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Kyocera Echo Review

Posted: , by Brian K.

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Interface and Functionality:

The Kyocera Echo runs a vanilla version of Android 2.2.1. It has some Sprint apps and other bloatware that can’t be removed (technically,) but the Android experience is otherwise unmolested.  All the stock apps are there and unmolested, so your calendar and phonebook will be as you’re used to. Of course with two displays the Echo is bound to have a few tricks up its sleeve, and indeed it does.

The homescreen of the Kyocera Echo - Kyocera Echo Review
The homescreen of the Kyocera Echo - Kyocera Echo Review
The homescreen of the Kyocera Echo - Kyocera Echo Review
The homescreen of the Kyocera Echo - Kyocera Echo Review

The homescreen of the Kyocera Echo


The Echo has what Kyocera calls Simul-task applications, which have a small indicator on the icon to let you know they are compatible. This means that two applications can run independently of each other on the two screens. For example, let’s say you’re browsing the web and get a text message. You simply tap both screens and pull up the messaging app on the screen you wish.  When you click on the text box to reply the messaging app takes over, with the conversation up top and the Swype keyboard down below. After you send the message the browser window reappears, and if you wish you can maximize it across the two screens.  When two apps are running you can swap the screens if you choose.

The Swype keyboard - The Simul-task applications allows you to use the two screens independently - Kyocera Echo Review
The Simul-task applications allows you to use the two screens independently - Kyocera Echo Review
The Simul-task applications allows you to use the two screens independently - Kyocera Echo Review
The Simul-task applications allows you to use the two screens independently - Kyocera Echo Review

The Swype keyboard

   

The Simul-task applications allows you to use the two screens independently


Some apps, like the browser or contacts, simply span both screens. Other apps, like the Gallery or VueQue app provide different information on both displays. The gallery loads your photos below, then displays the selected photo above. The VueQue app is a specialized version of YouTube which plays the video on the top display while displaying related videоs on the bottom panel that you can queue up for watching. Of course both have an option to scan both screens as well.

The VueQue app is a specialized version of YouTube - Kyocera Echo Review
The VueQue app is a specialized version of YouTube - Kyocera Echo Review
The VueQue app is a specialized version of YouTube - Kyocera Echo Review
The VueQue app is a specialized version of YouTube - Kyocera Echo Review

The VueQue app is a specialized version of YouTube


Overall the experience works well, and it's cool to be able to browse two different web pages at the same time, or pull up your contacts while in a text message to look up a number. For now only the six applications we mentioned as well as the phone app are Simul-task compatible, but Sprint and Kyocera are reaching out to developers to create apps that will take advantage of the Echo’s dual screens. 

For apps that are not Simul-task compatible Kyocera has a tablet mode app, which lets most of the rest of your apps run on both displays. The app warns that not app apps will be compatible with it, but in our testing we didn’t find one that wasn’t. For the most part the app simply spans both panels, but we did notice that the included Telenav GPS loaded the search screen up top and a map down below. We’d love to see them take it a step further by offering the navigation map in the top panel, with route info, nearby attractions, gas prices, and other similar info in the bottom panel, but instead when in navigation mode it simply spans both screens.

Telenav GPS - Kyocera Echo Review
Telenav GPS - Kyocera Echo Review
Telenav GPS - Kyocera Echo Review

Telenav GPS


Like on the Zio, multitouch is curiously absent at times. Notably, it is missing from the browser and gallery, which is very disheartening. Multitouch works on third party browsers that support it, but you can’t Simul-task with them.  It also means that out of the box the super neat 3D effects in Google Maps which require two fingered gestures don’t work. The Echo is preloaded with Maps 5.0.0 (which does support those,) but an update to the most recent 5.3.1 thankfully enabled those features.

Google Maps - Kyocera Echo Review
Google Maps - Kyocera Echo Review
Google Maps - Kyocera Echo Review

Google Maps


Despite the respectable hardware specs (1GHz processor, 512MB RAM and 1GB ROM) the Echo lags a lot more than it should.  It does it in both single and dual screen mode, so we don’t think tablet mode or Simul-task has anything to do with it. There are times when it will run like butter, but other times when it will choke to a slow death. For example, when we fire up the gallery it takes the better part of a minute for the 13 thumbnails we had to fully come visible, and sometimes when we close the phone it will be stuck in tablet mode, with half a screen rotated the wrong way for a while before “waking up” and re-orientating itself. Hopefully these issues will be corrected with software updates.

There are some practical applications for the Echo’s dual screen setup right now, but for the most part it is promise and potential that has us excited about devices like this. Ultimately it will be this app support which determines if the Echo- and dual screen phones in general- become a hit.

21 Comments
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posted on 18 Apr 2011, 10:55 3

1. Richard (unregistered)


I bought the ECHO yesterday and absolutely love it!! The best part of the device is the email experience. You get a preview pane on the top and your inbox messages on the bottom. All you have to do is tap a new message and it is diaplayed on the top screen. This will save me a lot of time. I also like the ability to keep my email on one screen and browse the web on the other. I had email running on top screen last night with gamecast on the bottom. Like the review said, not bad for the first version but some room for improvment. I have always loved Sanyo and it's been a while since I've had one.

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 11:54 1

4. SprintJunk (unregistered)


Don't count on Sprint to update the software, I have the Samsung Moment that they said would get updated to 2.2 and it did not.

