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Christmas Gift Guide

The Sharp Aquos Crystal for Boost Mobile

Compelling, bezel-free design

Decent 8-megapixel shooter

A pocketable and comfortable size

Front-facing camera below the display

Quad-core CPU and embedded battery inside

A pumped-up audio experience

A design to turn heads

Available prepaid in the US from Boost Mobile for $150 (which converts to about £93 and AU$171) or free with Sprint after users sign a two-year contract, the Sharp Aquos Crystal is a unique Android 4.4 handset with an edge-to-edge display.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The device's touchscreen runs all the way to the edge of the phone, which adds a futuristic look to the handset. Other than its lack of a bezel though, the 5-inch display is pretty standard with its 720 pixel resolution and 293ppi.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

On the back there’s an 8-megapixel camera that’s capable of shooting 1080p full HD video.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Crystal measures 5.17 inches tall, 2.64 inches wide and 0.4-inch thick, and it weighs 4.97 ounces. Compared to the big-screen devices of today, its size is extremely pocketable. One-handed navigation is easy to manage, and I had no problem sliding it into front jean pockets.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

At more than a half an inch thick, the phone's chin is deep, and it houses the 1.2-megapixel camera and microphone. (To take a selfie, a small dialogue pops up that instructs you to flip the handset upside down -- helpful if you want to avoid an unsightly double-chin.) There also isn't an in-ear speaker, which is usually located above the display. Instead, the Crystal uses audio wave technology.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The handset is also powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and an embedded 2,040mAh battery, which yields a reported talk time of up to 13 hours.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

In addition to running Android 4.4.2, the phone has 8GB of internal memory, 1.5GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of external storage support. It's also outfitted with Harman Kardon technology, which promises to boost a user's audio experience.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Sharp may not be a big player in the mobile industry, with its smartphone releases coming few and far between. But with its Aquos Crystal handset, it has proved that it can make a stylish and reliable device that can compete with the midrange phones of today. Click here for more CNET reviews for Sharp phones.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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