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Hands-On: Kyocera Brio for Sprint

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Sep 14, 2011, 11:11 PM   by Eric Zeman
updated Sep 15, 2011, 8:09 AM

Updated: cleaned up text

This candybar feature phone from Kyocera has a portrait QWERTY keyboard, 1.3-megapixel camera, Buetooth 2.0, microSD support, email, messaging, and Family Locator. But how does it feel?

The Kyocera Brio is a slab-style QWERTY phone for Sprint. It mimics the basic BlackBerry form factor with its physical keyboard and smallish screen. While it is compact, comfortable to hold, and feels reasonably good in the hand, this handset is no smartphone.

 

Kyocera Brio

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The materials of the Brio are decent, but not great. They come off feeling a bit cheap. The overall fit and finish of the hardware is less than we've come to expect from near-final or final hardware for the Sprint network.

It is a bit on the thick side, but is still pocketable thanks to its smallish height and width. The controls on the side feel pretty good, but could be better. I liked the overall feel of the side keys, and they were easy to find.

There is an odd-shaped cluster of controls below the screen. There are six buttons altogether, with three on either side of the d-pad. They are triangular in shape and are mashed together in an odd pattern. Together, the six form the soft keys, send/end keys, and back/home keys. At least the buttons have a good feel to them when pressed. The d-pad feels good, and all the directionals work well.

I can't say the same for the QWERTY keyboard. It is spaced well and looks good, but the feel is way, way off. The buttons are mushy, have a lot of side-to-side travel and just don't work well. In some on-site tests, we made plenty of mistakes whilst typing out some test phrases.

The Brio is a feature phone and runs the same old Java-based operating system we've seen from Sprint for years now. The software tools are basic, and the grid-style main menu is a cinch to figure out. It is functional, but it offers nothing exciting or remarkable.

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