- TECH SPECS
- First impressions. Design
- As a conclusion
It turns out strange, the technology is already working with might and main almost all over the world, and it will not be possible to test it in your village for a long time. With the advent of the 5G era, manufacturers began to rapidly release terminals that support their respective networks. If we put aside all kinds of reasoning about the negative impact of 5G on the human body, we can only rejoice that it will not be possible to test it on ourselves for at least a couple of the next years. No, I’m not at all against technological progress, but quite the opposite. In fact, the only thing that remains for us to know about 5G at the moment is that it does not exist in Russia, and, accordingly, there is no point in bothering about this.
So in this sense, unfortunately, today’s review will not be considered complete. The new flagship smartphone from Sharp with the speaking index AQUOS R5G in our conditions supports anything but 5G, so I will not be able to demonstrate to you how lightning fast a movie is downloaded at maximum speed. Ideally, the peak download speed that the Japanese developers managed to demonstrate was 2,4 GB / sec. Fujitsu ARROWS 5G F-51A, which should go on sale in Japan at the end of July, this figure is 4,1 GB / s.
Sharp first revealed the new AQUOS R5G on February 17, 2020. At that time, the company’s management did not make plans to expand the sales market and focused exclusively on Japan. In early summer, the Japanese planned to launch 5G networks across the country to cover the never-ending Tokyo Olympics at the height of technology. The new AQUOS R5G is Sharp’s debut device to support the new communication standard. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, games had to be postponed to the next year, but this did not affect the plans of local operators to deploy next-generation networks. At the very least, in the current situation, the network was put into commercial operation, however, it is still not possible to catch the cherished speeds everywhere. Preference is given to large metropolitan areas, shopping centers, train stations and other places with high traffic. As representatives of the local big operator three (NTT Docomo, Softbank, Au) explain, the main reason for such a feeble start was all the same restrictions associated with the coronavirus.
In addition to 5G, Sharp has focused on the promising 8K video format, which, for obvious reasons, is more convenient when there is a “thicker” channel. Seeing the bright prospects in the joint development of 5G and 8K, the company’s management decided to combine these technologies into a single ecosystem.
You can officially buy AQUOS R5G from any of the three main operators in the country: NTT Docomo, Softbank and Au. I have a version from Au on my hands. By purchasing a phone from one of them, the owner is rigidly tied to the network of a particular operator. To use a smartphone paired with a Russian SIM card, you must first unlock it. As a result, we get a fully functional device without any restrictions. The smartphone is also available from the only virtual Japanese operator Rakuten Mobile. This version is SIM-free out of the box. Recently it became known that AQUOS R5G will be officially sold in Taiwan under the SH-R50 index. The novelty replaced the former flagship AQUOS R3.
Externally, smartphones are very similar. The first thing that catches your eye is the presence of cutouts in the display for the front camera and a fingerprint scanner. According to unconfirmed information, the next generation of Sharp’s flagship smartphones will get rid of the teardrop-shaped front camera, which to some extent may positively affect the perception of smartphones of this brand by those who are skeptical about such decisions.
Sharp designers offered three color options: Black Ray (black), Earth Blue (blue) and Aurora White (white). In the light, the whole trinity plays with rainbow tints that can cheer you up on a gloomy, bad day. Blue can rightfully be considered the most beautiful. Ironically, he was the first to fall into my hands. By the way, it is not clear what principle the Sharp marketers were guided by, but not all operators got phones of all colors.
Thus, AQUOS R5G SH-51A for NTT Docomo received only black and white, SHG01 for Au – blue and white, and only Softbank was more fortunate than others. It was he who got all three colors. By the way, the situation is exactly the same with the Japanese versions of the Sony XPERIA 1 ii and XPERIA 10 ii smartphones. Why? Unclear.
The new AQUOS R5G has got everything that almost any modern smartphone user can dream of: an up-to-date Qualcomm 865 5G processor, 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of user memory, a large and juicy 6,5 ″ IGZO screen with a resolution of 3168x1440p, a quad camera, a 3730 battery mAh battery and traditionally waterproof body. All this is controlled by the fresh OS Android 10 Q. Updates come over Wi-Fi.
Naturally, the Japanese could not help adding something that would attract the attention of a sophisticated user: as much as a billion colors, 120 Hz screen scanning, 8K video recording and even a total interface russification, which until recently was absent on all Sharp smartphones. However, the attentive reader will immediately find several missing and at the same time “incredibly important” functions that have long become familiar to many market leaders: a front-facing camera and a fingerprint scanner integrated into the screen, really convenient support for wireless charging, a slot for 2 SIM-cards. The list is endless. I guess the developers left them for later. However, there is a more rational explanation for this. I’ll tell you in the course of the review.
