 is available from the Russian bands, so you need to carefully check if your operator is broadcasting on this frequency. In Rostov-on-Don, my device perfectly caught the 4G networks of the Danycom operator (MVNO based on Tele2) - it is on this frequency that Tele2 broadcasts in my city. In some places of the city, LTE was even received from Beeline, although I did not find information about the broadcast of this operator in the B3 band in Rostov. Access points of your operator (APN), as usual, must be added manually, this is a matter of one minute, although many have already forgotten how this is done. The quality of cellular communication does not cause any complaints, the earpiece and microphones perform their duties one hundred percent and do not make you want to shout into the phone even in a noisy city environment.

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Performance and Software

I didn't experience any major performance issues. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset is still capable of handling heavy apps and games at high graphics levels, especially when it comes to a FullHD screen. The heating of the smartphone occurs quite evenly throughout the "back" and does not reach any critical values ​​even after several hours of benchmarks in a row.

The only thing that gives away the age of the Aquos xx3 is the amount of RAM it has. Yes, 3 gigabytes of RAM is quite enough (again, given the FullHD resolution of the display), but even many flagships of the same year already had one gigabyte more, and, whatever one may say, there are not many of them. I myself use a smartphone with three "gig" as my permanent device, and for everyday use they are enough, but not when it comes to powerful multitasking - just like xx3, it can no longer keep a navigation application in memory at the same time, several Chrome tabs and, for example, Gmail, while playing online radio in the background. There is, of course, the question of optimizing the OS, with which Japanese smartphones are traditionally good, but still I would like to see a clean Android interface, as in the same Sharp Android One S3, and not the Aquos xx3 interface littered with the Japanese operator's software.< /p>

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A few words about the interface. Here is a typical Softbank design of the system, its proprietary Feel Home launcher with some settings (which, of course, can be replaced with any other) and the absence of the Russian language (partially cured by installing morelocale and third-party contacts, messages and launcher applications). All this splendor is based on Android 6.0, which can not be called fresh, but it is still quite relevant for everyday use. If Japanese engineers provided for updating the “OS” outside of Japan, then it would be possible to update xx3 on Android Nougat and, possibly, even on Oreo (if this update comes out), but without a Softbank SIM card and without being in Japan, update won't work.

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There are also "branded" software features, some of which are really useful, and some, by and large, only look interesting for the first couple of hours, and then you forget about them or turn them off altogether. Fortunately, the first is more than the second. By the way, the built-in Let’s Try! will show all the software features and teach you how to use them - it's quite convenient.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

In addition to the already mentioned ability to turn on the screen frequency of 120 Hz, there is a function that allows you to hide the screen from prying eyes - when you press a button in the notification curtain, a certain “mask” with patterns is superimposed on the screen (they can be selected in the settings), which allow you to look at the screen only at a right angle. This is in theory, but in practice, if an attacker or a neighbor in the subway really wants to look at your screen, then it will not be difficult for him - in fact, inscriptions and images can be seen even at an angle of about 30-35 degrees, which is already strong expands the field of view for others. But this "mask" looks funny, I even think that some girls will like it purely aesthetically and they will turn it on not for security reasons. Interestingly, it is not captured in the screenshots, so it seems that you just pasted a film with a pattern on the screen. I did not know this fact, and therefore, without a twinge of conscience, I “clicked” the screenshots with full confidence that it could be seen there, and when I realized it, I no longer had the device on hand. So I had to take pictures of the operation of this mode with Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta SH-01F.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Sharp AQUOS Phone Zeta SH-01F

Screen resizing for better one-handed operation, glove mode, automatic and manual blue light filter, and swipe-to-screen screenshots from the top corners (the top edge is for easy saving screen, and if you slide your finger along the side edges, the screenshot will immediately open in the editing window, where you can write and draw something).

