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printed April 16, 2014
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Review: Helio Kickflip

Form Function - Basics Function - Extras Wrap Up Comments  2  

Camera Pictures and Videos Browse / Customize Other  

Browsing

The browser makes excellent use of the crisp QVGA screen, rendering WAP sites very well. There is only one font size, but it is perfectly clear and we never felt the urge to change it.

Helio includes a number of popular sites in their WAP home page, but also allows you to visit any WAP site by entering the URL. Unfortunately, the browser does not report itself properly, so entering a URL that normally automatically forwards you to the mobile site (like phonescoop.com or google.com) does not work. At first you may think that Helio is somehow limited what sites you can visit, but they are not. If you enter the direct URL of a WAP-only site, you will be able to visit it without a problem.

We're told that the reason Helio phones don't report themselves as a WAP device is because soon you'll be able to use their phones to visit any website. Once this feature launches, you'll be able to enter a URL and Helio's servers will format desktop sites for the small screen.

Helio's own WAP site has a small issue that arises when shopping for customization content. If you are surfing through a list of ringtones or screens and choose to preview one, there is no way easy return to the list you were at using the navigation buttons. Instead you must navigate through your history to that list. Other than that, Helio's online offerings were well-rounded and easy to find using the search box at the top of every page.

Helio's mobile adaptation of MySpace is fairly complete and very easy to use. It is worth the attention it has been generating among MySpace addicts. You can read your bulletins and email, find new friends, respond to friend requests, check up on your pals, and do most other things except for listen to a band's music or watch videos.

The browser's menu is different from any of the other applications' menus, but it is most similar to the camera's. A row of icons at the top can be scrolled through using left and right on the D-pad to access four different menu categories. It is not totally obvious that the menu continues to the right, and many users we've spoken to missed the bookmark menu, which is the second one over.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Customization

While the look and feel of the menus and applications is fixed, the look of the home screen is totally flexible. We already pointed out that it can be filled with a number of options. You can also change the wallpaper with one of your own pictures or any static or animated ones you choose to download. Ringtones, either audio or video, can be assigned to all callers or just a single one.

One of the more unique aspects of Helio's service is the option for you to beg or gift content, including customization content. You can buy your friends ringtones or beg them for a game. Any content which can be purchased from Helio's site can be gifted or begged for.

In addition to buying songs and videos for download, (streaming videos are free,) you can put your own songs and movies on the Kickflip using the Media Mover. This application is required because it appears the Kickflip stores all content in a weird database format that prevents you from just dropping your own content in the memory. Helio says a software update is due out soon that will change this for at least a few media types.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

File Management

Files are managed in the application that uses them. Each application offers slightly different options for each different file type. Almost every application has access to a memory display that shows available storage on the phone as well as on the memory card.

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