- Operating system: OS Android 10 Q, 100% Russification out of the box
- Standards support: GSM, 3G, LTE, 5G
- Processor: 2.8 GHz / 1.8 GHz, eight-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
- RAM: 12 GB
- ROM: 256GB
- Display: 6.5 ″, QuadHD +, 3168 × 1440 pix, Pro IGZO, 120 Hz scan, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 1 billion colors
- Main camera: quad, 120 ° wide-angle 48 MP, telephoto 12.2 MP, standard photo lens 12 MP, ToF depth sensor, CMOS, 8K video recording, OIS, autofocus, LED flash
- Front camera: 16.4MP, CMOS, 90 ° wide-angle lens
- Memory card support: microSDXC up to 1 TB
- The fingerprint scanner
- Face ID
- GPS / GLONASS
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.1
- USB Type-C
- Protection against water, moisture and dust (IPX5, IPX8, IP6X)
- Battery: Li-Ion, 3730 mAh
- Dimensions: 162x75x8.9 mm
- Weight: 189 g
As usual, the Japanese are “generous” with accessories. In the box with the phone, the future owner will find only a needle for the SIM tray and an external TV antenna, which in our conditions will not catch any signals, because is designed exclusively for working with digital 1-SEG TV, and there is no such thing anywhere except in Japan. All included instructions are in Japanese. You can download the English manual on the official website, and then only for the smartphone version from NTT Docomo (there are no differences from Au), although at the first acquaintance no difficulties arise. There will be no Russian instruction.
First impressions. Design
Agree, from a new gadget, which by default must be better than its predecessor, and even more so competitors, you always expect something revolutionary. If with last year’s AQUOS R3 I personally did not have such a feeling initially, then I pinned all my rosy hopes on AQUOS R5G. Waiting for the cherished novelty from Japan, I knew in advance what exactly I would have to put up with: the lack of high-speed 5G, the classic boring appearance and large dimensions. This is the first thing I thought about when I looked at the phone from someone else’s photos. Yes, someone will disagree with me and will be right. But I judge solely by my experience and my preferences, rejecting all critical arguments. I have always loved compact phones, so from the very beginning I did not consider this option as my main device. With a body width of 75 mm and a screen diagonal of 6,5 inches, everyday work with such a smartphone turns into torment for me personally. Often you only have to use one hand, and you can’t comfortably reach the top half of the screen with your thumb. Anything larger than 5,2 ″ is taboo for me.
On both sides, the phone is clad in tempered glass Corning Gorilla Glass 5, the body is surrounded by an aluminum frame around the perimeter. The combination of these materials has always scared me off by the low level of roughness of its surface. Every now and then the phone tends to slip out of the palm of your hand, so I would recommend that future owners get a suitable case.
Yes, perhaps I am forever stuck in the times when the Japanese, it seems to me, did aesthetically beautiful things, put their soul into them, or at least tried to somehow stand out from the rest. Now everyone, without exception, has forgotten about the design. As for me, for example, to call a red smartphone more beautiful than a black one is at least silly. Many have already sunk to the point that they are discussing the appropriateness and beauty of the location of the front camera.
If you remember, before the very fact of the presence of a front camera has already caused active battles among phone owners. After all, first of all, we perceive an object with our eyes, and do not rely on its technical characteristics. The expressiveness and originality of the exterior have always played a major role, and this is why marketers are called upon to set the bar for designers and engineers, and not vice versa. Their main task is to sell a delicious picture, decorating it with a languid (mysterious, sexy, famous, etc.) voiceover. Selling a technically perfect but ugly product isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here it is enough to determine the price that is tasty for most potential buyers, and prepare your pocket wider. It is the principle of the availability of maximum opportunities for a minimum of money that most manufacturers are now guided by, and only a few manage to implement an exception.
AQUOS R2 compact and AQUOS R5G
It is impossible to look at the facade of AQUOS R5G without sadness. This is the realm of despondency and hopelessness. On the one hand, the Japanese decided to show off, biting off a piece of the screen from the top and bottom, and on the other hand, it would seem that it is possible to come up with an original one with a phone, whose front side simply does not leave the slightest chance for the flight of design ideas. We have to go as far as possible. All modern smartphones, to some extent, are doomed to be one-sided. This, by the way, it seems to me, forced manufacturers to turn to history and revive the accumulated experience. As a result, the quasi-original Galaxy Fold and Motorola Razr were born.
Now I remember how many with a twisted face first looked at the Sharp AQUOS S2 with its cutout for the front camera. As the saying goes, “the hedgehog was injecting, crying, but continued to eat the cactus.” As a result, the phone became a hit. And all thanks to what? That’s right – a criminally low price and an optimal filling for 2017.
