A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Sharp Aquos C10
Tests

Published:
By: Jolanta Szczepaniak

Sharp fights for the middle shelf

C10 is the first model from Sharp that has come to me since the time when the manufacturer announced that it officially enters European markets. This is a model that can be ascribed to the middle shelf. Is it worthy of our interest?


In the last year’s August SHARP launched its first smartphones – three models from different price shelves, which the Japanese manufacturer officially presented during IFA convention in Berlin: models B10, C10 andD10 AQUOS. Our office received the middle one, which is the proposition from the middle-price shelf and it costs 300 euro.


Contents



Packaging and accessories

In the package, along with the smartphone, we can find a rather typical set of accessories. There is a charger, flat USB-USB-C cable, some papers, needle for opening the SIM tray… and a cover for the phone made out of a transparent plastic. Some sources say that in the set we can find an adapter from USB-C to a 3.5mm minijack – but the one that I received along with C10 did not have this element.


Housing and display

In the AQUOS C10 model the Japanese manufacturer decided to use the FreeForm technology in order to achieve the thinnest bezel around the display – the 5.5-inch LCD display takes up 87.5% of the front panel’s surface. It is a pity that the aesthetics is distorted by a big notch, and the lower bezel is pretty solid as well. On the other hand the device is handy, rather compact and light – we can even use it with one hand. The front panel is covered in glass, around the device we have a metal frame with antennas’ bars, while the back is a plastic finished with a high polish (and susceptible to fingerprints and dirt). I will add that the smartphone does not look like a model that costs around 300 euro – its dimensions, lightness and plastic finish makes it look like C10 could have been a cheaper device.


The 5.5-inch IGZO display has a 2040x1080 pixels resolution. The pixel density is on the level of 420 ppi, and the display is relatively not stretched (for today’s standards) – its ratio is 17:9. This is an unusual format in the world of smartphones, that is why the device is slightly wider and shorter than modern phones. The display takes 87.5% of the front panel. Its brightness is high enough to be used in the full sunlight (though it is slightly difficult to use it due to reflexes), there are no reasons to complain about the sharpness, contrast and colour. It is worth adding that in settings we can change the display mode (standard or dynamic), and the colours temperature (cold, natural and warm). It is worth adding that upper corners are not arced, but cut down – the curvature is generated by the software.


Above the display – but basically in its vicinity – there is the front camera placed in a rather large and an unattractive notch, similar to Essential Phone or a few new models from Wiko. Slightly higher, basically on the edge of connecting the display and the housing, there is a cavity of the receiver – it gathers dirt easily. There is the notifications LED, placed into the bezel above the display, a bit closer to the right corner of the phone. Below the display we can see a large bezel, on which the manufacturer has placed its logo and an oblong fingerprint scanner. It works fast and precise, contrary to the second security measure, that is the facial recognition, which simply works slow. For some the presence of the scanner at the front can be an advantage, however due to the fact that it influences the thickness of the lower frame it would have been better if it had been placed on the lower panel. The front panel is covered by a layer of glass, but we do not know its brand – this is not Gorilla Glass 3, as in the D10 model. I will add that the smartphone can be easily used while wearing glasses with a polarizing filter. But only in the vertical orientation, in the horizontal one the display is too dark and we cannot see the displayed image.


The backs of the device are in the black colour. They are made out of a plastic and they have a shiny finish, which attracts all dirt and fingerprints. Besides this there is a dual camera on a module that stands out a bit, accompanied by the additional microphone and a dual-tone LED flash. Unfortunately, the border between the plastic backs and the metal frame is not smooth or unnoticeable – on the contrary, we can clearly see and feel the cavity, in which the dirt gathers. After putting in the plastic cover from the set the problem with keeping the housing clean and the standing out camera disappears.


