Review: Microsoft Kin One and Two
Microsoft and Verizon have tucked the normal status bar info away and out of sight. With both phones, you have to press the clock on the home screen, which opens up a widget with the signal strength indicator, battery level, and alarm clock details. Personally, I want that stuff visible at all times. Why make this stuff so annoying to find, especially when I want to grok it simply by glancing at my screen? However, I can understand the appeal of the added screen real estate.
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That said, both devices performed OK in the time that I tested them. They each held onto 3 out of 5 bars most of the time. I never saw either reach up to the full 5 bars, nor did I see them drop to 1 or, worse, to 1X. I made just a few calls, and neither device dropped the calls. Over the course of a week's time, my test units only dropped a single call, and didn't miss any.Sound
With the volume set up all the way, I easily missed calls with the phone in the same room as me. That means the ringtones are not loud enough. Not by a long shot. Also, every single ringtone and alert noise sounds as if it came from the bowels of a Chelsea nightclub. There's almost no variety, and certainly nothing I'd actually want to use. Just beats, rhythms, and noise.
Phone calls, on the other hand, sounded great. No problems there. In the few test calls I made, I was able to hear people clearly, and they had no complaints about me, either.Battery
The Kin One and Two are highly connected devices. They are constantly uploading data to Verizon's servers and the Kin Studio. Despite all that neetwork activity, I was consistently able to get two days of battery life out of Kin. Keeping tabs on friends via the SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter software seems to be pretty efficient. I did notice, however, that the more pictures I took, the faster the battery drained (it spends more time uploading to the network). In all, though, battery life is better than many of today's smartphones.