Kyocera Echo Hands-on
From a glance, the dual-screens and unique hinge mechanism looks interesting enough, but after picking up the handset and checking it out, it makes us question how it’ll handle after some time. Before getting into the nitty gritty, one has to remember that we’re talking about a product from Kyocera – which doesn’t particularly resonate with the most premium set of devices on the market. Regardless of that, the Kyocera Echo is primarily constructed out of plastic and is held together in piece by its hinge mechanism. When it’s closed, it feels rather compact to hold without being overly demanding to the hand, but it does pack some noticeable thickness. However, when it’s opened completely, it undoubtedly requires you to wield it with both hands.
Taking up the majority of space on the device are two 3.5” WVGA (480 x 800) LCD screens that pack enough detail for clarity, but when combined together, it sums up to a sizable 4.7” display. Although it boasts enough detail, we’re not particularly too fond by its color output – which tends to be a little bit more bland in tone. Overlooking that, they’re both more than responsive to the touch as they easily registered every movement of our finger.
Before getting instructions on how to open up the handset, we found ourselves having trouble because it seems to work better with two hands. After fumbling around, we were finally able to have it locked into place as both screens line up against one another – thus leaving only a minimal amount of space in between. Additionally, you can prop up one of the displays to emulate the look of a laptop so that it’s positioned at an angle. Granted that it feels solid enough right now, we’re not confident by how it’ll hold up in the long run due to normal wear and tear. Still, the unique mechanism called the “pivot hinge” quite easily provides the much needed character for the Kyocera Echo. In terms of other specs, the Echo features a 5-megapixel camera with flash and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
Since its dual-screens are the focal point of the device, it makes for some rather interesting concepts that take some of its cues from the tablet space. The Kyocera Echo is running Android 2.2 Froyo and it seems to run quick much like any other handset we’ve checked out using the processor. Though, Sprint goes on to tout its ability to “Simul-Task” which essentially allows you to take advantage of its dual-screens and go above and beyond the traditional norm of multi-tasking. Specifically, the Echo’s functionality is broken down to single-screen mode, simul-task mode, optimized mode, and tablet mode. Naturally, single screen mode is basically using the handset closed with its single display.
Secondly, you’ve got simul-task mode that allows you to choose two of the phone’s seven core apps (messaging, e-mail, web browsing, phone, gallery, contacts, and VueQue) and have them displayed separately. So if you want, you can simply browse the web on one and compose an email on the other.
Optimized mode focuses more on a single app and utilizes both displays together for better presentation. In fact, the best example for this is running the gallery app where it’ll display your selected photo on the top screen, while the bottom allows you to browse through content.
And finally, there is tablet mode which as its name implies, allows you to fully utilize the real estate of both display together – like using Google Maps to display an entire map or web browsing a page.
Overall, there is no denying the unique factor that the Kyocera Echo holds, but it’s hard to fathom right now if it’s simply a novel idea. Meanwhile, it’s going to take developers some investment in building out apps to take advantage of the new functionality presented by its dual-screens. In any event, the handset is slated for a release some time in spring for the on-contract price of $199.99. As much as its unique look might draw some attention, there are some alarming next-generation items it’s missing. For one, this is simply a 3G enabled device and it might perplex some people as to why it’s not flaunting support for Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network. So the next question we need to ask is when we’ll see the industry’s first dual-screen Android device with 4G?
2. KParks23 (Posts: 448; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)
but on another note not sure if this will sell.. im sure it will because its different than everything but if HTC made sumn like this than it would sell like hot cakes so im willing to atleast check it out
4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5751; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
EPIC Fail for Sprint. HTC isn't making something like the Kyocera Echo because they have done their market research (unlike Sprint, who appears to rely on gut instinct more and more).
What a joke. T-Mo might even be able to pass Sprint at the rate that Sprint is laying turds. Here is another prediction - the Palm Pre 2 on Verizon will outsell the Echo on Sprint (and the Echo is running Android).
5. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)
1 comes with two batteries and a charger in the box because those two screens will suck the life out my GTO
2 they got to reduce the gap between the two screens... worse gap than Letterman's display.
3 both screens have the same "home menu and back" buttons? If it on the top screen that is accessible while both screens are active as well doesn't that make the under buttons somewhat redundant?
Why not make the under buttons "dedicated search contacts and camera". I mean anything else than the repetitious three from the upper screen. Who did they not consult on this?
6. belovedson (Posts: 832; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)
this could be a competent gaming device to against the ps phone
7. theGodpapa (Posts: 181; Member since: 15 Dec 2009)
wow Sprint....when you hold a private event and send out invites and try and get the world all hyped up....you might want to at LEAST try and get a GOOD cell company to make this "revolutionary device" for you.....Kyocera???? Lame, sad and pathetic....just like your company.
Count down the days until they file for bankruptcy.
29. Willfu12 (unregistered)
Well for your comment about the echo, you may be correct, but tell me device as good as the HTC EVO...I've had the iphones 1st through the 3gs and the evo is better...
8. Alex (unregistered)
Dang.. what about Opimus 3D phone??
I don't give a shit about Kyocera trash..
I really hate fucking Sprint.. shit.. No fucking higher end phone.. as other fucking carriers..
9. cornerofthemoon (Posts: 505; Member since: 20 Apr 2010)
It seems that the designer of the Pontiac Aztec landed a new job at Kyocera.
23. jbash (Posts: 341; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)
The aztec has a built in tent that is way cooler then a funny looking smartphone. lol
10. cornerofthemoon (Posts: 505; Member since: 20 Apr 2010)
I actually like the nerd factor, but I it's a good bet that the software will be full of bugs.
