Fall 2009 Preview
Kyocera was showing off three new phones at the Pepcom event in New York. They are the Incognito, Torino and Domino.
This sideways clamshell is launching with Sprint on November 30. The front is mirrored and has a hidden keypad. Unlocking the phone brings the touch-sensitive keypad to life, which provides haptic feedback when you interact with the phone. The external keypad is a neat touch, but you won't find it very easy to dial when not looking at the screen, as there is no way to tell where your thumb is in relation to the numbers/buttons.
The back of the Incognito is covered with a soft-touch paint job, making it easy to hold. The shape of the phone is a bit on the blocky side, but the mirrored finish on the front makes it attractive.
The clamshell opens easily and there's a nice, colorful display inside, which is flanked by stereo speakers. The full QWERTY keyboard is decent, and the travel and feedback of the buttons was good. Each had a nice "click." The D-pad on the right side of the keyboard also worked well, as did all of the navigation and control keys.
The Incognito runs Sprint's OneClick user interface, and I didn't notice and differences or surprises with it. It looked the same as it does on other phones that run OneClick. The display was nice and bright and the UI worked fast with no hiccups or stuttering.
Anyone looking for an inexpensive messaging phone that has a unique look and feel might consider the Incognito.
The Torino is a chubby little QWERTY phone that has a square-ish shape. It is nice and light weight and feels good in the hand. The front has an OK display, though the low resolution was a little too low for my tastes. It was plenty bright, though, and was running a generic user interface from Kyocera. (No carriers have officially announced this phone yet.)
The Torino's full keyboard isn't bad, but it isn't great either. The keys have good shape and definition, but they definitely felt cheap to press and interact with.
I also didn't care for the six control keys that are on either side of the D-pad. They are three slivers that are placed too close together, making them difficult to tell apart when you're in a hurry. The thinness of the keys doesn't help either. Travel and feedback was OK, though.
It has some really basic features, such as a 1.3 megapixel camera and messaging, which all worked well in the quick tests I performed.
This device will surely be available from a smaller carrier in the coming months.
I'll give you one guess to figure out why Kyocera named this device the Domino...
It is an ultra tiny little candybar phone that is clearly an entry-level device. It has few features, but the hardware felt pretty good. Being so small, it is going to travel anywhere and fit well into a pocket.
The display is teensy, but the numeric keypad felt great to use. THe keys have great definition and shape, and are made of a rubbery substance. This meant your thumbs won't slide off the keys as your dial.
THis phone will also be available in the coming months, most likely from a low-cost provider or pre-paid service.