You need only look at recent phone launches to see that screen notches are very in right now. Apple, Google, LG, Nokia, and many others have fully embraced the space saving and visually contentious screen notch. If one is good, then maybe two would be even better? That’s the approach Sharp is taking with its latest smartphone, the Aquos R2 Compact. It has a notch at the top and at the bottom.
The Aquos R2 Compact is not a large phone like Galaxy Note 9 or iPhone XR. It’s a high-end phone in a small form factor that would appeal to a limited audience in most markets. However, Sharp intends to sell this device in the Japanese market where weird phones traditionally do much better. They still have Android flip phones over there, after all.
A dual notch phone could have some appeal as a way to balance out the natural asymmetry caused by chopping off part of the display at the top. However, the Aquos R2 Compact spoils that by having two different notch shapes. Sharp equipped the Aquos R2 Compact with a 5.2-inch 2280 x 1080 LCD. At the top, there’s a notch that surrounds the front-facing camera. This is a U-shaped cutout similar to the Essential Phone. At the bottom, the second notch surrounds the top half of the phone’s fingerprint sensor. This is a wide cutout like the iPhone, but it’s smaller than that.
The previous Aquos R Compact was a midrange phone with a Snapdragon 660. It had a single notch at the top and a big bezel at the bottom. The two phones have an almost identical footprint, though. Sharp has essentially extended the display downward to wrap around the fingerprint sensor.
The rest of the specs are high-end. There’s a Snapdragon 845, 4GB of RAM, a 22.6MP camera, and a 2,500mAh battery. That battery is a bit on the small side, but the 5.2-inch display won’t guzzle as much power as the 6-inch or larger displays on other phones. The Aquos R2 Compact runs Android 9 Pie out of the box, which is necessary for proper screen notch support.
Sharp plans to launch this phone early next year on Japanese carrier Softbank. A few Aquos phones have popped up in North America over the years, but it’s unlikely this will be one of them. It will sell for the equivalent of $370 in Japan, which is a competitive price for a Snapdragon 845 phone.
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