OK. I’ll be honest here. When the Kyocera Echo was first announced I think my first involuntary response was an outright “wince”. I thought to myself,
“Really? There is no way that thing is going to come close to be anything other than a gimmick.”
“That hinge looks a tad ungainly.”
“The battery life on this thing is going to be miserable.”
…and other less kind quotes were given from the paid press. Well, then folks were actually able to hold in their hands, and attitudes changed – including mine. Second helpings of “crow” ensued. Because what Kyocera was able to do was put together a nifty little dual-screen handheld with 4.7″ of real estate to work with. In a nutshell, I really loved this phone.
When you read some of the specs, you know it has come ready to play:
- 1GHz Snapdragon
- 1GB ROM
- 512 RAM
- 2 X 3.5″ screens
- 5MP Camera w/Flash
- Patented Hinge
- An almost pristine version of Android 2.2
- Camera captures video in 720P
- Additional 1370mAh battery and charger
- Amount of bloatware is limited
Unfortunately, there is also the “meh”:
- Dual-Processor would have been better
- No front-facing camera on this beast?
- 1GB RAM would’ve been nice
- 5MP camera takes nice pics, but 8MP cameras nowadays seems more the norm for new android phones
- There is a reason an additional battery is supplied – 2 lit up panels can drain battery
There are several different display options for this phone. There is the:
Single-Screen Mode where one uses only one screen with the phone closed.
Simul-Task Mode which allows you to run two applications at the same time, one on each display.
Optimized Mode where one can run two functions of a single application, one on each screen.
Tablet Mode where you can spread one application across both screens (ex: playing Angry Birds where the gameplay extends from the left screen thru the right screen). You will need to run the Tablet Mode Extension utility to make this work.
I typically had about 11 hours of battery with regular use (playing the odd game here and there and regular phone usage). It was good to know that I had a charger handy or could just swap out with full battery.
Yes, the Echo has some really nice features, and the hinge was extremely reliable; but there is room for improvement as seen from the second bulleted list above. Rest assured however, as many are saying that the Echo is just the first in a line of such dual-paned phones to be coming from Kyocera, so don’t be surprised if we don’t see a model with EVO-esque stats in the future. I’m just sad to see this phone go as I really enjoyed using it.