Japanese electronics firm Sharpis re-entering the local phone market here after an absence over the past two years, and is aiming to penetrate the mid-tier market for a start.
The mid-range Sharp Z2 is one of the two phones Sharp has launched to mark its return here.
While it falls just shy of the high-end smartphone category, it can pass off as one in terms of looks and what's under the hood.
The Z2's unibody aluminium back, which is also where the fingerprint sensor is located, gives it a nice, premium feel when you are holding it in hand.
This look carries over to the front, with a near bezel-less 5.5-inch full-HD screen.
The Z2 is one of the few phones in the local market to pack 10 processing cores in its body - a step up from the quad- and even octa-core phones common in the market.
PROCESSOR: Deca-Core MT6797 (2.3GHz dual-core, 2.0GHz quad-core, 1.4GHz quad-core)
DISPLAY: 5.5-inch, full-HD display, 1,080 x 1,920 pixels, 401 PPI pixel density
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
CAMERA: 16 MP (rear); 8MP, f/1.8 (front)
MEMORY: 32GB (microSD expandable up to 128GB), 4GB RAM
BATTERY: Non-removable 3,000 mAh
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
In simplest terms, the more cores there are, the more efficiently work is divided so that apps run faster and smoother, along with lower power consumption.
Even so, the Z2 doesn't feel much zippier than others in the market. Its performance is solid with no noticeable stutters or slowdown, but doesn't match up in terms of smoothness to high-end phones.
With that said, the Z2's performance is respectable for a $399 phone. Its camera is decent as well, shooting clear and passable pictures while outdoors in natural lighting.
However, its exposure is finicky especially in low-lighting conditions. The camera tends to default towards slightly underexposing the image when first fired up in low light. But I found that when I tapped to re-focus, the camera tends to compensate too aggressively and ends up overexposing the image and blowing out highlights.
The Z2's battery life is decent, as its 3,000mAh battery packs enough juice to last through a day with regular use.
•Verdict: The Z2 is a reasonably priced smartphone, with a premium body that houses mid-range specs.