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

The auto-scroll feature turned out to be very convenient for me - when you are in a browser or some reading application and scroll through a lot of text, the smartphone can turn on auto-scrolling.If you swipe evenly from top to bottom or from bottom to top, then a button will appear on the screen that turns on automatic scrolling - you point your finger at it without lifting it from the screen, and the smartphone starts automatically “pulling” the content in the appropriate direction, after which you can release your finger . It is possible to adjust the speed of this action, however, even at the highest speed, it will not scroll through the screen, flickering text. This is not a replacement for fast scrolling down or up, but rather a more convenient way to read. Many reader applications have such tools, but here it is implemented at the system level. By the way, if you enable smooth screen scanning in the same browser or reader, then reading long texts with automatic scrolling becomes even more pleasant, your eyes get a little less tired, and when scrolling through the pictures, they do not “twitch” by pixel, but seem to “float” across the screen.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

An interesting refinement is in the recent applications menu. By clicking on the appropriate button, you can make a quick note (including on a screenshot of the screen), open the clipboard with the last copied texts and set a “child lock”, at which the screen stops responding to pressing, and you can safely turn on the cartoon to the child and hand him a gadget - he won’t knock down any settings and he won’t dial a number from conditional Mexico. This mode is turned off very easily: by pressing the power button, so that the possibility of calling to Mexico still remains. There are also buttons to reduce the screen size and a magnifying glass for more convenient interaction with the gadget.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Grip Magic sensors are responsible for several "chips" at once. The smartphone can recognize being in a pocket or bag, so you can customize the behavior of notifications - when you take it out of your pocket, it can remind you with vibration and sound about unread notifications and missed calls. Side sensors determine that the smartphone is taken in hand, and thus it can turn on the screen after holding the smartphone in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthese sensors (they are located very competently to recognize hands in the way that you usually grab a smartphone), and also not turn off the screen until then while hands are on them. You can also turn on the attenuation of the volume of the ringtone when picking up the smartphone - also a cool feature that allows you not to try to frantically press the volume button from an unexpected call during a meeting or meeting. The next feature is not related to the Grip Magic sensors: it allows you to switch between applications by twisting the smartphone on the vertical axis - this gesture is familiar to many owners of Motorola smartphones as a gesture to turn on the camera.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 Sharp AQUOS Xx3

Battery

The battery life of the Sharp Aquos xx3 does not break any records, but it cannot be called insufficient either. With a not very capacious 3000 mAh battery, good firmware optimization and an economical IGZO screen come into play in this smartphone. The first allows the smartphone, lying on the table, to lose no more than one percent of the charge in three hours with the wireless modules turned on, and the second saves energy consumption in the case of displaying static colors like e-ink displays.

You can safely count on two full days of using your smartphone in the absence of high loads. For example, with my constant use of city navigation, listening to online radio on Bluetooth headphones, reading articles for about an hour, watching videos for another half an hour or an hour and frequently using Telegram (about 6 hours of screen in total) by 8 pm is stable there was at least 20 percent of the charge left, which I consider an excellent indicator for the daily operation of a device with a powerful filling. A full charge from a regular adapter (2A) takes about 2 hours, from an adapter with QC 3.0 support - no more than an hour. The battery, according to fashion trends, is non-removable - you can’t get to it without disassembling the case.

Cameras

The main camera in the Aquos xx3, which looks great on paper, can in fact disappoint a person who is zealously fond of photography. No, it’s not really “horror-horror” here, the module takes excellent pictures in good light, and even in low light it frankly does not fall face down in the dirt, but still shooting dark scenes is not its forte. In the dark, it loses contrast and often adds digital noise, which is not that strong, but noticeable. Again, if you do not peer into every pixel and do not find fault with trifles, then everything is really good here, for family photo chronicles and for social networks this quality is enough for the eyes. Here, fast camera launch, autofocus and shutter release are more important, and the Aquos xx3 has no problems with this.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3

What else is not lacking in the main camera of this device is in all kinds of camera modes, in which you can get confused out of habit. Auto, Manual, Slow-Mo, Time Lapse, Fireworks, Black & White, Silver Bypass or Bleach bypass, Focus Blur (which is further subdivided into five modes), reading two-dimensional codes and the "mirror" mode - most of these modes the user will try only once after buying a smartphone, and then safely forget about them. Apart from

Delivery set

You don't have to be a jack-of-all-trades to notice how the range of accessories that come with a device has dwindled over the years. If even ten years ago a box with a smartphone sometimes almost caught up with a medium-sized TV in size, now the boxes have turned into a modest brick, in which the most necessary things are neatly and very tightly packed. However, in this matter, the Japanese, as always, are “ahead of the rest”: Japanese manufacturers no longer even put a USB cable to the current flagships, not to mention “luxury” headsets and charging cradles.

