If you’ve avoided no contract, no commitment smartphones because you’re hooked on the low prices you can get when signing a two-year contract, take a look at the
Sharp AQUOS Crystal from Boost Mobile.
The Aquos Crystal doesn’t skimp on features, and at $149.99, you’d be hard pressed to find a comparable smartphone at this price without a long-term contract.
The Aquos Crystal runs the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and includes 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB of onboard storage. Plus, you can optionally add up to a 128 GB microSDXC card for additional storage. Amazon sells a SanDisk 32GB Ultra MicroSDXC card for only $24.99.
With its 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, the Aquos Crystal performs smoothly with quick processing of common tasks. Its onscreen keyboard has multi-function keys, and the touchscreen display shows just the right amount of sensitivity to make typing and maneuvering comfortable.
The Aquos Crystal measures 5.16″ by 2.64″ by .39″ and weighs just a hair under 5 ounces. Its relatively small size belies its large 5″ display. The device doesn’t waste much space on the bezel, creating what Sharp calls its “edgeless display.”
The phone’s outstanding display makes everything look fantastic, from clear, crisp text reading to vibrant, eye-popping video watching. Video watching is made even more pleasant with the Aquos Crystal’s Harman Kardon Clari-Fi and LiveStage enhanced sound.
Text is so sharp and easy to read that you could even enjoy Kindle books on the Aquos Crystal. Games like Words by Post and Words With Friends look amazing with colors that seem to pop from the screen.
The Aquos Crystal quickly downloads apps over Wi-Fi and installs them in a flash. Email setup was a breeze as well. You’ll find typing and reading emails a comfortable experience on the Aquos Crystal due to the large, high-quality display and generous amount of screen real estate. Due to the device’s small size, though, you also won’t have trouble carrying around the Aquos Crystal in a pants pocket, briefcase or purse.
You can leave your digital camera at home and take all of your photos and videos with the Aquos Crystal’s 8 MP rear-facing camera and HD camcorder. The phone takes excellent pictures and includes extras such as a frame advisor, night catch and shutter detection, plus flash and zoom capabilities. The Aquos Crystal also includes a basic 1.2 MP front-facing camera for taking selfies or using an app such as Google Hangouts for video chats.
The Aquos Crystal’s 8 GB of onboard storage should provide adequate space for apps and media files for quite some time, especially if you add a microSD card. However, I recommend backing up your precious memories with a free cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox, so you can automatically sync photos and videos with your computer and access them from all of your Internet-connected devices.
Battery life on the Aquos Crystal will really knock your socks off. The device will sit collecting emails on a fairly busy account for several days, and it takes significant usage to completely wear down the battery in a single day. I actually wasn’t able to do it. If you need a phone that really holds onto its charge, the Sharp Aquos Crystal is worth checking out for the battery alone.
Boost Mobile is offering special pricing through January 5, starting at $35 a month for 1 GB of full speed data and unlimited talk and text. For $45 a month, you can get unlimited voice and text plus 5 GB of full-speed data, and $55 a month will get you a cool 10 GB of full-speed data in addition to unlimited voice minutes and texts. You can also lay out a few extra bucks and opt for extras such as phone insurance, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and international calling.
Boost Mobile will even pay you to refer your friends. Once you’re on board with Boost Mobile, they’ll pay you a $25 bonus when you refer someone else who signs up for their service.
With Boost Mobile, you don’t get dinged with an extra fee for exceeding the monthly allowance, but they can slow down the speed significantly. Most people won’t go over their monthly data plan allotments, especially since many smartphone users take advantage of Wi-Fi whenever possible.
The Aquos Crystal uses Sprint’s 3G/4G LTE/Enhanced 4G LTE mobile network, and Sprint has invested heavily in expanding their 4G network over the past year or two. All mobile networks have some dead areas, though, so you’ll probably want to check with someone who spends a lot of time in the same places you do, who also has a phone on the Sprint network. This will give you some idea of what kind of coverage you can expect if you buy a Sprint network phone.
Another high-end feature of the Aquos Crystal is HD Voice, for better quality voice calls if you’re connected to someone else on the Sprint mobile network who also has an HD Voice capable phone.
With the Sharp Aquos Crystal, you get an exceptional phone with a low upfront cost plus super low monthly nut starting at $35.