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Review: Kyocera Rise for Sprint

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Menus/Customization Communications  

The Kyocera Rise is a rare breed of smartphone: it runs stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with just a few Sprint-dictated options tossed in.

There is only one lock screen shortcut, and it opens the camera (the dedicated camera button only works when the phone is already awake). Otherwise, the only actions you can take from the lock screen are to silence or answer incoming calls.

The Rise has five home screen panels for customization, and Kyocera and Sprint have left them blank out of the box. This means you can approach the Rise like a fresh canvas and customize at will without first having to tear everything down.

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The notification shade offers alerts and access to the settings menu. The main app menu is a series of grids, which cannot be customized (yes, seriously). Once you swipe past the last app menu page, you get to the widgets, of which there are plenty for littering across the home screen panels.

In terms of customization, the Rise offers the typical allotment of Ice Cream Sandwich features in addition to Sprint iD. Sprint iD is the one real non-stock item in the Rise's menu system. Sprint iD, which has been around for years, lets users download packages of wallpapers, apps, ringtones, and widgets that are centered on specific themes, such as NASCAR or RadioShack. They are a neat idea, but often come with bloatware. Given the complete lack of bloatware on the Rise, it seems it would be a shame to sully it with Sprint iD packs; but hey, if that's your thing, go for it.

Sprint iD  

Ah, performance. It is a bit lacking. The Rise has nary but a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor under the hood, and the device is slow as a result. It's not kill-me-now slow, but it's not going to light a fire under anyone's behind, either.

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