Although its jet-black glossy finish gives the handset a degree of aesthetic prestige, it also proves to be a haven for grubby fingerprints. Compared to other sliders, it's also a little on the bulky side.
Capable of HSDPA internet speeds, the Vodafone handset is embedded with Google Maps, Radio DJ and Mobile TV. There's also a two-megapixel camera, as well as a host of PIM tools including a voice recorder, expenses memo and a world clock.
Menu icons and content is clearly visible on the large 2.2-inch screen, while the key buttons are large enough that you won't have to worry about accidental key nudges.
The HSDPA internet speeds allows you to enjoy the range of services on offer, including Google Maps, Mobile TV and the innovative Radio DJ. The external camera is nothing more than average, while the front facing camera is positively poor.
With 260 minutes' talktime and 320 hours' standby, the Sharp 880H has an average battery life.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:52:01 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Thanks to its HSDPA capabilities, the 880SH provides music streaming services, Google Maps and Mobile TV.
The camera experience is overwhelmingly disappointing, and the front-facing camera seems unable to take a photo without blurring the image.
It has been a while since Japanese manufacturer Sharp produced a mobile phone, so when the Sharp 880SH arrived on our desk we were unsure what to expect. Despite being readily available on Vodafone in other European countries, Vodafone UK is yet to commit. The smart money is on Vodafone snapping up the device sooner or later. Besides, Sharp phones (as well as David Beckham ads) helped to launch Vodafone’s Live! internet portal five or six years ago, so there’s history between these two.
The Sharp 880SH is a slider phone with a jet-black glossy body with metallic trimming and, at first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were looking at a Nokia or Samsung.
The first test with all slider phones is to see how secure it feels. While the sliding mechanism on the 880SH provides a satisfying clunk as you move it back and forth, we’re sad to say that the top half of the handset feels a little flimsy.
Glossy handsets which attract grubby fingerprints are a pet hate of ours. Unfortunately, the 880SH is one of the worst offenders. Both the screen and fascia are a smudge haven and when we tried to wipe the handset clean we simply made the problem worse.
That said, there’s a lot that’s good about the 880SH. Although it’s a tad on the chunky side, Sharp has managed to cram in a generous 2.2-inch screen that’s a real blessing when accessing the internet or viewing videos. Beneath the screen there is an array of buttons – two soft keys, a navigation pad complete with a central key, call and reject buttons, as well as a useful multimedia key. Press this button when in idle mode and you’ll be taken to a list of all your multimedia functions, including the music player, FM radio, Mobile TV and Radio DJ.
Frustratingly, when using the FM radio no other applications can be used, so if you want to use the camera, for example, you have to switch off the radio first. Also, the radio won’t play when the battery is low, and we found we received some static when we played the radio while charging the handset.
The 880SH comes with subscription-based services Mobile TV and Radio DJ. The cost of each depends on the package you choose and both are dependent on service provider.
As with most things, the more you pay, the more you get. While Mobile TV allows you to access live TV from Sky Sports to news channels, Radio DJ allows you to stream music to your handset over the internet, and gives you the option to buy the music afterwards. The neat idea is that you rate the tracks you hear, and soon only tracks that suit your personal music tastes will be streamed to your device. It’s a great idea in theory, although it may take some time for you to be completely happy with the music streamed to your phone. In the short time we had the phone, 50% of what we were receiving we can only describe as complete tosh.
With built-in HSDPA, the Sharp 880SH is no slouch when it comes to browsing the web. In the corner of the screen is a small icon indicating what speed of internet browsing is available. When you’re operating on 3G speed, this icon will display in the corner, and when you’re cruising along with HSDPA the 3G+ icon will display. It’s a thoughtful touch from Sharp and proves useful when you’re wondering why it’s taking longer to check the football scores than it did earlier in the day.
Being a Vodafone-exclusive handset, users have access to the operator’s Live! web portal which supports the likes of eBay and Google Maps. However, we found scrolling through webpages proved a juddery experience.
Sharp has crammed a host of various PIM tools into the 880SH, which can be found under the Organiser and Utilities section of the menu. All the usual suspects are present − calendar, calculator, and to do list. There’s also a useful expenses memo that allows you to record and categorise where your pennies are going. It’s neatly laid out and easy to use although, if you lost your phone and that was the only record you had, you may find yourself in trouble with the old taxman. The voice recorder is another welcome addition, capturing crisp, clear sound. However, we did find that the handset picked up a large amount of background noise.
Useful for a spot of espionage perhaps, not so if you’re trying to hold an interview in a busy environment.
The 880SH is fitted with both an external and front-facing camera for video calling. The external two-megapixel camera is nothing more than average, and the quality of the front-facing camera was wholly disappointing. We found the image to be blurred even when the object we were photographing was stationary. The video camera also proved to be lacking. Presented with three recording modes; normal, fine and super-fine, the latter, while decent enough quality, only allows a maximum of 30 seconds of recording time, while normal mode is a little better at 60 seconds.
The Sharp 880SH is something of an enigma. It doesn’t seem to know what it is. From afar, the handset looks like it would appeal to the fashion conscious. However, on closer inspection, it’s just too heavy to compete with the Armani and Prada phones of this world. And the grubby smudge marks don’t help either.
Likewise, while the 880SH’s HSDPA capabilities and features such as Google Maps and Radio DJ means it borders on joining the high-end brigade, the disappointing two-megapixel camera means it ultimately falls short.
As a result, although competent, it’s difficult to see who would buy this phone, particularly as Sharp is not considered one of the bigger players.