Review: Kyocera Jet for Amp'd
The Jet’s display clocks in at 1.9 inches and 176×220 pixels, and it does a fine job of delivering Amp’d Live content. The bright backlight makes everything easy to read, and also has a secondary, lower-power setting in order to save battery. A few seconds after the slide has been shut, the backlight takes one small but noticeable step back in brightness. Another thirty seconds after that, the backlight shuts off entirely.
The display performed very well in all lighting conditions, providing good contrast and clean easy-to-read text. Only in direct sunlight was the Jet's display slightly washed out, but this is hardly an issue given that this is the case with most phones.
The Jet's signal strength allowed us to make and receive calls in all but absolute dead zones. Our steel-box Apple store barely impacted the quality or strength of calls. Although the signal quality was excellent and consistent, the indicator is not quite as reliable. The number of bars displayed would fluctuate and even disappear in some places. But as long as the EV-DO data logo was displayed, even when the phone displayed zero bars, we were still able to initiate calls, and once we had connected one or two signal bars appeared.
EV-DO network access was equal to, if not more reliable than when making calls. There were less than a half-dozen moments during our extended testing when the Amp'd Live service reported a network error. As mentioned before, there were times when data network access maintained while there were zero bars of indicated signal strength.
While the Jet provides superior network access for both calls and data use, the conflicting indicators does make things somewhat confusing. The visual feedback needs to more accurately reflect when the phone is able to make calls, and when it cannot.
One of the Amp’d Mobile selling points is the full length song downloads, and it is one of the highlights of the Jet. Music played back on the phone comes through in crisp stereo. The highest possible volume does produce noticeable distortion, but one step below maximum and songs come through loud and clear. While the music player is distortion-free at all but the highest volume, the sound that accompanies video suffered from a much greater amount of distortion. The conclusion drawn from this is that the hardware is capable of producing a higher quality of sound than any videos include.
The battery in the Jet proved to be the most disappointing part of the Amp’d experience. During a car ride, we watched a UFC fight streamed as it happened on Amp’d Live. The battery was exhausted in just under 90 minutes. This sort of life, while unfortunate, was somewhat expected as the constant connection to the EV-DO network requires a lot of power, not to mention the power necessary to render the video. Using the Jet only for occasional calls, texts, and a half-dozen photos, the battery was drained in less than 20 hours. This is extremely disappointing performance, as it wasn't possible during our testing to go a full day without having to recharge the Jet, even without making use of the Amp'd Live service. Given that the Live service is a major selling point of the phone, battery performance needs to improve significantly in order for Amp'd to be successful.