Complete set of the Nokia N8 smartphone from the distant 2010

In the case of Aquos xx3, minimalism showed itself in all its glory: the only thing that they bothered to put in it in the box, except for any waste paper, was a headset adapter that allows you to catch one-seg television, traditionally useless in any country, except Japan.

Appearance

The design of the smartphone can be described as "banal and boring." This is a glossy case and a metal frame around the perimeter that have already set the teeth on edge, the dullness of which is slightly diluted with inserts with LEDs on the sides (more on them later) and the ability to choose more interesting body colors. Each version of this smartphone has a traditional white variant, which we will study, but in addition to it, different carriers have their own “exclusive” body colors. The Softbank version has a turquoise with a “dotted” structure and black-brown mother-of-pearl, Docomo has the same black-brown version plus aqua, and AU KDDI has a dark blue mother-of-pearl and soft pink options. The Taiwanese version didn't get special colors, all variants were transferred to it from AU KDDI.

Sharp AQUOS Xx3 506SH (Softbank)

Sharp AQUOS Zeta SH-04H (NTT Docomo)

Sharp AQUOS Serie SHV34 (AU by KDDI)

We have a white device in our review - the most boring, but, importantly, the most non-staining of all those that I managed to hold in my hands. Fingerprints on it, of course, remain in the same volume as on the rest, but against a white background it is not so easy to see them as it happens with dark options.

The smartphone cannot be called huge, but still, the return to a more classic design “with frames” at the bottom and at the top did not benefit the dimensions of the device: the same Aquos Crystal X with a display 5.5 inches shorter in length by a whole centimeter ( although it is noticeably thicker), and Sharp's previous flagship for Softbank, Aquos xx2, with the same diagonal, is less than xx3 in length by the same centimeter and is equivalent to it in width and thickness.

Sharp AQUOS Xx2

While one can't help but agree that width is more important than length for grip comfort, I would still like to see an increase in the display-to-body ratio in newer versions, rather than a decrease.

By the way, about "grip". Not being a fan of glossy cases, I want to thank Sharp engineers at least for the fact that the back wall is not made of “premium” glass, but of more practical plastic, which prevents the smartphone from slipping out of hands too easily or moving off a flat surface. Yes, plastic is resistant to scratches, and this is its serious disadvantage, but when using a smartphone with a glass cover, you will probably stick a film on it, but in the case of plastic, the presence of a protective film becomes rather a necessary condition. But this material does not have the fragility inherent in any glass (be it any generation), and therefore it better takes on the “blows of fate”.

The metal frame, by the way, is also quite durable. For a week of operation, not a single hint of a chip or even the slightest scratch from the keys and coins in the pocket appeared on it.

On the front side, in addition to the display, there are the usual “organs”: at the top there is a earpiece, a front camera and a dark strip of proximity and light sensors, and at the bottom there is a lone sensor of the Grip Magic system.

On the left side there are trays for a SIM card and a microSD memory card, as well as a pull-out tab with information about the manufacturer and IMEI of the device, together covered with a plug with a silicone seal. Below is another Grip Magic sensor and the Breathing Light LED indicator, which notifies of events in various colors, as well as simulating the “breathing” of the device (more on that below).

To the right are all the physical buttons, which have a great, crisp feel and are great for blind groping. Just below the power/lock button is a fingerprint sensor, and only the Japanese god knows why Sharp decided not to combine them into one control, as Sony and many other companies did. On the other hand, the scanner works quite well, and in the settings you can activate the inclusion of the screen by touching the scanner, so the “loss” is not so big. In total, you can add up to 5 fingers to the system, you can add them in any position, but the scanner will only recognize them the way you put them for the first time, which is not very convenient. You can, of course, add one or two fingers in all possible combinations, this will increase the chances of recognizing one fingerprint, but trying to unlock a smartphone with one finger is not always a convenient task.

