Review: Kyocera Event for Virgin Mobile USA
Virgin Mobile Live
The Event's stand-out media feature is Virgin Mobile Live, Virgin's streaming content application and service. Virgin Mobile Live offers streamed music, broadcasts, concert footage, blogs, and movies. It's an all-encompassing media service that offers bits and bytes of everything, though it's curated by Virgin Mobile. Speaking of bytes, be careful. Streamed content eats up data allotments quickly, and Virgin Mobile throttles users who exceed their data allotments. Also, given the app's dependence on the 3G network, I found it slow to react.
With respect to music, the Event has the basic Android MP3 player app, Google Play Music, and the Google Play Store if you want to purchase tracks directly from the handset. These apps function just as well on the Event as they do on other Android 4.0 handsets.
AD article continues below...
On the video front, the Event includes the stock YouTube app, the Google Play Video apps, and the Google Play Store.
The Event uses the stock Android 4.0 camera. It can be opened from the lock screen thanks to the shortcut. It opens fairly fast, but I've definitely seen faster.
All of the controls are bunched up on the right side of the viewfinder. By default, the viewfinder offers a slider for zooming in and out, but no other tool shortcuts. You have to press the settings button to get at the camera's more in-depth controls.
The camera controls allow you to adjust the color effects, and exposure; switch between several different scenes (portrait, scenery, etc.); set white balance; and toggle the flash.
The Event doesn't have autofocus nor touch-to-focus, so it takes pictures fairly fast.
The Event's camera takes crummy photos. Pictures max out at 3.2 megapixels. The lack of autofocus really hurts the results, as many of the images I took were soft and lacking clarity. Toss in an unhealthy amount of grain and the bulk of images are simply unusable. Some turned out well, those taken under a bright-and-sunny sky, for instance, but winning shots were few and far between.
The video camera is limited to capturing 800 x 480 WVGA video. Videos I shot were as poor as the still images I captured. It's fine for snagging the kids soccer practice during the day, but anything that requires delicate light sensitivity will result in a grainy, awful mess. The Event might come through in a pinch, but I'd rely on something else if you're looking to record something important.
Again, the Event uses the stock Android 4.0 tools when it comes to the gallery software. The central image library ties together all the photos associated with your Google accounts, including Google+, and you can sync them to the device for offline access if you want.
When you dive into individual libraries, the images are arranged in vertical columns. Poke the image you want to manipulate, and it will load after several seconds.
Editing features include the ability to add effects, such as highlights, shadows, and so on; add filters such as fisheye effects; adjust colors and tones with sepia, B&W, etc. The last tool lets you crop the image, fix red-eye, adjust for face glow, straighten images, rotate or flip them, and sharpen them.
As previously noted, the Event has barely any bloatware. In fact, aside from stock Google apps, all you'll find is Virgin's MyAccount app and Mobile iD. If you choose to install the Mobile iD packs, be sure you know you're begging for bloatware.
Bluetooth worked perfectly on the Event. The device connected to mono headphones, stereo headsets, other smartphones, and PCs without issue. Phone calls sent to my car's stereo system sounded very good, and music passed through stereo Bluetooth speakers sounded excellent.
The stock Android 4.0 browser and Google Chrome, both of which are on board, are quite good. I find they each work well and render both full HTML and mobile-optimized sites nicely. They can both be a little but pokey, though, thanks to the limits of Sprint's 3G network.
When you press the screen lock key, the time is displayed in a pencil-thin font close to the top of the display. It's way too small, in my opinion. You also can't do anything to adjust its appearance. The home screen clock widget selection is pretty anemic, as well.
Google Maps and its associated navigation features are the only apps on board for helping you get from A to B. Google Maps continues to be an excellent piece of software. Using it with the Event's GPS radio worked out well for the most part. The GPS locked down my location within about 10 seconds, and was accurate to within about 50 feet. It could have been a little faster and a little more accurate, but it was good enough for most driving directions.
Review: Alcatel Idol 5 for Cricket Wireless
Alcatel's mid-range Idol 5 is a bargain for prepaid Cricket's subscribers. It combines an attractive metal-and-glass design with a near-stock version of Android Nougat and special features such as a customizable action key and stereo speakers.
Review: OnePlus 6
The OnePlus 6 is the company's latest attempt to convince you that ultra-pricey flagships are unnecessary; why spend $800 to $1000 on a phone when you can get one that's nearly as good for just over $500? The 6 is an attractive metal-and-glass device that has the latest design from OnePlus, the latest specs from Qualcomm and others, and the latest Android software from Google.
Review: ZTE Grand X 4 for Cricket Wireless
ZTE's latest low-cost Android smartphone for Cricket Wireless is the Grand X 4. This phone is well made, but offers middling specs and performance.
Boost and Virgin Mobile Score Kyocera Hydro Reach
Apr 13, 2016
Sprint's prepaid brands, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, plan to sell three low-cost smartphones in the weeks ahead, including the Kyocera Hydro Reach. The Reach (pictured) is an update to the Hydro Edge.