On the top edge we will not find any sockets, connectors or switches. On the right side of the smartphone there are volume control and power/lock buttons. Buttons are easily noticeable, clickable and placed on such a height that it is easy to use them with a thumb, while holding the phone in our hand. On the lower edge the central place is occupied by the USB-C socket, surrounded by two rows of holes – the left one hides the microphone, and the right the phone’s external speaker. On the left side there is the tray for placing two SIM cards and a memory card.


System and applications

C10 works under Android 8.0. This is an almost pure version of the system, the Smile UX add-on does not modify the Google’s software intensively. It introduces small changes in the settings menu or in the phone’s app (for example an icon that does not resemble a receiver but rather contacts) and adds a few utility apps (like a file's manager or a notepad), but we will not find any preinstalled bloatware, which is an advantage. However, we cannot commend the security – the last update is dated on August the 1st 2018.


The software looks a bit underdeveloped in some places, for example we can choose to navigate through the system using the main button (that is the fingerprint scanner). This is a great function, thanks to which we can enlarge the work's area by closing the bar with system buttons – unfortunately in C10 despite using this function, the bar remains on the screen. In addition, the main desktop area looks to be poorly used, for example due to the thick notch the notifications bar is rather thick, that is why there is a lot of space between this and first elements of the menu. Besides this I do not have any major concerns towards the software. Sharp uses Google’s set and does not garbage the software with apps from external manufacturers. It adds a few functions that are supposed to make using the interface easier, like the gestures support (as Somatosensory motion in the Special settings tab), adjusting the image parameters, blue light filter, facial recognition or the possibility to run selected apps by using the fingerprint scanner.


Sound

The single speaker placed on the lower edge is responsible for playing sound, but it does not offer a decent quality. It has a good volume level, but it totally lacks any bass, and with the higher volume some unpleasant buzzing appears. It will not be a problem when you would like to watch a movie, TV series or to play while staying at home – but it will not please its users in any other usage. Especially that there is no simple way to attach earphones – the phone lacks a universal jack. Instead, we have a USB-C socket – supposedly there is an adapter from USB-C to a 3.5mm minijack, but I did not found it in the received package.

For playing music we can use Play Music from Google – the manufacturer did not put an effort to add its own solution, there are no advanced sound settings or an FM radio either.


Photos and video

The main camera consists of two cameras: 12-megapixel with an f/1.75 aperture brightness and 8-megapixel with f/2.0 brightness. The second one is used for the depth measurement. I do not have any major concerns towards photos in good lighting – for the middle-price shelf photos are bright and sharp enough, with a decent focus and dynamics. However, it is worth to take the same shot two or three times, because it happened that in the preview it looked good, but the final effect, after browsing through the gallery, was simply out of focus.

In weaker lighting and at night photos are not that good. Colours are nicely represented, but I must complain about the low level of details, flairs and reflections in photos with strong light sources. It works poorly with close ups and has a tendency to overexpose brighter parts and underexpose darker ones.

The camera offers the bokeh effect (we can control the blurring level) and the background blurring for portraits, in addition we have panoramas and the professional mode, in which we can manually set the photo’s parameters, like the white balance, ISO, shutter's speed, saturation and contrast. Photos are taken in the full screen mode, that is 17:9 ratio by default – we can select a different one in settings, for example 1:1 or a typical 4:3.


Here are photography results:


The front camera has an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture. Fixed focus is responsible for the sharpness of photos. And here are results of its work:


The video can be recorded in the maximum resolution of Ultra HD with 30 frames per second. The smooth change in exposition, appropriate focus and the good level of details in recordings are advantages. Here are video recording results:

Sharp C10 - sample videos (Full HD)
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube
Sharp C10 - sample videos (Ultra HD)
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube

Communication

From physical sockets Sharp C10 has USB 2.0 type C with OTG. It can be used as a socket for connecting earphones as well – unfortunately, C10 does not have a minijack. The smartphone can support microSD cards of a maximum capacity of 128GB, but it shares the slot with the SIM cards socket. The drive can only be used as a memory, we cannot install any apps on it.