Under the fingerprint scanner are the same sensor and LED as on the left.

The top side boasts an additional microphone and a standard headset jack (an endangered species!), while the bottom side boasts a speaker, a micro-USB connector, a main microphone and a hole for a strap and accessories, in the bowels of which the traditional Japanese output hole is hidden hot air. If we look at the charging socket, we can see that its outlines were designed for the new USB Type-C connector, but, apparently, something changed at the last moment, and an outdated asymmetric connector was inserted into the xx3, compensating for the difference in cutout sizes with a plastic insert.

The back side of the Softbank version is a blank white (in our case, literally) sheet, on which there are no logos of either the operator, the manufacturer, or even the Aquos series. The only little thing that breaks this realm of minimalism is the Felica logo, under which the antenna for mobile payments of the system of the same name is hidden (it is combined with an NFC antenna). And at the very top of the back cover are the camera lens, LED flash and the fourth sensor of the Magic Grip system.

The back side of the Softbank version is a blank white (in our case, literally) sheet, on which there are no logos of either the operator, the manufacturer, or even the Aquos series. The only little thing that breaks this realm of minimalism is the Felica logo, under which the antenna for mobile payments of the system of the same name is hidden (it is combined with an NFC antenna). And at the very top of the back cover there is a lens camera, LED flash and the fourth sensor of the Magic Grip system.

Display

Sharp remained true to itself and put a matrix made using IGZO technology in its flagship. For those who are not familiar with the characteristic features of this technology, I will briefly remind them: this is reduced power consumption, the ability to configure a high scan (120 Hz in our case) and good black depth, adjacent to the general fading and the ability to fade in the sun.

Aquos xx3 got the best (at the time) IGZO screen - there is no such strong fading as before, and even under direct rays the display remains visible, and it is no longer so to look at images or videos that are saturated with color it hurts, but in this regard, OLED display technology remains an unattainable leader for IGZO technology.

In the absence of a bright sun in January, you will have to look at the screen photo of the Aquos P1, similar to the Sharp model from Taiwan

The ability to turn the 120 Hz sweep on and off pleases - not everyone needs the super-smooth picture that it presents, but the increased frequency has a noticeable effect on charge consumption. Interestingly, the Sharp developers even provided the ability to enable this technology only for each individual application (for example, for games or video players), which will allow you to flexibly adjust the screen behavior and not worry so much about a strong battery drain.

In general, the impressions from the Aquos xx3 screen are extremely positive - yes, there is no such riot of colors as on Samsung flagships, but not everyone is satisfied with this riot, and long battery life is much more important than colorful pictures in a mobile device, like me I think.

Communications

Here, everything is familiar to the Japanese flagship - xx3 has all the necessary communication modules and does not sin with any ill-conceivedness of any of them. Unless I would like support for Bluetooth 5.0, but do not forget about the year the device was released - in 2016, the specification of the new standard was just presented. Wi-Fi catches the signal perfectly, the smartphone itself can distribute the Internet, including at a frequency of 5 GHz, which is good news. The NFC module, unfortunately, does not support Mifare transport cards, but it does support Android Pay contactless payment.

The cellular network catches steadily, the smartphone supports LTE networks, but, as always, only Band 3 is available from the Russian bands, so you need to carefully check if your operator is broadcasting on this frequency. In Rostov-on-Don, my device perfectly caught the 4G networks of the Danycom operator (MVNO based on Tele2) - it is on this frequency that Tele2 broadcasts in my city. In some places of the city, LTE was even received from Beeline, although I did not find information about the broadcast of this operator in the B3 band in Rostov. Access points of your operator (APN), as usual, must be added manually, this is a matter of one minute, although many have already forgotten how this is done. The quality of cellular communication does not cause any complaints, the earpiece and microphones perform their duties one hundred percent and do not make you want to shout into the phone even in a noisy city environment.

