The Sharp Basio 2 is a peculiar beast that packs physical call and message buttons

There are times when you can look at a phone’s spec sheet and make a rational judgment based on what you see. However, the Sharp Basio 2 SHV36 is here to break those notions with a few interesting additions that you might not find anywhere else.

Let’s start with that spec sheet. The Basio 2 features a 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 resolution IGZO display, with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 and 2GB RAM powering the phone. The phone also comes with 16GB of native storage, though you will likely get less than that out of the box, with a 2,810mAh battery keeping the lights on. Finally, Android Marshmallow runs the show, though you will not notice it under Sharp’s heavy software skin.

However, the spec sheet does not adequately explain the Basio 2’s story. The phone’s peculiar nature starts with the physical call, home, and message buttons. Physical call buttons have not seen the light of day in the world of Android for quite some time, with a physical message button even more bizarre to see. Both buttons have built-in LEDs for notifications, with the phone button sending users to the dialer and call log, and the message button sending them to their emails and text messages.

The Basio 2’s strangeness does not stop there, however, as the phone’s software features a built-in magnifier, which, combined with the large icons, speaks to the phone’s focus on the older users and others who may not see very well. Elsewhere, the bottom portion of the display is reserved for three of your favorite contacts, and the 13-megapixel camera shielded by a sliding cover when not used. Weirdly enough, the LED flash remains on the outside, which lets you use the Basio 2 as a flashlight when the camera is covered.

Finally, the phone’s IP55 and IP58 certifications ensure it’s protected against dust and freshwater — it stays safe when immersed in freshwater for up to 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, the Basio 2 is unlikely to leave its home country of Japan. Importers will have to wait until August 5 to get their hands on the phone, which will come in gold, red, and blue.

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