Fujitsu Arrows A-301F Smartphone–Long Term Review

How many pieces does your phone have to be in before you replace it? In my case the answer was four. But even that’s not entirely accurate because I only replaced the broken cellphone when it became clear the battery was dying.

I did a lot of careful research but my master plan to modernize the entire family was rejected by She Who Must Be Obeyed. I therefore began a second search. I was not married to a brand, which meant I would look at both Android and Apple products.

My main requirements were that the phone had to have a large screen, but not one that made me look as if I was holding a book against my face, and it had to fit in my pocket so that I didn’t need to carry any kind of extra bag for it. It had to have good battery life. It also had to be provided by my current provider. (My provider also handles iPhones and if the larger iPhones had arrived in Japan a few months earlier than they did I might have one of those now.)

Luckily Softbank had a phone that was getting good reviews and which Android tech types in the USA were lusting over. It turns out it was a good purchase.

The Fujitsu Arrows A-301F has a 5 inch LCD screen with 1920×1080 resolution; 64 gigabyte internal memory and a Micro SD slot; and a 13.1 megapixel camera that’s decent but not great. (It’s a lot of megapixels on a small sensor so it’s not as good as it could be.) It weighs 5.54 ounces. It comes in white, black or pink. (For the real tech geeks: It’s running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on a 2.2 Ghz Quadcore with 2 gigabytes of RAM. This all means something important, I’m sure.)

The screen is about as large as I would get. I can reach all the corners without having to study yoga and/or dislocate my fingers or thumbs. It will fit in my jeans pocket, but it always reminds me it’s there. Without a rubber cover the plastic case is a bit slippery.

The battery has held up well–even when, as now, my laptop is tethered to it so that I can write and post this entry–and I like that it comes with a special charging station that allows it to go from 0% charged to 100% in just over an hour. The advertising said that even a 10 minute charge would give it enough power to run for a few hours and I’ve generally found that to be true. (Note: that’s only true with the charging station, though. If it’s just plugged in to a computer with a regular USB cable it charges slowly.)

The Arrows phone in the charging station.

The Arrows phone in the charging station.

The screen is large enough for comfortably reading books on a Kindle app (more on that in a future post) and for my thumbs and fingers when I’m writing something or taking notes. I also like the fingerprint reader/touch sensitive button on the back. I can turn the screen on and swipe away the start screen wallpaper with out using my thumb.

The back side with the touch-sensitive button. The three holes on the side fit the charging station.

The back side with the touch-sensitive button. The three holes on the side fit the charging station.

My only complaint about the phone is that I’m apparently the only person in Japan who bought one. As such, it was discontinued quickly and will almost certainly never get an updated version of the Android OS. This leaves it at late-2013 vintage unless I decided to start messing with it myself.

The contract is up next May and I’ll have to decide to stick with this phone or move to another. Apple is always in the running as are other Android phones. Knowing me, though, I’ll keep this one until it’s in pieces and then I’ll try to figure out how to make it work a little longer.



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