Review: Kyocera Torque for Sprint
The Torque runs a stock version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It is refreshing to see the stock operating system, as sometimes manufacturer or carrier-design skins can be annoying. Only the presence of several Sprint-branded apps and widgets gives it away as a Sprint device.
The lock screen offers just two shortcuts, unlock and camera, which cannot be customized. There are five home screen panels for customization out of the box, but you can delete or add screens. The main app menu is a regular old grid of apps listed in alphabetical order. Sadly, it cannot be customized in any way. Apps may also be placed on the home screen panels inside folders, which, in the Torque's case, will be the most effective way to customize the home screens and organize app icons.
The drop-down shade provides access to notifications and the settings menu, but there are no direct shortcuts for quickly changing major settings.
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The Torque is compatible with Sprint iD Packs. If you choose, you can download and install these packs, which are bundles of apps, wallpapers, and shortcuts centered on a specific theme.
Take all these combined, and you have a somewhat flexible platform. The Torque is significantly less customizable than other Sprint devices, though.
The Torque uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor at 1.2GHz per core. It provides adequate power, but I noticed some lagging and stuttering from time to time when transitioning between home screen or opening/closing apps.
Calls and Contacts
The phone and contact apps work on the Torque just about the same as every other Android 4.0 smartphone. Smartly, Kyocera was able to work the DirectConnect call tools into the main phone app so that you can manage all your calls in the same spot on the phone.
There are the usual home screen widgets for direct contacts, as well as the a nice widget for a collection of your favorites. The bigger widget lets you access your top nine contacts and gives you a cool UI for interacting with them on the home screen. It does take some futzing to properly store DirectConnect contacts as such.
As far as messaging goes, the Torque has the stock Android tools on board. The SMS app offers nice, threaded conversations; the Gmail/email apps are great ways to manage your inbox; the Google+ and Google+ Messenger apps are good for keeping up with your G+ activity; and the Google Talk app is as powerful as ever for IM and video chats.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter is pre-installed, so you'll have to download them from the Play Store yourself.
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Kyocera was showing off the Torque at Mobile World Congress. This ultra-rugged Android smartphone claims to have it all.
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