Sharp did not reinvent the wheel with square wheels, because round wheels are much more convenient. The proven technology has proven itself well, especially against the background of the fact that there are no less “bold” (
terrible) solutions in the form of through round and even oval holes. Further more.
The 16MP front-facing camera lens hasn’t undergone any significant changes, but the frame around it has been significantly truncated. Those who have never used phones with such solutions, after some time already get used to it and do not pay any attention to it. Where are you going?
A speaker is hidden behind the bars above the camera. In the hands-free mode, it forms a stereo pair with a speaker at the bottom end. In a normal telephone conversation, the interlocutor is heard perfectly, without noise and grinding. In speaker mode, the AQUOS R5G lacks bass. Medium and high frequencies are deliberately protruding. Compared with Huawei P20 Pro – the difference is heard from the first sounds. Here the Japanese traditionally lose to almost all manufacturers. However, there is a reasonable explanation for this. In Japan, it is considered bad form to make a loud statement in public. Usually quiet ringtones are used, even more often vibration.
A fingerprint scanner is displayed under the screen with a separate sensor. Why not hide it under the screen, as was done with the AQUOS zero2? Everything is simple, or rather complicated. IGZO technology in its current form does not allow such a function to be realized. Hence the extra elements on the facade, literally destroying the integrity of the picture with their eclecticism. AQUOS zero2 uses an OLED matrix.
The scanner works flawlessly, and, most importantly, it is fast, convenient and practical. Fortunately, Sharp made it a habit to install it on the front part, and not somewhere on the side, or even more so on the back panel.
At first glance, it might seem that the new AQUOS R5G has a conventional 6,5 ″ screen, which is no different from the rest. However, the most gusto is hidden inside the Pro IGZO matrix. It is worth noting the main advantage of this technology – the ability to stretch the autonomy of a smartphone to record levels. With such a diagonal with a resolution of 3168x1440p and a 3730 mAh battery, the phone can work in hard mode for up to 2 days, while competitors, increasing the size of the screens, need to increase the battery capacity in direct proportion, actually turning smartphones into tablets. As a result, there has been an increase in requests for compact smartphones. That is why the Sharp AQUOS R2 compact remains the main device for me.
In a separate line, the developers have highlighted a palette of 1 billion colors, which was first used in last year’s flagship AQUOS R3. Head-to-Head – 120 Hz (High Speed IGZO) without any restrictions on screen resolution, applications, season and skin color. Just like that – right out of the box. The main idea behind Sharp’s High Speed IGZO is as follows. The moment you slide your finger across the screen to change the contents of the desktop, the refresh rate reaches its peak (120 Hz). As soon as the picture becomes static, the frequency is reduced to 1 Hz, thereby reducing the consumption of battery power. Optionally, you can choose which applications will work in this mode and which will not. It is logical that the included 120 Hz will reduce the battery power, so if you still want to enjoy all the advantages of the R5G, I recommend taking the time to fine-tune the corresponding menu item.
As for the practical benefits, in many of my previous reviews, I have repeatedly spoken out about the difference between the standard 60 Hz and 120 Hz. In short, for me this is more marketing than a competitive advantage. You can notice a smoother course and a shorter residual trail from certain elements on the screen only when you quickly scroll through small texts or maps. High frequency games stand out. The range of them is not so great yet, and few of the owners of expensive smartphones play them. For the rest, your eye does not care at what speed your posts on Instagram or VKontakte are displayed. So many Sharp users turn off 120 Hz for the sake of autonomy literally on the second day after unpacking a new phone.
But to see the difference between the usual 16 million and a billion colors in the new AQUOS R5G was really interesting for me. In fact, Sharp has pioneered this trend with its smartphones. Prior to that, only monitors were granted this privilege. Only the question of the practical necessity of such a “golden billion” remained open. The simplest comparison could solve everything. For him, I chose the same average Huawei P20 Pro. The results are below. By the way, you can leave your thoughts on this in the comments. It will be nice to hear an outside opinion.
Pro (left), AQUOS R5G (right)
Now that you have personally tried to grasp the difference in quality, I dare express my own opinion. Yes, the difference is noticeable, but it can be seen only in details and, as for me, does not really affect the overall perception of the picture. Someone might say that Sharp would be worth comparing with the iPhone or Samsung, where they would literally tear the Japanese to shreds. Again, I just took the average Chinese, albeit the flagship of the past. Again, it is worth considering some external factors that can affect the purity of the experiment: the quality and amount of ambient light in a particular case, the focus of the camera on which the shooting was made. By the way, the HDR Enhancer function appeared for the first time in AQUOS R5G, which automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of the display based on the level and quality of ambient light, which could also affect the objective perception of the picture. However, the results speak for themselves.
