Posts Tagged ‘kin’

Microsoft Kin reviews are out… too bad!

06/05/2010

You’ve probably noticed on the ‘webz today that the floodgates known as “the Kin review embargo” have opened, spewing forth impressions, opinions, analysis, and reviews for the masses to bathe in.

There is a general trend emerging, too. Something along the lines of “What have Microsoft done?”

I’ve rounded up some of the highlights thus far, for your reading pleasure:

Engadget:

…we ran into frustrating timeouts and stalls that made us want to throw the phone across the room. Overall, it’s just a deeply, deeply frustrating and inconsistent experience… If you’re going to shell out this kind of money each month, it would be foolish to even consider these devices given the much, much better options out there.

Laptop:

Unfortunately, you can’t really do much other than read your feed and post updates. For example, in the Twitter “app” you can’t see your @replies in a separate field or search. And you can’t send direct messages or retweet. Seriously.

MobileBurn:

…its user interface has bogged me down a bit; the experience is a bit too much to handle at once.

The only positive reviews I could find came from Slashgear:

First, from Michael Gartenberg:

I spent the better part of today working through the devices and I mostly like what I saw.

and then from his “Gen upload” son, Chaim:

Loop is great – making the home screen of your phone your complete social network and news feed. Spot, the ever-present dot on the bottom of your screen, allows you to share everything to anyone – through MMS, Email, or Facebook/Twitter/Myspace.

Both the Slashgear reviews seem to contradict the other reviews on most points. Diff’rent strokes, I guess.

There is one seemingly universally liked feature, however: the online syncing software dubbed “The Studio”. Sadly, the software isn’t enough to save these doomed handsets.

Some of the biggest complaints stem from the inflated price. Verizon are basically charging smartphone prices for a featurephone experience.

The reviews all seem to point to a list of common faults, including:

  • The UI – unintuitive, busy, practically useless
  • The camera – poor light metering and a flash that blows the subject out
  • The storage – 4GB on the Kin One? No SD expansion? Isn’t this 2010?
  • No chat – the social angle apparently doesn’t involve instant communication anymore
  • No apps, no games, no fun, and no calendar to see what fun your missing out on

Faults are much easier to overlook when you’re not being charged a premium, but at this price, there are much better options out there.

If you find any glowing reviews, or particularly entertaining scathing ones, please post them in the comments.

While you’re there, what are your thoughts on the devices?

Advertisements

Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two first hands-on!

12/04/2010

We’ve just spent some time handling Microsoft’s just-announced Kin One and Kin Two, and we’re not sure what to think; the keyboards have surprisingly good feel, particularly the One (think Palm Pre levels of usability on the One, for example — we wouldn’t be surprised if it was their benchmark) and the phones generally feel pretty solid. In fact, we’d go so far to say that this is a marked improvement in hardware quality for Sharp than any of its Sidekicks ever offered. Problem is, we just can’t get over the fact that the software is extremely limited in its scope — yes, we understand that it’s by design, but does this so-called “upload generation” of socially-connected teens and twentysomethings really want a phone that they can’t download games to? That’s the million-dollar question that Verizon will be answering over the next few months, it seems.

We know that the One is positioned as the slightly lower-end device on account of its 5 megapixel cam (the Two has 8) and half the internal storage, but we actually came away liking it more — it’s the only one of the two that looks truly unique, because the Two just looks like any old landscape slider smartphone (not to say that’s necessarily a bad thing). The front of both devices is graced with a single metallic button to offset an otherwise clean glossy black bezel — this button functions as Back, not Home, so if you’re multiple levels deep into the UI you’ll only be taken back one. You can still hold the button down to get back to the home screen, fortunately, and both the One and Two have dedicated camera buttons — Microsoft’s making no secret of the fact that image and video capture are a huge push for these devices.

The basic meat-and-potatoes parts of the user interface — the Loop, the Spot, and so on — work pretty smoothly, without any hiccups. The browser stuttered in places, but it wasn’t unusably bad; hopefully this is something that’ll improve over time, since the Kins support over-the-air updates. As for the interface concept, it’s

Maybe our favorite part of the device, though, was Zune Pass, which streams over WiFi or 3G. Yes, you heard us right: you can search for and stream basically anything out of the Zune Pass collection over Verizon’s EV-DO, then play it in the background while you go about your merry way. It worked really well, and the Zune UI seems to translate pretty well onto a display as small as the One’s tiny QVGA unit.

Read more at Engadget.com