Performance and Software

I didn't experience any major performance issues. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset is still able to handle heavy apps and games at high graphics levels, especially when it comes to a FullHD screen. The heating of the smartphone occurs quite evenly throughout the "back" and does not reach any critical values ​​even after several hours of benchmarks in a row.

The only thing that gives away the age of the Aquos xx3 is the amount of RAM it has. Yes, 3 gigabytes of RAM is quite enough (again, given the FullHD resolution of the display), but even many flagships of the same year already had one gigabyte more, and, whatever one may say, there are not many of them. I myself use a smartphone with three "gig" as my permanent device, and for everyday use they are enough, but not when it comes to powerful multitasking - just like xx3, it can no longer keep a navigation application in memory at the same time, several Chrome tabs and, for example, Gmail, while playing online radio in the background. There is, of course, the question of optimizing the OS, with which Japanese smartphones are traditionally good, but still I would like to see a clean Android interface, as in the same Sharp Android One S3, and not the Aquos xx3 interface littered with the Japanese operator's software.< /p>

A few words about the interface. Here is a typical Softbank design of the system, its proprietary Feel Home launcher with some settings (which, of course, can be replaced with any other) and the absence of the Russian language (partially cured by installing morelocale and third-party contacts, messages and launcher applications). All this splendor is based on Android 6.0, which can not be called fresh, but it is still quite relevant for everyday use. If Japanese engineers provided for updating the “OS” outside of Japan, then it would be possible to update xx3 on Android Nougat and, possibly, even on Oreo (if this update comes out), but without a Softbank SIM card and without being in Japan, update won't work.

There are also "proprietary" software features, some of which are really useful, and some, by and large, only look interesting for the first couple of hours, and then you forget about them or turn them off altogether. Fortunately, the first is more than the second. By the way, the built-in Let’s Try! will show all the software features and teach you how to use them - it's quite convenient.

In addition to the already mentioned ability to turn on the screen frequency of 120 Hz, there is a function that allows you to hide the screen from prying eyes - when you press a button in the notification curtain, a certain “mask” with patterns is superimposed on the screen (they can be selected in the settings), which allow you to look at the screen only at a right angle. This is in theory, but in practice, if an attacker or a neighbor in the subway really wants to look at your screen, then it will not be difficult for him - in fact, inscriptions and images can be seen even at an angle of about 30-35 degrees, which is already strong expands the field of view for others. But this "mask" looks funny, I even think that some girls will like it purely aesthetically and they will turn it on not for security reasons. Interestingly, it is not captured in the screenshots, so it seems that you just pasted a film with a pattern on the screen. I did not know this fact, and therefore, without a twinge of conscience, I “clicked” the screenshots with full confidence that it could be seen there, and when I realized it, I no longer had the device on hand. So I had to take pictures of the operation of this mode with Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta SH-01F.

Sharp AQUOS Phone Zeta SH-01F

Screen resizing for better one-handed operation, glove mode, automatic and manual blue light filter, and swipe-to-screen screenshots from the top corners (the top edge is for easy saving screen, and if you slide your finger along the side edges, the screenshot will immediately open in the editing window, where you can write and draw something).

The auto-scroll feature turned out to be very convenient for me - when you are in a browser or some reading application and scroll through a lot of text, the smartphone can turn on auto-scrolling. If you swipe evenly from top to bottom or from bottom to top, then a button will appear on the screen that turns on automatic scrolling - you point your finger at it without lifting it from the screen, and the smartphone starts automatically “pulling” the content in the appropriate direction, after which you can release your finger . It is possible to adjust the speed of this action, however, even at the highest speed, it will not scroll through the screen, flickering text. This is not a replacement for fast scrolling down or up, but rather a more convenient way to read. Many reader applications have such tools, but here it is implemented at the system level. By the way, if you enable smooth screen scanning in the same browser or reader, then reading long texts with automatic scrolling becomes even more pleasant, your eyes get a little less tired, and when scrolling through the pictures, they do not “twitch” by pixel, but seem to “float” across the screen.

