Probably the most interesting new Kyocera is the M1000, due to the fact it is a side-opening clamshell. Just like the LG enV (Verizon Wireless) and its predecessor (Kyocera KX21 Switch Back), it has numeric keypad and display on the front and can be used closed, but opens to reveal slight bigger screen and full QWERTY keyboard that is essential for chatters. The new phone has reduced the dimensions compared to its predecessor but has bigger external display.
Unfortunately the internal display has only 160x128 pixels resolution but week in mind this is not even a mid-range device. The QWERTY feels just fine, keeping in mind how small the phone is, when closed. It is more comfortable than the one of the Strobe/SwitchBack. We were disappointed by the low quality of the plastic which makes the phone feels like a toy.
Expect the M1000 this summer.
Heading to the standard (vertically opening) clamshells, our attention was captured by the E5000 which is the most advanced of all new phones of the manufacturer. It is part of the higher end of the mid-level segment and has stylish design to attract fashion-cautious consumers. Kyocera advertise it with the S-styled hinge of the clamshell which looks unique when the phone is opened and takes it out of the crowd of Motorola-RAZR-look-alike phones. At the beginning, it was supposed to be made out of stainless steel but it appeared to be too fragile and the steel molecules had to be manipulated in order to get sturdier. Still the showcased phone appeared to be a beta-version as the hinge was shaky and wobbled only after a couple of days of usage. We hope the final commercially available phones will not have that problem.
The phone has rounded edges and the keyboard lines also have the same design-language. Although the keys are flat, they are pressed well and with strong tactile feedback.
As specifications the E5000 is also not a miracle, but features most of the important things. It is CDMA/EV-DO phone with the front housing a small color display, 1.3-megapixel camera lens above and touch-sensitive music-control keys below it. The memory can be expanded via microSD slot for memory and Bluetooth with A2DP support for Stereo Audio.
The E2000 takes what the E5000 is and cuts its key-feature – the design. The E2000 packs exactly the same functionality but in common clamshell form factor without the fashion appeal of the 5000. The external keys are ordinary buttons instead of touch-sensitive ones.
The internal keyboard has also different design, but the one of the phone we tested was plain horrible. It was very hard to press, especially the D-Pad. As a whole, it was unusable. We are almost sure this will change with commercial units.
Considering its features, E2000 is still a nice option for the Average Joe that doesn't want to spend more money just for the look.
Kyocera E5000 and E2000 will be available with global CDMA carriers in Fall 2007.
The E1000 is the most affordable of all clamshells, but also the simplest one. It even lacks EV-DO support but also doesn't have memory slot and music-dedicated keys on the front. Using combination of black and metallic color it manages to have stylish look. The keyboard has bigger and more comfortable keys than the one of the E2000.
The Kyocera E1000 will launch this summer.