Your review of this phone is exactly what I was expecting:
Hinge system will break in matter of weeks.
Slow

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 13:51 3

6. user139 (unregistered)


Come on, the moment? The moment will never be updated to 2.2 the hardware wont support it. BUY A NEW PHONE. "Dont count on sprint to update the software"? Really? Dont count on customers to be educated. Buy a good device in the first place, do your research and dont think the technology is perfect. Try that first and then complain about your carrier. If your still using a moment, you shouldent even own a smart phone.

posted on 05 May 2011, 22:43

15. tomy2011 (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 May 2011)


Hey, I agree with you about Sprint getting a 2.2 froyo for Samsung Moment. However, the phone is able to support 2.2 froyo. You can see that on XDA website. Thank you for your comment

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 13:54

7. user139 (unregistered)


Furthermore, Have you had this device in your hands? No? Then dont comment on the hinge. Ive used this for about a week and it actually impressed me. Its not without its flaws, but far from junk. The last thing to break on this will be the hinge. Dont be ignorant.

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 14:03

9. Allday28 (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)


Ummm i did go see it today and its straight junk and ugly at that!!

posted on 20 Apr 2011, 17:33

14. downphoenix (Posts: 2415; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


lies, Sprint never said it was gonna get 2.2, in fact, they were on the record and said no androids released before 2010 were gonna get 2.2, but all androids released in 2010 would get it, and they kept their word, as all android devices in 2010 either had 2.2 built in or got updated... eventually.

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 12:23 2

5. jovy121 (Posts: 14; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


If this phone said VERIZON on it instead of Sprint it would no doubt have a 9 out of 10 or possibly a 10 on it. Hey phonearena how much does verizon pay??? It looks like a good phone, It's not meant for everyone. It looks like its meant for teenagers. Not those super techy people.

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 13:54 3

8. remixfa (Posts: 14145; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


lol really jovy? Everyone knows that PA is paid by apple to lick the crome clean on the logo every day.
Honestly, the phone got a higher review than i thought it would.

My only thing with the article is that they called a 1ghz snapdragon "top tier" when its lower mid tier now (my how fast things change..lol) when you put it beside a Hummingbird or anything dual core which is the new top tier.

posted on 18 Apr 2011, 19:42

10. Dre (unregistered)


This review just sounds wrong to me, Cnet and Phonedog gave much better reviews and scores. This one seemed to just pick at any and everything.....kinda like every review PA has ever given to a android phone.

posted on 19 Apr 2011, 06:58

11. nick (unregistered)


wait...what? 3.5+3.5=7. x_X

posted on 19 Apr 2011, 07:53

12. egraves (unregistered)


The width of the phone is 3.5 for each screen so when opened you only get the 5. whatever

posted on 19 Apr 2011, 21:37

13. Boti95 (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Sep 2010)


Does this have an autofocus camera???

posted on 17 May 2011, 01:47 3

16. Ben (unregistered)


the phone is awesome. the battery life sucks but i drive for a living so i am able to charge whenever. i have 30 days to decide if its for me or if i want the nexus s. im leaning towards keeping the echo. i read a few reviews that werent so nice before i bought it but i like to make my own choices. if i shaped my life from reviews id be watching the kardashians and listening to lady gaga. no thank you. read books, listen to real musicians, and dont believe everything they tell you. lol

posted on 26 May 2011, 11:23

19. bsanders18 (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I agree with everything you said lol

posted on 18 May 2011, 20:01

17. saw22 (unregistered)


hey my dad says that its not the hing that will break its the springs what do u guys think

posted on 18 May 2011, 20:06

18. saw22 (unregistered)


o and how long does the battery last

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 12:59

21. MarkJ (unregistered)


I've had the Echo from the very beginning (in fact 3 days prior to the official launch as a Sprint Premier customer). The phone has been fantastic!

It's now been 4 months of heavy use. The hinge is rock-solid still. I've also dropped the phone numerous times as well as had friends try to force close it thinking the hinge worked like a book. Nothing so far has phased the build on this phone. It looks like a brick and it's built like a brick. For me, that's good.

The only negative really is the lag. This I blame on RAM, processor, and internal memory. When the phone isn't loaded down with apps (after a fresh reinstall of the OS) it flies. (This is true for most any Android device.) After being loaded up with apps it lags quite a bit (also true of most any Android device). A dual core cpu and more RAM, not to mention on-board memory would go a long way in making the lag issue less of a problem.

The battery life is fine. I've had several Android phones with large screens (EVO 4G) and several webOS phones (which I loved and hated parting with) which all had similar battery life to the Echo. Calling the battery life abysmal is an exaggeration for sure! It's on par with every device I've owned, making the extra battery a major bonus! The two batteries combined get me through an entire day of regular use easily.

Now, for what's awesome about this phone. The two-in-one aspect of this phone is so, so great! It's a perfect sized ereader with a near 5" display one second, and seconds later, it's an iphone sized handset. Web browsing, games and books have never been more awesome. Throw in the 32gb card I've got and this is far and away the best all around device I've had in years!

posted on 21 Aug 2011, 13:23

22. micahbzrk (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I want this phone...i just wished it had a ffc

posted on 14 Sep 2011, 08:22

23. madcowmilau (unregistered)


Phone arena is great. CNET is the one who is bias.
Keep up the good work guys.

posted on 26 Sep 2011, 12:31

24. marcel123 (unregistered)


Can someone tell me how to send picture mail on this phone..because i can send pictures but people dont recieve them.. i can recieve pictures but my picture say it is sent but the person does not recieve them someone help....

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Kyocera Echo

Kyocera Echo

OS: Android 2.3 2.2
view full specs
Display3.5 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (267 ppi) LCD
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 QSD8650, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
512 MB RAM
Size4.53 x 2.22 x 0.68 inches
(115.0 x 56.5 x 17.2 mm)
6.80 oz  (193 g)
Battery1370 mAh, 7 hours talk time

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