The Kin One and Two are two devices Microsoft made as a cut off Windows Phone 7 phones, and after using these them it seems I might not be much of a WP7 fan after all. The devices released early last month to Verizon Wireless seemed to be a promise of something new from Microsoft. Before I get too personal, let us get into the review.
These devices ship in a very nice black and green cylinder box that is cut in half with a green band holding the two pieces together. When you take the band off you see a host of things other than the phone. The package includes the USB cable for syncing and charging your device. The USB wall adaptor, because having separate chargers and USB cables is becoming a thing of the past. Lastly the manual, that no one ever reads. These all make for a very nice package, and it makes you quite pleased when the device is well presented.
The Kin One is a very small device that makes me thing of the Palm Pre. The smartphone comes in an all black and white, pebble shaped form. When slid up, it reveals a very small and cramped QWERTY keyboard that is the only method of text entry, and for people like me with big fingers, it is not ideal. The front screen is a very small 2.6â€ display that for people that has tried or owns the HD, is a huge step down. The screen also brought me many problems when fighting to see a text massage while walking around in sunny Minnesota. Above the screen is the main speaker, along with two sensors being the light, and proximity sensors. Like the iPhone, the front is very clean, and only has one button that works to take you back, or home.
The back of the device is an all black and very nicely made cover. It has a nice grip to it, and unlike other devices, it does not hold finger prints. There is a 5 MP camera on the back that in our test takes decent pictures in great lighting, but when in direct sun light or in a dark room, you will have quite an awful image to look at. There is an available flash when you need it, but after taking those images, I cannot say I would really every find myself using it, because it does not give much help in a serious condition.
Around the device there are quite a bit of buttons. On the top there is not a button, but a 3.5 millimeter head phone jack, for those moments you get in the mood to sign up for the Zune support. There is a large Camera button, that I found badly placed because I kept pressing it to lock the device, and that frustrated me for the most part. There is the lock below the camera button, which is fairly smaller than the camera button. On the left side you see a volume rocker, that nicely blends in with the phones design.
The hardware on the Kin One is pretty good, but the inside power is better. The phone is running on a 600 MHz Tegra processor that you might figure is more power than the device needs. There is 4GB of flash memory and a 1240 mAh battery that brings decent battery life, but not anything up to HD2 standards.
The device has pretty decent hardware, but not the best for something in the price range. I cannot speak too badly of the build quality, because it is pretty good, and unlike the Kin Two, it does not look like it should be a free phone.
When choosing which of these devices to buy, it is a very simplyâ€¦ What hardware do you want? The Kin Two, being the more masculine decision, has a bigger body, full keyboard, and it even slides out. The device comes with high res 8 MP camera that in my test produces pictures that my HD2â€™s 5 MP could easily beat. The video quality is suppose to be 720P, and is, but it is surely not worth having a 720P video come out of a Lens that small.
The Kin Two has a larger screen than the Kin One, but if you know the HD2 or use it, the screen looks like a 3 Inch display. It is multi touch enabled, so you can pinch/zoom and all that good stuff. Around the screen there is a mic, speaker, light sensor, proximity sensor, and more. The camera button is placed on the right side, so if you are taking a picture, it is most likely going to be in landscape mode.