An interesting refinement is in the recent applications menu. By clicking on the appropriate button, you can make a quick note (including on a screenshot of the screen), open the clipboard with the last copied texts and set a “child lock”, at which the screen stops responding to pressing, and you can safely turn on the cartoon to the child and hand him a gadget - he won’t knock down any settings and he won’t dial a number from conditional Mexico. This mode is turned off very easily: by pressing the power button, so that the possibility of calling to Mexico still remains. There are also buttons to reduce the screen size and a magnifying glass for more convenient interaction with the gadget.

Grip Magic sensors are responsible for several "chips" at once. The smartphone can recognize being in a pocket or bag, so you can customize the behavior of notifications - when you take it out of your pocket, it can remind you with vibration and sound about unread notifications and missed calls. Side sensors determine that the smartphone is taken in hand, and thus it can turn on the screen after holding the smartphone in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthese sensors (they are located very competently to recognize hands in the way that you usually grab a smartphone), and also not turn off the screen until then while hands are on them. You can also turn on the attenuation of the volume of the ringtone when picking up the smartphone - also a cool feature that allows you not to try to frantically press the volume button from an unexpected call during a meeting or meeting. The next feature is not related to the Grip Magic sensors: it allows you to switch between applications by twisting the smartphone on the vertical axis - this gesture is familiar to many owners of Motorola smartphones as a gesture to turn on the camera.

The Grip Magic sensor on the front panel is also responsible for recognizing the book case: when the corresponding option is enabled in the menu, the smartphone will include a reduced interface created for the branded case window, similar to Samsung's S View and LG's Quick Circle cases.

You can also configure the behavior of the Breathing Light LEDs in the menu, the name of these elements is “speaking”: a smartphone at night can simulate uniform “breathing” of LEDs, which is undoubtedly very beautiful, but has absolutely no payload, it’s good at least , this feature is disabled. There are also the usual notifications about various events, battery charge status and notifications from third-party applications, and, most importantly, a separate color can be configured for each (the Japanese never skimp on good multi-color indicators). It is worth noting that the location of the LEDs on xx3 is very good - it is simply impossible not to notice them from any position.

Battery

The battery life of the Sharp Aquos xx3 does not break any records, but it cannot be called insufficient either. With a not very capacious 3000 mAh battery, good firmware optimization and an economical IGZO screen come into play in this smartphone. The first allows the smartphone, lying on the table, to lose no more than one percent of the charge in three hours with the wireless modules turned on, and the second saves energy consumption in the case of displaying static colors like e-ink displays.

You can safely count on two full days of using your smartphone in the absence of high loads. For example, with my constant use of city navigation, listening to online radio on Bluetooth headphones, reading articles for about an hour, watching videos for another half an hour or an hour and frequently using Telegram (about 6 hours of screen in total) by 8 pm is stable there was at least 20 percent of the charge left, which I consider an excellent indicator for the daily operation of a device with a powerful filling. A full charge from a regular adapter (2A) takes about 2 hours, from an adapter with QC 3.0 support - no more than an hour. The battery, according to fashion trends, is non-removable - you can’t get to it without disassembling the case.

Cameras

The main camera in the Aquos xx3, which looks great on paper, can in fact disappoint a person who is zealously fond of photography. No, it’s not really “horror-horror” here, the module takes excellent pictures in good light, and even in low light it frankly does not fall face down in the dirt, but still shooting dark scenes is not its forte. In the dark, it loses contrast and often adds digital noise, which is not that strong, but noticeable. Again, if you do not peer into every pixel and do not find fault with trifles, then everything is really good here, for family photo chronicles and for social networks this quality is enough for the eyes. Here, fast camera launch, autofocus and shutter release are more important, and the Aquos xx3 has no problems with this.

What else is not lacking in the main camera of this device is in all kinds of camera modes, in which you can get confused out of habit. Auto, Manual, Slow-Mo, Time Lapse, Fireworks, Black & White, Silver Bypass or Bleach bypass, Focus Blur (which is further subdivided into five modes), reading two-dimensional codes and the "mirror" mode - most of these modes the user will try only once after buying a smartphone, and then safely forget about them. Apart from