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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Review after 1 week of use
I haven't had the phone for very long, but I feel after continuous use of a week involving this phone I can at least pass off a good review for this phone.
I'm not completely new to smartphones and the scene. While I have only had 1 smartphone prior to this (LG Ally) which ran 2.2, I have rooted, modded, etc... the heck out of it. I installed Velocity ROM 1.4.something on it which was basically as close to ICS as you could get on the old hardware, so I had that background as well. I bought my Kyocera phone from Sprint after hearing they were formally Sanyo, and I have been using Sanyo phones from Sprint for about a decade now. The last Sanyo phone I had was the Incognito (my fiance recently got the Innuendo).
This is an entry-level smartphone, which I knew walking into it. You can text, e-mail, call, browse the web. While you can play games on this with relative ease, expect it to drain the battery. The camera on it is 3.2MP, which if you're like me and don't care to have hi-def microscopic pictures it should suffice. The only issue I've really had with the camera myself has been no auto-focus, which has hurt apps like barcode scanners.
Overall, it doesn't come with much bloatware (i.e.: ThinkOffice), but has some run of the mill Sprint apps like Sprint ID which you can remove from the launcher.
Compared to my Incognito, my fiance said she could hear me a lot more clearly on the Rise. Which I can only assume is also true compared to the Ally but no real way to test that one. I've been able to call people with a lot of background noise going on and the other end being able to hear me just fine.
The speaker phone is pretty nice in that with noise cancellation you don't have to right up to the piece to talk. Other than that, not much to say as it makes calls just fine and I have no problem hearing the other person at all.
Rating: 4.5/5 (not a 5 for a reason given later)
Ease of Use
The phone stock comes with a lot of power saving features (Eco Mode to sum it all up). For example, the phone times out/goes to sleep 15 seconds of inactivity. This made my battery last the whole hour ride home from the store without even getting a notice of a low battery (it was about 30-40% when I left the store).
The camera button isn't what I'm used to, in that I have to hold it down for ~6 seconds before the camera loads up compared to the instantaneous loading of my Ally.
The screen and buttons (back, home, etc...) are responsive and I haven't had any issues in waiting for them to respond.
One of the reasons why I got this phone over the Viper is because of the QWERTY keyboard. I heard before that the buttons were a little tricky to work with, but I have fat fingers and haven't had any issues. It took me a little bit to figure out how to use the "Fn" keys (I have to hold down the Fn key then press Q to show a "1"). Other than that though, the keyboard was made more for social texting than anything. It has a key assigned just for the "@" symbol, ".com", etc...instead of having to type that stuff out.
The phone comes with Swype preinstalled for you, and I have been using that ever since I discovered the ease of it. While it doesn't always work properly (i.e.: it won't recognize "jumpin" so I have to make it "jumping") adding words to the dictionary and such is a breeze. If you've used Swype on other phones it's probably no different.
I'm not going to cover the network for Sprint, because that's different for everyone. However, I will say this: the GPS is relatively accurate. If you're in a big city it'll be easy to pick up your location. However, if you're in a small or rural city, it isn't so lucky.
My hometown is about 2-3 miles in diameter, and it says for Facebook Messenger that I'm in 1-2 towns over most of the time. However, when I'm with my fiance, who lives in a city about 10 miles+ in diameter, it's more easily able to pinpoint the location.
Speed & Responsiveness
Lastly, speed and responsiveness. My Ally had a 600 MHz processor in it with about 1GB of RAM. This phone has a 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. You can definitely tell the difference, though.
Apps (even Chrome) loads just fine on the Rise, I can run multiple apps at the same time without any slowdowns, and the keyboard pops up immediately when I want to type.
This is one thing that sold me stats wise. They report a talk time of 8.6 hours (which is obviously a variable result). While I don't talk that much, I found it quite powerful in this department.
I thought I had the phone plugged in at night (it was at about 50% charge when I did this), and when I woke up battery usage was at about 45% charge. Mind you this is after a full-day use the day before. So I decide to use the phone for the rest of the day. Just ordinary texting and browsing the web. In about 36 hours, battery usage was about 25-30%.
I did have Eco Mode on, which does a lot of gruntwork on preserving the battery, but this is still impressive for an entry level smart phone.
Depending on the services, apps, use, etc... you can most likely get a total of about 2-3 days life out of it without having to charge it again. This is comparable to my Incognito which I could get 5-6 days life out of before needing a recharge when used properly.
The overall rating for this phone is a 4.25/5. Basically as long as you're not looking for a high-end, streaming games while playing them, multimedia boombox phone, this should suite your needs. I'm not one to care about all these fancy apps and gadgets/widgets, I just wanted something I could do business with. Granted, I didn't review stuff like ringtones, video taking, etc... they're just not my cup of tea.
If you're looking for a phone to make videos with, pass on this. If you're looking for a phone to be used as a phone with benefits, at least look into it. It's a new phone and well worth the current price tag of $20 (after mail-in rebate).
It comes stock with Android 4.0.4 (at least after the store updated the phone), so when 4.1 gets pushed to it I'll be happy. Since this is a new phone, I don't see Kyocera not doing this, as there should be a good life cycle on this phone.
The reason why the call quality was lower than I would have given it is for two reasons:
1. The earpiece was a little wonky at first. By that I mean whenever I would make a call, I couldn't hear anything in the earpiece. No ringing, no voice, etc... However, it would work just fine on the speaker. However, this was fixed.
2. This doesn't involve call quality, but when I first received the phone, the screen would permenantly timeout once a day. It would still be responsive and act like it was usable, but I just couldn't see anything. This was also fixed.
I fixed both of these issues by doing this: popping off the back cover, pulling on the "pull" tab on the battery, letting the battery sit out for an hour or two, putting it back in and turning the phone on. I did this twice (once for each issue) and it seemed to have fixed both.