Review: Kyocera Zio
The Zio boasts a 3.5-inch LCD with 800 x 480 pixels. With the smaller physical size (than the Motorola Droid X or Samsung Captivate) and large pixel count, images, icons, and graphics all look sharp and clear. Picking out individual pixels and jagged edges was difficult. Text pops nicely, and even the smallest point-size font on web pages was legible, as long as you are indoors. The Zio's display looks great indoors. Outside, it performs on par with other touch phones. Cloudy days weren't too much of a problem, but sunlight made reading the display difficult. I was, however, at least able to interact with the main menu by angling the Zio properly.
In a standard Cricket coverage area, the Zio consistently connected to the network and held onto two bars. In the Newark, N.J., area, Cricket only provides 1xRTT service. The 1x network worked fine for voice calls. I was able to make calls without any problems. Text and picture messages came through fine, though sometimes there was a short delay.
Due to the lack of 3G in all the areas I tested the Zio, we are unable to equivocally state how well it performs under EVDO Rev. A conditions.
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Cricket does not provide coverage in my area of New Jersey, so the Zio was roaming on different networks during the test period.
The few phone calls we were able to connect were of fairly poor quality. Again, without Cricket's own network providing coverage, it is hard to say if this is the phone's fault or the network's. Earpiece and speakerphone volume were both acceptable, but calls were fraught with static, noise, and echoes. Ringers and other alerts could be set to good levels, making the Zio easily heard from another room in a somewhat noisy household. Vibrate strength was good enough that most alerts will be noticed with the phone in your pocket.
Battery life of the Zio was about as good as most Android handsets. I was able to get more than a day out of it under most circumstances (despite the roaming). It's possible that sticking to 1x when roaming extended the Zio's battery life a bit. But with Wi-Fi on and my Gmail synced to the Zio, it still managed to get through an entire day (7AM - 11PM) with enough juice to make it to lunch the next day. I would expect most users will want to charge the Zio every night.
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