The Aquos S2 is a relatively compact smartphone by today's standards. The main focus of the design is the screen-to-body ratio, which Sharp pegs at an impressive 87.5%.
The front of the phone is dominated almost entirely by the display but with a sizable chin area at the bottom. This is usually where things like the LED backlighting and touchscreen controllers are placed since there is no space at the top but from the outside all we see are the fingerprint sensor and the Sharp logo. There are no other physical buttons here, as Sharp has opted for on-screen navigation controls.
Near the top is where all the action is. When the display is off, there really isn't anything particularly striking about the design, save for a rather large front camera and a thin slit for the earpiece. It's when the display lights up is when you see what Sharp's engineers have been up to.
The front camera cuts deeply into the display, carving nearly a centimeter-long notch for itself. This would have been super odd had we not already seen this on the Essential Phone. What's even more quirky are the corners; unlike the Essential Phone, and several other phones these days, the Aquos S2 does not have curved corners. Instead, they look like they were just snipped off, making them look incredibly odd.
The area with the front facing camera also houses the proximity and ambient light sensor. Above it is a small slit where the earpiece audio comes from. The earpiece is located a bit below under the screen and the audio is piped to the top. Next to the slit is a small LED indicator on the right.
The sides of the Aquos S2 are the only place you will see metal. The edge has a prominent crease that makes it blend into the curvature of the back. On the right are the volume and power buttons, also made out of metal with polished chamfered edges. On the right is a hybrid dual SIM/microSD card slot. At the bottom is the USB-C connector with a loudspeaker and a microphone. There is no headphone jack on this phone. Very 2017.
The back of the phone is made out of glossy plastic, which is an incredible fingerprint magnet and nearly impossible to keep clean. Near the top is the dual camera system with a sizable bump, and a two-tone LED flash.
In terms of design, the Aquos S2 is quite underwhelming. Even the edge-to-edge display, which is probably supposed to wow ends up looking silly. The build quality is alright but the plastic back doesn't feel great in hand and looks even worse after a few minutes of use. The only really good thing about the design is that it's quite thin and light and the relatively compact size also makes it easy to use and carry around.