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printed October 20, 2014
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Review: Kyocera Milano for Sprint

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The Milano, named after the milano cookie in part because of its shape, has obviously been to the buffet table at Guisseppe's a few too many times. It is a chubby little phone. Despite its strengths, the Milano is not all that much to look at and is somewhat lacking when it comes to a sense of fashion.

The Milano is the exact same size and shape as a bar of soap. It is squat, wide, and thick. The curved surfaces and soft-touch finish help it feel comfortable in the hand, though. It's not too heavy, but it is no lightweight, either. It will fit in most pockets, but due to the size you'll probably always be able to feel it there.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The build quality is good, and everything about the Milano feels as though it is put together well. I can't say I like the huge, gaping seam that separates the two halves of the phone, but that's a design issue and not a manufacturing one.

The front of the phone is fairly small. Below the display, there are four physical buttons for accessing the standard Android controls. These buttons are tucked too closely to the bottom edge for my tastes and are unnecessarily small. There's plenty of wasted real estate above them. Otherwise, it is nice to have physical buttons on the front, and the action and feedback of them is good.

The left side of the Milano houses the volume toggle and micro-USB port. The volume toggle is a bit thin and has mushy travel and feedback. The microUSB port is covered by enormous hatch, which must be pried off to plug the phone in.

Kudos to Kyocera for including a physical camera button on the right edge of the Milano. Too few phones include camera buttons these days. The single-stage camera button has a slightly rounded shape and provides excellent travel and feedback. Ditto for the power/lock button, which is on the top of the Milano. On top, you'll also find a 3.5mm headset jack that works with most stereo headphones.

The top half of the Milano slides open easily, and produces a satisfying "thock" thanks to spring assistance. The slider mechanism is solid, and wasn't loose or movable in directions it shouldn't move.

The physical QWERTY keyboard has four rows of keys, which are aligned in a grid rather than offset. The entire surface of the keyboard is covered with a soft-touch finish, which I find helpful as it keeps your thumbs from slipping from key to key. The overall feel of the keyboard is good, and the keys all have satisfying travel and feedback. There is plenty of space between the keys, and it feels roomy and not squished. The keyboard includes four direction keys for on-screen cursor control, as well as a dedicated "@" button. You have to use the function key to get at the numbers and other special characters.

The battery cover peels off easily enough. Kyocera committed a no-no, however, and stuck the memory card slot underneath the battery.

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