Review: Kyocera DuraXV LTE for Verizon Wireless
The external display includes a large clock with the date, and status indicators such as battery and signal strength. Incoming messages and calls will light it up, as will other notifications such as calendar alerts. You can scroll through messages, notifications, your missed call history using a combination of the top-right button and the volume toggle. Â
As for actual security, you can implement a PIN to lock the handset. Using this requires you to punch in the code on the dial pad every time you flip the phone open.
The DuraXV has a the kind of limited software experience you'd expect from a non-smartphone. Believe it or not, the phone's software is technically based on Android (AOSP). But it wouldn't be accurate to call this an "Android phone", because there's no way to download new Android apps (most wouldn't work without a touchscreen anyway.)
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There's one simple home screen, and it shows a large clock with the day and date on top of whatever wallpaper you've selected. The status bar lines the top of the screen and an unchangeable set of app shortcuts lines the bottom (contacts, menu, messages). You can assign the d-pad buttons to open select apps, such as the gallery by pressing left or the browser by pressing right. Pressing the center button on the d-pad opens the full menu.
The main menu includes just nine options: call log, messages, contacts, gallery, media center, email, browser, notifications, and tools/settings. Each of these does more or less what you expect. The call log allows you to manage all your voice calls. The gallery lets you tap into the photos and videos you may have captured with the phone or stored on a memory card.
The phone uses Verizon's MyMessages service, which supports a bit more than standard text messages (think read receipts, etc.) One bonus is that this service works over WiFi and syncs with your desktop/tablet.
The web browser is pathetic as a browsing tool, despite its speed.
I want to talk about email for a second. The phone supports AOL, Yahoo, Outlook, and Exchange email, and you can sign in with your Google account, too. The Exchange client includes business-grade email, calendar, and contacts syncing. I tapped into my work email account and was able to manage my essential PIM data quite easily with the DuraXV LTE. This is a bonus if you need to use the DuraXV LTE for work. I wouldn't suggest you file TPS reports via the DuraXV LTE, but at least you can triage your inbox.
Under the "tools" menu you'll find essentials such as the calculator, alarm, timer, stopwatch world clock, notepad, and flashlight. The "media" menu includes basic music and video players. You'll have to sideload your own music and movies, and it will all have to be DRM-free. There's no FM radio. The phone includes a sound recorder, file manager, and access to your stuff in the Verizon Cloud.
The phone supports a handful of voice commands. Quick-press the microphone button and you can bark commands such as "call home" or "send text" or "look up [name]" and the DuraXV LTE will do just that. It's a rudimentary tool. Still, it can work in a pinch.
It's a shame you can't use voice to dictate messages or emails; that would be super-handy given the limits of a numeric keypad for entering text.
Believe it or not, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor powers this phone. It has 2 GB of memory and boasts 16 GB of storage. The DuraXV LTE runs smoothly, for a feature phone.
The camera and gallery apps are basic. A quick press of the dedicated camera button launches the camera app. It takes about 2 seconds to open, which is a hair slow. You have three options from the viewfinder: go to the gallery, take a photo, or take a video. That's it. The phone takes a good 2 seconds to capture and save images. It feels laggy.
You can control just a few facets of the camera app. For example, you can choose continuous autofocus or set the focus to infinity, you can control image resolution, as well as adjust the flash, timer, review period, and shutter sounds. Â
The bare-bones camera barely makes its bones.
The DuraXV LTE captures images up to 5 megapixels in size. It's best to use the autofocus feature. Images range from soft to sharp, from over- to underexposed, and from blue to yellow in hue. Most of the time pictures are passable, but you'll surely get some stinkers here and there. Don't even bother taking pictures in low light. This isn't a phone for shutterbugs, so I'm not surprised at the mediocre camera. If you want to take a selfie, turn the phone around and say "cheese!"
The DuraXV LTE shoots video up to 720p resolution. It's acceptable for basic videography, but you need a lot of light for the best results. The footage I captured was overly grainy and dull looking.
If you want to take good photos/videos of important events for a lifetime of memories don't use the DuraXV LTE.
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