Review: Kyocera Echo
Technically, the Echo has two, separate 3.5-inch displays. When positioned next to one another, they create the illusion of a single, larger display. Individually, these two 3.5-inch panels look about on par with most similar-sized Android handsets. They offer good pixel density, and are bright and colorful. In side by side comparisons, the two displays look exactly the same; you can't tell them apart. I did notice that they wash out a bit when outdoors in sunlight, but many phones suffer the same thing. The Echo, however, was still readable and I didn't have trouble using it as a camera even under bright sunlight.
Signal performance is all over the map with the Echo. It never consistently held onto Sprint's network. Sitting on my desk, it would show 5 bars, then drop to 2, then go back up to 4, then dwindle down to 0. In my basement, it alternately dropped the network entirely, and then displayed full signal strength. The Echo dropped a number of calls, and several required redialing before they could go through. Data connections were also spotty. Sometimes it connected right away, other times it stalled badly. Signal performance was quite poor on a trip into Manhattan. For example, the Echo took a long time to reconnect to the network after emerging from subway tunnels.
Call quality with the Echo was spotty. Earpiece volume was plenty loud, but calls suffered from a lot of scratchy static. I had the sound drop out entirely a number of times, and the clarity was simply not good. Those with whom I spoke said that I sounded distant. Ringers, alerts and other notifications are plenty loud, though. The speakerphone offers plenty of volume, but that volume does little more than amplify the awful quality of calls. The vibrate alert is crazy strong.
The Kyocera Echo ships with a spare battery and a battery charger. That should serve as a warning right there. The included battery is only 1370mAh, which seems anemic for a device with two 3.5-inch displays. I was able to drain the Echo's battery from a full charge to 100% dead in just three hours when using both screens. If you ignore the second screen completely and stick with just one, you'll do much better. I got nearly a full day out of it (from 7AM to 9PM). Mixed used of both screens — which is what I expect will be the "normal" use case — killed off the battery in about 8 hours. That's just not good enough, but tells us why the Echo comes with an extra battery. My advice? Make sure the spare is always charged.
Our hands-on impressions of the innovative new Kyocera Echo Android smartphone for Sprint. See what dual screens can do for you.
Feb 7, 2011
Sprint and Kyocera today announced the Echo, a new Android 2.2 smartphone that has a unique, two-display design. The device has dual 3.5-inch displays that are attached to a pivoting hinge, allowing one display to be hidden behind the other or both displays placed next to one another.
Aug 1, 2011
Kyocera has confirmed to Phone Scoop that a software update will be distributed to the Echo smartphone starting today. The device brings most features of Android 2.3 Gingerbread to the Echo.
Mar 21, 2011
Kyocera today launched the Kyocera Android Developer Program, which it hopes will entice developers to target its Android devices, such as the dual-display Echo. The program contains the tools developers need, such as a software developers kits, so that developers may create applications optimized for the Echo and its two displays.
Mar 14, 2011
Sprint today announced that it will offer the Kyocera Echo dual-screened Android device for sale starting April 17 for the price of $199.99. It will be available on all Sprint retail channels on that date.