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printed December 22, 2014
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Review: Kyocera Kona for Sprint, Boost, Virgin

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Screen

The Kona has two displays, the 1.44-inch exterior screen and the 2.4-inch main screen. The exterior display is fairly low rez with 128 x 128 pixels, but is bright enough to be seen outdoors. The main screen has 320 x 240 pixels and it looks fairly good. Individual pixels are easy to spot, and the on-screen elements, text, and icons have pixelated edges, but it's not that bad. I had to crank the brightness all the way up in order to see the Kona's screen outdoors under a sunny sky.

Signal

The Kona is limited to Sprint's CDMA 1x cellular network. That means no 3G, and certainly no LTE 4G. That said, it performed on par with other devices I've tested on Sprint's network in the greater New York region. The Kona was able to make calls under all network conditions (weak/strong coverage), and never missed or dropped any calls. Call set-up times were longer than average in weak coverage areas, though. As a 1x device, the Kona isn't really meant to be used for mobile data, but it still managed to load web sites when given enough time.

Sound

Call quality via the Kona is average at best. The voices coming through both the earpiece and speakerphone were scratchy and suffered from distortion. That said, they were plenty loud. Both the earpiece and speakerphone offer more than enough volume for everyday environments, and it was quite easy to hear calls despite heavy construction (a.k.a, a jackhammer) taking place on my street. The volume makes up for the quality a little bit, but I wish calls were clearer. Ringers and alert tones can be set to obnoxious levels and the vibrate strength is enough to make the Kona rattle its way across your desk.

Battery

Like most feature phones on 2G networks, the battery lasts for days and days. Kyocera says the 870mAh battery is good enough for 6 hours of talk time, and that's accurate. If you don't talk much, you can easily go three days between charges.

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