11. SKI (unregistered)
Sprint you guys did again! Got the world hyped up for this piece of shit! I am really dissapointed in you guys! I expected something big, like an iphone 4g that would have been an industy first! Or something dual core from samsung,lg or htc. Sprint you gotta get it together because right now i'm really considering leaving for the lack of high end phones you bring to the market! Get it together sprint all the other carriers have better phones! You'll aint even trying to catch up! Really Dissapointed!
12. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
This kind of crap is why I left Sprint last month for T-mobile. They are already going to start charging everyone more and take away yearly upgrades to make up for losses, and this is just going to be another huge loss.
13. J. Levy (unregistered)
Ok, so that sucked. What's the HTC Arrive?
30. Willfu12 (unregistered)
HTC Arrive is the 7.0 windows for Sprint!
14. Roberto (unregistered)
Sprint's Top Secret Meeting (a few months ago): "Verizon is getting the iphone... we must fight back! We have an idea! Lets charge customers with smartphones $10 extra /mo and lets bring David Blaine to help us introduce a crappy new smartphone... with 2 screens!" - yah... way to go Sprint...
15. ribbonsalmark (Posts: 84; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
Idea for this phone. When you slide out to dual screens have phone boot HoneyComb as OS. This way if you can lock into tablet mode with a 7 inch screen. while the screen isnt whole the idea that HoneyComb is built using fragments suggests that this would be a possible implementation. Sprint and Kyocera should listen to this idea. This would be an industry first, the first phone/tablet hybrid. Gives users the ability to choose what platform they need when they need it. "I need to make a phone call" its in one screen mode and I have a phone. "I need to modify this spreadsheet or read email or surf the web" tablet mode gives me all the amazing features of honeycomb. SPRINT DO IT!
16. leefer77 (Posts: 23; Member since: 04 Jan 2011)
COME ON, Sprint! Really!? Good thing I love my EVO. You better have something better than this dsi looking phone by upgrade time. You'll have to have something worthy of being called an upgrade to the EVO if you want to keep my business. Maybe you will surprise us come June, though. EVO 2--hint, hint...Dual core processor...16 million color AMOLED display...wireless n enabled...better battery...latest android os. You can do it! Rise to the occasion. Hey, you're not afraid to give us this dual screen contraption, so why not go for the gusto and give us something great. I believe in you. Maybe you just need a pep talk from Lou Holtz to bolster your confidence. Go ahead and make us proud.
17. leefer77 (Posts: 23; Member since: 04 Jan 2011)
Ok. Maybe I was a bit rash in my judgement of this phone due to high expectations. I probably should wait until I can hold one in my hands. As big as it seems, it probably isn't too bad. But Kyocera? I didn't even know they made smart phones. IDK. We'll see.
19. DJLegacy2k5 (Posts: 205; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
This Keyocera still has more potential than the YEAR OLD iPhone that got loads of attention on wack ass Verizon...At least it has Android and at least the dual screens give developers the POSSIBILITY of making some cool aps. I mean developers for the iPhone still dont even have live tile or widget support so if America wasnt full of SHEEP this phone, based on POTENTIAL, this phone should sell more. Just a point...(get back to your regularly scheduled apple circlejerk)
24. jbash (Posts: 341; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)
apple fans prefer double dutch rudders from what i hear. its called the iGay
20. osanilevich (Posts: 244; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)
I just hope that they make apps custom made for the echo and no one ends up using the single screen half the time. When regular apps are running what does the bottom screen do when not in tablet mode?
21. myhui (unregistered)
Is it made in Japan? Or China? Or USA? Or Korea? Or where else?
22. TURBOGSX95 (unregistered)
This is scary, i sell sprint phones, the sanyo (Keyocera) ZIO is a total turd, useless. So if this device is anything like that its gonna be a nightmare....on a better note, rumors...HTC...EVO2...Dual Core precessor, 3D retina display, dual cam on the back for 3D video recording, etc..... should be pretty awesome.
25. daemon646 (unregistered)
brilliant idea for a phone not gonna lie but technology limits to have a gapped even that big between the 2 screens plus its not bringing really anything new to the table plus kyocera making it a company that took over sanyo phone division that didnt ever make a high end phone this not anything worth it. again though brilliant idea horrible company that lacks the real technology to make this. come on this palm right here just kyocera wont sink cause of a horrible phone sine they still make other consumer goods. nothing great is coming out of this which has potential.
26. JoeJo (unregistered)
I have the HTC EVO not the htc evo 4g (they wont provide 4g in michigan). but the EVO is the one thing the company actually did right.
but the Evo is old news now and i was hoping this release was going to be the LG 3d device with a dualcore processer but it ended up being this????
WHAT A JOKE OF A COMPANY. THIS WILL BE AN EPIC FAIL. I CANT BELIEVE THEY PUT ALL THE MONEY INTO THIS EVENT TO DISPLAY THIS? THEY NEED TO FIRE WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OF THIS STUFF AND NEED A BRAND NEW MARKETING STAFF
one way this company survives is if they come out with the IPHONE. that would be money well spent for this stupid company. Everyone would switch to sprint because the network is actually good and the prices are unbeatable.
27. allimsayinis (unregistered)
I don't know man :-/ ...
28. rb (unregistered)
come on Sprint are we your customers or test subjects for your expermental products, all the other providers have iphone, palm pre2 etc; get it together will you
31. ECHO owner! (unregistered)
OK so for all of the D-BAGS out there trash talking this phone, you probably dont know that it really doesn't have any bugs. And it's better the the EVO because there isn't any lag....as for it running 2.2 yeah it stinks but the best thing about revolving technology is you can always upgrade the firmware through time and effort, which it seems NONE of you are willing to do@!