Sharp has not only decided to embrace the notch trend, but has also decided to expand its horizons in the notch-land, as the company has announced a smartphone with two notches. This phone’s name is the AQUOS R2 compact, and it was announced in Japan. This smartphone will be sold by SoftBank in Japan, and at first, it actually looks like the top front side of the Essential PH-1 and OnePlus 6 had a baby, as the upper portion of the phone’s front side looks like it was taken from the Essential PH-1, while the bottom side looks like the OnePlus 6 has been turned upside down, due to this phone’s display notch shapes. Its top notch is really small, like the one on the Essential PH-1, while the bottom one looks like the one OnePlus included on the OnePlus 6. So, the phone’s top notch is actually used to house the device’s front-facing camera, while the device’s earpiece is also included here, at the very top of that notch. As far as the bottom notch is concerned, well, you’ll see a fingerprint scanner down there. Not only did sharp include two notches here, but those two notches don’t look the same, as already mentioned, which makes the phone disproportional.
This phone seems to be made out of metal and glass, while it sports a single camera on the back, and next to that camera sits an LED flash. Sharp’s AQUOS branding is included on the back of the device as well, while you will notice that all the physical keys are located on the right-hand side of this phone, the volume up, volume down, and power / lock buttons. The device’s display sports rounded corners, and speaking of which, this smartphone features a 5.2-inch fullHD+ (2280 x 1080) IGZO display. This is actually both HDR10 and Dolby Vision compliant display, says the company. The Sharp AQUOS R2 compact is fueled by the Snapdragon 845 64-bit octa-core processor, and it comes with 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64GB of storage (expandable up to 512GB via a microSD card, class 10 max). A 2,500mAh battery is included in this phone as well, and it is not removable, in case you were wondering.
The Sharp AQUOS R2 compact is IPX5/8 waterproof, and IP6X dustproof. In addition to its fingerprint scanner, this phone also offers facial scanning, in case you prefer that form of security. A 22.6-megapixel camera (CMOS sensor, f/1.9 aperture, 22mm lens, OIS) is included on the back of the device, while an 8-megapixel (CMOS sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 23mm lens) can be found on the device’s front side. Bluetooth 5.0 is also included here, and the phone does support 4G LTE connectivity, but its bands are quite limited, as it is made for the Japanese market, at least this version is. The phone measures 131 x 64 x 9.3mm, while it weighs 135 grams. The phone comes in Black, White, and Green color variants, while it will ship with Android 9 Pie. The phone did get announced in Japan, but it will not ship until mid-January. This particular variant will be sold via SoftBank, but an unlocked model may become available as well.
Background: The Sharp AQUOS R compact, the Sharp AQUOS R2 compact’s predecessor, was announced back in October last year. That device actually resembled the AQUOS R2 compact quite a bit, as it sported the same top notch, but it did not include the bottom one. Instead of the bottom notch, the AQUOS R compact shipped with a rather thin bezel below the display, in order to accommodate the phone’s front-facing fingerprint scanner, amongst other things. Interestingly enough, the Sharp AQUOS R compact was fueled by the Snapdragon 660, which was a mid-range processor at that time, and it still is, while the AQUOS R2 compact comes with a flagship processor from Qualcomm. This seems to be a rather interesting choice by Sharp, as it seems like the company decided to move this phone from the mid-range segment to the premium segment of smartphones, without changing its naming scheme. The R compact lineup of smartphones is Sharp’s best known compact lineup of smartphones, thanks to this phone’s compact display, and thin bezels, the device is actually quite compact in the hand, more compact than its competition, that’s for sure.
Impact: The Sharp AQUOS R2 compact is the first smartphone with two notches that we’ve stumbled upon, despite the fact a software bug caused the Pixel 3 XL to grow an additional notch from time to time. Having said that, we will not see more than two notches on an Android smartphone, at least not anytime soon, as Google has made some restrictions in Android 9 Pie, it restricted the use of three or more notches, two is the absolute maximum manufacturers can use. It will be interesting to see if more OEMs will follow in Sharp’s footsteps and introduce phones with two notches, though it’s hard to believe the public will be very accepting of the Sharp AQUOS R2 compact, at when it comes to the US and Europe. Things may be different in Japan, however, there much be a reason behind this move by Sharp, as the company feels like at least some consumers are interested in smartphones with two notches, otherwise that phone would not be made official at all. This is also a very nice marketing stunt, as it will get attention from outside of Japan as well, maybe not positive attention, but people will surely notice it in the headlines, and along with it, Sharp’s brand in general. The Sharp AQUOS R2 compact probably won’t leave Japan, though there is a slim chance it may launch in China at some point as well. Sharp is now actually a Chinese company, and a number of its devices had been launched in China, so the AQUOS R2 compact may join them at some point in time, that will probably depend on how well it’s received after it becomes available in early 2019.