Kyocera Echo Dual-Screen Android Smartphone Review
Thanks to its dual-screen design, the Kyocera Echo provides an experience that's unlike any other smartphone we've seen to date. Both screens were responsive and we definitely enjoyed the roomier keyboard that's available on the second display when using apps such as messaging and email. Both of the 3.5-inch screens were responsive and offered excellent viewing angles. Viewing the screen outside under direct sunlight proved to be quite difficult, but not impossible.
The phone comes preloaded with an 8GB microSD card. We're starting to see more and more phones ship with 16GB and larger cards, so 8GB is a little on the lean side. Nevertheless, the phone will support up to a 32GB card, so you're welcome to expand as necessary. The microSD card slot is easily accessible from the left edge of the phone. Both the microSD card slot and the microUSB connector are covered by rubber stoppers.
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The Echo has a 5 megapixel camera with video capabilities. Overall, images were sharp and crisp. The flash occasionally washed out a close subject indoors, but that's not uncommon for a camera phone with LED flash. Also, like other camera flashes, the distance the flash on the Echo can illuminate is limited. The Echo does not have a forward-facing camera for video chat.
Kyocera rates the Echo's talk time at up to 7 hours. Due to the fact that two screens require double the power of a single screen, we expect that the Echo will drain batteries faster than other devices. Indeed, when we used both screens for an extended length of time, we noticed the battery drained more quickly than when using only a single screen. To make matters worse, the phone's battery seemed to drain more quickly than we would have liked even when using only a single screen.
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Thankfully, Kyocera and Sprint include not one, but two batteries as well as a separate charger for the spare battery. Although carrying a spare battery and possibly a spare charger isn't all that ideal, it's certainly better than losing power mid-day. Also, it's a tradeoff for having dual-screen capabilities.
To get another perspective on battery life, we also ran a test in which we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text. The page automatically refreshed itself every three minutes. We set the Echo's display to 50% brightness and turned off Wi-Fi. We used only one of the Echo's two displays for this test. In this test, the Echo managed to last only 170 minutes before it died, confirming our suspicions that the Echo's battery tends to drain quickly. Here's a look at how the Echo compares to a few other smartphones we've ran through the same test: