Helio Kickflip review: Helio Kickflip

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Helio Kickflip is a very attractive phone with a nice swivel design. It features a beautiful display, a 2-megapixel camera with flash and a 4X digital zoom, a music and video player, a user-friendly interface, EV-DO support, and great audio quality. It also comes with tight MySpace integration, plus an optional newsfeed aggregator.

The Bad The Helio Kickflip lacks Bluetooth and instant-messaging options--especially disappointing in light of the high price tag. Helio's download store doesn't offer music at this time, and the Helio on Top aggregator doesn't allow the manual addition of feeds. We also experienced subpar call quality with the Kickflip.

The Bottom Line The attractive Helio Kickflip offers high-end features, such as a 2-megapixel camera and EV-DO support, and is the better phone of the carrier's two offerings. Unfortunately, it's plagued by the lack of Bluetooth and instant-messaging options; plus, the call quality is subpar.

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Helio Kickflip


Editor's Note: As of August 2006, Helio has released an update to the Kickflip that adds an instant-messaging feature to the phone. It was not available at the time of this review.

Along with the Hero, the Kickflip is one of two models released by brand-new cell phone carrier Helio, which launched in May 2006. A joint effort by EarthLink and Korea-based SK Telecom, Helio is a mobile virtual network operator that rides on Sprint's high-speed EV-DO network, while offering its own line of phones and services. It appears to be targeting the younger crowd with its hip marketing campaign focused on Web and multimedia features, as well as the phones' unique and stylish user interface. Helio also ups its youth appeal with a feature exclusive to its phones: integrated access to the mobile version of MySpace, the popular social networking site. Manufactured by Korean company VK Mobile, the Kickflip shares many similarities with the Hero in terms of features but certainly not in design. It's definitely the slimmer and sexier of the two and is probably the one to get if you're considering a Helio phone. The Kickflip costs $250, which we find rather expensive, especially when you factor in Helio's monthly fees and its target demographic.

Helio Kickflip
The Helio Kickflip has a cute, curvy design.

The cute and curvy Helio Kickflip is one of the more fashionable phones we've seen to date. Perhaps taking some style points from the iPod, the Kickflip has a very minimalist body; it's pearly white with silver accents around the sides, and its front face is graced by only its large display when closed. While the Kickflip won't compete with the Razr in terms of thinness, it's a pocketable phone, measuring 3.88 by 1.96 by 0.98 inches and weighing 4.47 ounces. Its rounded corners and overall curves resulted in a cozy feel in the hand, though when open, it feels a little awkward held up to the ear. The Kickflip lives up to its name; the phone's swiveling action results in a very satisfying "kick" when it swings open and close, either to the right or to the left.

Helio Kickflip
The Helio Kickflip has dedicated music player buttons.

As we mentioned, the display on this phone is quite large, measuring about 2.2 inches diagonally. Showing off 262,000 colors and a 240x320 resolution, the QVGA screen is marvelously sharp and saturated with color. Unfortunately, it didn't fare so well in sunlight, where we were hard-pressed to see anything without shielding the screen. On the left spine of the phone are the volume buttons, a TV-out port, and a USB port, while the bottom has a Micro SD card slot and a headset jack. The right spine is home to a dedicated camera button, as well as music player controls such as rewind, play/pause, and fast-forward. The latter gives the Kickflip an advantage over the Hero, which doesn't have dedicated player buttons. On the back of the phone, you'll find the camera lens with a flash. Sitting on top of the lens is the macro mode toggle, which you can turn on to take better close-up shots--a great feature not normally found on camera phones. There's also a self-portrait mirror on the back, but it's accessible only when the phone is open.

Helio Kickflip
The Helio Kickflip's camera has a macro mode toggle, a flash, and a self-portrait mirror.

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Where to Buy

Helio Kickflip

Part Number: HDW-VKA000001
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 198 min
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X
  • Combined with With digital camera
  • Service Provider not specified
  • Weight 4.4 oz
  • Diagonal Size 2.2 in
  • Sensor Resolution 2 pixels