Do I personally need this “tsvetoyard”? Not sure. I usually refer to such “revolutions” as marketing gimmicks, but this case does not quite fit this description. The result is clearly visible here, and at some points for someone it can become a determining factor.
Another indisputable advantage of the new AQUOS R5G is the presence of a standard 3,5 mm headphone jack. Sharp strongly adheres to this tradition, especially with regard to models exclusively for the Japanese market. the same AQUOS S2 and AQUOS S3, created with the participation of Foxconn, but never officially made it to Japan, were deprived of such a bonus.
On the left side, there is a tray for one SIM-card and a memory card. Officially, the phone is capable of handling cards up to 1 TB. Now with regard to the presence of a two-symbol version of AQUOS R5G. As I said, the new product will go on sale in Taiwan in the near future. It is likely that this version will include a slot for 2 SIM-cards. This is indicated by the previous experience of the company, when the Japanese single-symbol smartphones Sharp, officially arriving in Taiwan, “grew” the second slot.
At the bottom are the speaker, USB-C connector, microphone and indicator light. It is not clear why, but the location of the latter defies any logic. It is extremely rare to come across smartphones with this indicator on one of the ends. Now I remember how not long ago Sharp released devices with really informative and attractive displays. AQUOS Xx3, AQUOS Zeta SH-03G, AQUOS Compact SH-02H, SH-02G Disney Mobile, etc. immediately pop up in my memory. Magic Grip sensors that reacted differently to palm touch depending on the situation. It is not clear why, but the developers simply stopped paying any attention to this and began to complete new items with standard point LEDs. Sad, boring and offensive! And so I wanted a holiday.
Sharp SH-02G Disney Mobile
AQUOS Zeta SH-03G
AQUOS Compact SH-02H
On the right side there are plastic buttons for changing the volume and turning on, painted in the color of the case.
I flip my smartphone over and my gloomy mood changes radically. The rear wall is the only thing that the new AQUOS R5G can draw attention to. The glossy surface shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow, depending on the angle of inclination and the amount of light. The black and white versions behave similarly.
On the back are the camera, LED flash and microphone.
Sharp engineers paid special attention to this part of the phone, although there is something to complain about here as well. For the first time, a camera with four lenses was installed on smartphones of this brand: a wide-angle 48 MP 120 °, a telephoto 12.2 MP, a standard photo lens 12 MP and a ToF depth sensor. Personally, I’m sure, like most average housewives, it doesn’t matter how many lenses there are in the phone and what characteristics they have. The main thing is that the result is completely satisfactory to me.
4K video is recorded at 30 and 60 fps. Optical and digital stabilization are available. The maximum magnification is 16x.
The main feature of the AQUOS R5G camera is the ability to record wide-angle video in 8K format (7680x4320p) with the ability to automatically focus on a selected object (person or animal). The artificial intelligence system is responsible for the correct operation of this function, which, by the way, can continue to monitor the object even after it has temporarily disappeared from the screen. In addition, it also allows you to automatically zoom in / out the selected object without losing quality. Actually, this is why such a high resolution is needed. 8K video is recorded at 30 fps with a choice of optical stabilization mode.
Traditionally, in the process of recording video, it is possible to automatically take photos of the most ideal, according to AI, moments. Also, during the video recording process, the system can automatically create a demo video with a duration of 15 seconds, choosing, in its opinion, the most suitable segments from the main video. There are three options to choose from with different design and sound. Such short video sketches are ideal as trailers for large videos. The function is called AI Live Story Pro.
I liked the speed of development and the stability of autofocus. Sharp had obvious problems with this in the past.
The weak point of the Sharp AQUOS R5G camera is its almost total inability to work in the dark. This applies to both videos and photos. To get more or less high-quality night photos, the matrix needs as much light as possible. With minimal illumination, the captured videos and photos run the risk of getting indistinct, and sometimes even “sandy”, as a result of which all meaning of 8K is lost.
As a conclusion
The new Sharp AQUOS R5G is yet another Japanese compromise. On the one hand, it has excellent technical data and its really practical, and not marketing chips that could interest almost any owner of a modern smartphone. This is both an economical Pro IGZO display with its record autonomy, and an excellent camera with the ability to record 8K video. On the other hand, for absolutely incomprehensible reasons, it has a number of functional, seemingly obvious shortcomings in the form of a lack of a night mode, wireless charging and a slot for 2 SIM-cards.
With all the pros and cons, the official cost of AQUOS R5G can be a decisive factor for the majority. You can buy it in Japan in terms of rubles for a little less than 100 thousand. For many, this figure still remains a psychologically insurmountable barrier in satisfying their desires. What do you think of Sharp’s new flagship? Write in the comments.
Kyocera TORQUE G04 and Sharp AQUOS R5G
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