Phone Scoop

printed November 27, 2014
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Review: Kyocera Kona for Sprint, Boost, Virgin

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  2  

Media

There is no music player on the Kona. The same goes for video. This is not an entertainment device.

Camera

The Kona has a 2-megapixel, fixed-focus camera. Press the dedicated camera key once to open a short list of camera-related options, or press it twice quickly to open the camera itself. The camera launches in about 2 seconds, and it takes a second or so to shoot an image, and another second to process an image. It's certainly not the fastest camera phone I've used.

You can adjust all of the exposure controls you'd expect with a phone, such as brightness, contrast, color, and so on. I'd guess most users won't bother with these controls, however, especially since they are buried a few layers deep in the camera's user interface. There are some fun frames, some image tools, such as making photos black and white, or sepia tone. The camera software is pretty basic.

The Kona cannot record video.

 

Camera

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Photos

As far as camera phones go, the Kona is pretty darned awful. I wasn't expecting much, and the Kona doesn't deliver much. Focus is soft, white balance and exposure are decent, but every shot is a grainy mess. Again, it's worth noting that the Kona is not meant to be a top-notch device, and extra components such as a good camera would only serve to bulk up the price. The Kona's camera might be helpful here and there, but it's not going to replace a dedicated camera, not by a longshot.

Gallery

The gallery shows a simple grid of thumbnails. Selecting photos is as simple as using the d-pad to navigate through the library. Just click on a photo to open it. Once open, you can perform edits and/or other actions to a single photo or all of them at once if you wish. The editing features include the ability to add text captions, which I think is cool, as well as add special effects, resize, or crop the photo.

There are no social networking services built into the Kona at all, but at least you can send images from the gallery app as picture messages. (On older Sprint phones, you couldn't do this and had to go to the text messaging app first.)

 

Gallery

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Browser

The Kona has 1x data paired with a WAP browser. It's not the best combination for browsing the web. The browser is flat-out awful. The default home page is Sprint's portal, which is a disaster of links that lead nowhere useful. Loading even the most basic sites is an exercise in patience. The Kona may have a browser, but it is not meant to browse the web, at least not well. Get a smartphone if the mobile web is important to you.

 

Browser

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Apps

The Kona can download only a handful of the simplest applications via Sprint's online portal. The content available include things such as games, organizers, and ringtones. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for, and every step requires a page refresh -- which takes anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds. It's more infuriating than useful.

Bluetooth

The Kona supports mono Bluetooth headsets and a few other profiles. Pairing was no problem, but call quality via mono headsets and my car's hands-free system was pretty bad. Volume was fine, but the distortion evident in the earpiece is amplified to horrific effect in a headset. Pairing with other devices, such as my computer, was problematic as the connection kept dropping.

Clock

The clock on the external display is great for checking the time. It fills almost the entire display with a large digital clock that's viewable even out in the sun. This clock can't be changed. The clock that appears on the home screen can be customized in a number of different ways, including large/small digital, large/small analog, world clock, and several different calendar views.

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