More often than not, mid-range and low-end Android phones are haunted by poor software. The hardware on the phones is average to begin with, and adding an extra layer of custom software only serves to slow down the device even more. Fortunately, this is not so with the Sharp Aquos Crystal. In a market full of similarly-specced phones with oodles of custom software, the barebones stock Android approach on the Sharp Aquos Crystal is a refreshing return to the basics.
Sharp took a wise move in holding off on custom software. The company realized that software isn’t its strong suit, and so the Sharp Aquos Crystal was outfitted with a mostly stock version of Android 4.4 KitKat. The effects of this move are felt throughout the OS, and it’s a boon to both the appearance and performance of the phone.
Running stock Android allows the Sharp Aquos Crystal to breeze through any ordinary task. It doesn’t have to deal with extra animations or programs running in the background that could slow it down. Navigating through the OS is quick and easy and often stutters less than higher-end Android devices with custom UIs. All in all, the toned-down software provides a serious boost to performance.
The appearance of the software is also pleasant and clean. While Android 4.4 KitKat may be a version behind now, it’s still a clean and modern-looking OS and it’s a major step-up from the likely unpleasant custom software alternative. It also makes the Aquos Crystal easy to use for those coming from any other Android phone, as it brings in the basic framework of Android’s design.
The Aquos Crystal’s software isn’t entirely stock, as Sharp did throw in a few customizations. The camera app, for example, is customized to include some extra features from Sharp. The clock app is the same way. Neither of them are large changes, though, and they don’t detract from the overarching experience. The Sharp Aquos Crystal also has a few bloatware applications coming from Sprint. Fortunately, the majority of these can be uninstalled if they’re not to your taste.
As a whole, the software on the Sharp Aquos Crystal is simple and sparse, and that’s a good thing. When competitors are loading their devices with custom software, Sharp is taking the opposite approach and keeping the software to a minimum in order to optimize performance and maintain a clean appearance. The approach is to be applauded, and we can’t knock the Sharp Aquos Crystal on software.