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printed October 21, 2014
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Review: Kyocera Milano for Sprint

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Screen

The Milano's display measures a tight three inches and packs a disappointing 320 x 240 pixels (QVGA). That's the same resolution that was available on the best smartphones back in 2004. Pixels are visible everywhere and the screen door effect is noticeable almost all the time. Of course, it is hard to whittle the price of a smartphone down to just $29.99 if it has a high-rez display. In other words, Kyocera had to sacrifice a better screen in favor of economics. The resolution is so poor, the Sprint logo at the top of the screen is indiscernible and looks like a tropical fish. Brightness is good, though, and the Milano was usable outdoors.

Signal

The Milano performed adequately on Sprint's CDMA network. In my office in northern NJ, it snagged the same signal strength as most Sprint devices. In and around the metro NYC region, it remained consistently connected, and never dropped Sprint's signal entirely. During my testing period, the Milano didn't drop any calls, nor did I miss any. It survived the NJ vault test (local super market), and allowed me to make calls and send texts even when it showed no bars. Data sessions, however, required the MIlano to show at least one bar in order to connect (not unlike LG Marquee). Speeds were a bit on the slow side for an EVDO phone.

Sound

Call quality was very good. I was pleased with the clarity of voices coming through the earpiece, which, by the way, is capable of eardrum-threatening volumes. Even set to max, it didn't distort or break up. I didn't notice any hissing, noises, or other nonsense getting in the way of conversations. Calls routed through the spearkerphone were clear, but the volume wasn't as good as other phones we've tested lately. The vibrate alert and ringtones were a bit on the weak side, too. You'll easily hear the phone from a room away, but if you're several rooms away or on a different floor, you might miss it.

Battery

The Milano has excellent battery life, probably due in part to the smaller, low-rez screen. During my tests, it consistently lasted 36 hours between charges. That means you can unplug it on Monday at 7AM and go to 7PM Tuesday without a problem. No matter how I used the Milano - voice calls, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, messaging, browsing - battery life remained the same.

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