Wireless communication options cover Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, as well as the WLAN module in the 802.11 a/b/g/n/AC standard, which works in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels. From mobile networks it supports 2G, 3G and 4G (including VoLTE). There is the navigation module as well, which quickly and ably connects with satellites when being outside of a building, and it’s indications are precise enough both for walking and driving navigation. The smartphone worked without any problems with Bluetooth earphones and a fitness band.

Voice calls

The sound quality of our interlocutors can only be described as average – the loudness is appropriate, bit the speaker moves towards higher tones, which is why the sound is not always pleasant. On the other hand, the microphone nicely catches the sound, and my interlocutors heard me loud and clear. The smartphone supports two SIM cards and we can choose the default card for calls or data transfer. However, there is not any built-in function of recording calls.


Memory and efficiency

The smartphone comes with 64GB of internal memory, out of which the user is left with around 50GB after running the phone for the first time. There is a memory card's socket as well – the slot is shared with one SIM card's slot. The maximum capacity is 128 GB.

Inside the device we can find the Snapdragon 630 CPU, supported by 4GB of RAM and Adreno 508 GPU. C10 does its job in everyday tasks and it’s hardware ensures a smooth work of the interface. Applications open without a delay, browsing longer pages in the browser or working on a few tabs is without any problems. The device reaches its peak capacity when gaming – Adreno 508 is a mediocre hardware for more demanding titles. The gameplay is not always satisfactory, animations take a long time to load, games lose frames as well. In addition, the device can heat up noticeably, reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Casual gamers can be satisfied with Sharp’s efficiency, but if you like to play in more demanding titles you need to buy other phone. For example Pocophone F1, which costs slightly more but ensures a much higher efficiency.


Battery

According to the manufacturer, the 2700 mAh capacity is supposed to ensure making calls for 19 hours. I did not manage to check this time, but in an everyday usage the battery works rather average. The battery lasts for around 1.5 day with a normal usage. While testing with a constant video from YouTube with the screen brightness set to 50%, Sharp achieved slightly more than eight hours – this is not impressive.

Charging the cell takes less than two hours. After 30 minutes the charge level shows around 30%, after an hour there is 62%. In order to achieve 100% the battery needs almost another hour – of course when using the charger from the set.

  • lifespan with the display on (YouTube, 1 SIM card, active Wi-Fi module, 50% screen brightness) - 8 hours and 13 minutes,
  • an hour of video streaming (Chrome, 1 SIM card, active Wi-Fi module, 50% screen brightness) - 13-14% of battery lost,
  • an hour of streaming videos from the phone’s memory (airplane mode, 50% screen brightness VLC app) - 12-13%,
  • half an hour of using online navigation - 8%,
  • half an hour of playing Real Racing 3 - 10%,
  • PC Mark battery test results – 8 hours and 3 minutes.


Summary

Sharp, popular in its home country of Japan, tries to conquer the European market. But in my opinion it can be difficult to achieve this with the C10 model. On the one hand it has unusual dimensions and is really handy, but on the other it was made out of materials that do not befit the middle-price shelf. It has a good display, but it is ruined by the notch. It offers fast communication modules, but when it comes to the efficiency it stays behind in its price shelf. What can we choose instead of it? Maybe Honor View 10, LG V30, or maybe Xiaomi Mi A2, which is much cheaper and has an updated system? There are a lot of choices and it is difficult to protect Sharp as a potential candidate…


Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages:

  • handy shape of the device
  • display’s parameters
  • usage of two SIM cards
  • support for memory drives
  • notifications LED
  • etui in the set
  • fast WLAN module
  • NFC
  • USB type C
  • a rather clean version of Android

Disadvantages

  • quality of photos in weaker lighting
  • notch, which disfigures the display
  • shiny, plastic housing
  • lack of a minijack
  • average lifespans
  • average speaker
  • old security updates
  • too expensive

Source: GSMchoice.com; viewed: 219 times.


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By: Jolanta Szczepaniak

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