TIME Smartphones

Sprint Has This Year’s Most Unique Phone, and It’s Cheap

Sprint

Forget curved displays and head-tracking cameras. The award for this year’s most interesting phone goes to the Sharp Aquos Crystal, which has practically no bezel around the sides or top of the display.

We’ve seen bezels get narrower over the years — the LG G3′s side bezels are particularly slim — but no one’s managed to remove them completely until now. With the exception of the extra-large chin on the bottom of handset, the Aquos Crystal is nearly all screen.

And oddly enough, Sprint and Sharp aren’t using this neat trick to justify jacked up prices. The Aquos Crystal is a mid-range device, and it’s priced like one at $240 off-contract.

That price gets you a 5-inch, 720 display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, a microSD card slot, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. (Sharp also makes a high-end Aquos Crystal with a larger display and faster processor, but there’s no word on a U.S. launch.)

Removing the bezels does have a couple of inherent drawbacks. Because there’s no room above the screen for a front-facing camera, Sharp had to put it in an awkward spot on the bottom bezel. The lack of top bezel also precludes a proximity sensor to detect when you’re holding the phone up to your ear. As The Verge reports, the phone’s display simply locks up when you’re on a call.

In other words, going bezel-free might not be the course of action for most handset makers — at least not until they can solve the above issues (or until people stop taking selfies). But as a one-off way to stand out from dozens of similar-looking phones, the Aquos Crystal will be tough to beat.

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