|Page 2 of 2 <|
Microsoft Kin One: Fun Software, Clunky Design
Overall, I was quite impressed with the Kin One's 5-megapixel camera. My outdoor snapshots looked terrific with bright, natural colors and sharp details. The camera handled zooming well, too. Even when I zoomed as much as I could (the Kin One has 8x digital zoom), my subjects still looked pretty sharp.
The Kin One sports a fairly powerful flash. Faces were nicely highlighted without being completely blown out. I can see the Kin One being an ideal companion for concerts as you can snap quality pictures and easily share them with your friends or social networks.
Video clips are automatically capped at one minute, which is a bit disappointing. While recording, you'll see a counter that tells you how much time you have left on your video. Playback looked pretty good, however.
Photos and videos are automatically uploaded to the Kin Studio (more on that below) and you can choose to automatically geotag all photos or on a one-by-one basis.
When you capture photos or videos on your Kin phone, they're automatically uploaded to the Kin server. You can then log into your Kin Studio account on your PC to view and share your media--no USB cables or microSD cards to hassle with and no tedious uploading procedures. This is an ideal feature for the non-tech-savvy audience Microsoft seems to be targeting with these phones.
But there's one disturbing problem with the Kin Studio: You can't delete photos off your phone without deleting them from the Kin Studio. In some ways, Microsoft's explanation for implementing this makes sense. If a user wants to delete, say, an incriminating photo from a bar the night before, they probably want it completely erased from existence. But if you're simply deleting photos to free up some storage on your phone, this is a big problem since the Kin One's memory is restricted to 4GB (no microSD support). Realistically, 4GB of memory really isn't enough to hold all of your photos, videos and music.
I also wish there was some sort of photo editing or video editing software built into the studio. To edit a clip or photo, you have to download it to your PC first, edit it in a third-party program, then re-upload to the Kin Studio to share with your friends.
The OS was a bit sluggish while I was navigating through various menus. Scrolling through my long list of contacts wasn't the smoothest experience; the phone stuttered a bit as it loaded my contacts' information.
Call quality was clean over the Verizon Network. My contacts heard me loud and clear-even while I was standing on a busy street corner. My 3G service never dropped as I traveled all over the city of San Francisco.
The Kin One has an interesting position in Verizon's line-up. It is more affordable than the network's high-end smartphones, like the HTC Droid Incredible and Motorola Droid, but doesn't have nearly as many features or customization options. It will definitely satisfy social networkers-but possibly only to a certain degree. The lack of apps and limitations within the OS might put off even the most novice smartphone users. And with sub-$100 smartphones also available on the network, like the Palm Pixi Plus ($30 with a two-year contract), it is hard to say how successful the Kin One (or the Kin Two) will be.