Kyocera Event (Virgin Mobile) review: Though only 3G, it's affordable and reliable

Kyocera Event (outdoor)
In this amply lit outdoor photo, the blue water and green grass are still bright, and various people can still be identified. Lynn La/CNET

Kyocera Event (indoor)
Dark hues are difficult to distinguish in this indoor photo, and the light from the window is blown out. Lynn La/CNET

Kyocera Event (SSI)
In our standard studio shot, you can see a noticeable amount of digital noise, but objects are still easy to make out. Josh Miller/CNET

Video recording was also respectable. Objects, both still and moving, remained in focus, though audio picked up a little more harshly and tinny than in real life. Furthermore, in one video I recorded outdoors, a lens flare cast a dominating green streak across the footage, though it only lasted a few seconds.

Performance
I tested the Event in our San Francisco offices using Virgin Mobile's network. Call quality was excellent. Maximum volume was loud, but at a reasonable level, and voices came in crisp and clear. There were no extraneous buzzing sounds or static, even during times of absolute silence; none of my calls dropped, and audio didn't cut in and out. The audio speaker fared worse, as voices came off sharp, with a bit more fuzz and static surrounding each word. In turn, I was told that I too sounded clear, my friend actually noting that I sounded louder and better than on some of the AT&T handsets I've called from.

Kyocera Event (Virgin) call quality sample

Listen now:


Virgin's 3G network isn't the fastest on the market, and that showed during my time surfing the Web on this phone. Loading the CNET mobile site took an average of 35 seconds, while loading our full site took 45 seconds. The New York Times full site took the same amount of time (45 seconds), and its mobile site clocked in at 13 seconds. ESPN's mobile site took 12 seconds, and its full site loaded in 46 seconds. On average, Temple Run 2, a 32.41MB game, took a whopping 26 minutes and 31 seconds to download. The Ookla speed test app showed me an average of 0.21Mbps down and 0.53Mbps up.

Kyocera Event Performance testing
Average 3G download speed 0.21Mpbs
Average 3G upload speed 0.53Mbps
App download (Temple Run 2) 32.41MB in 26 minutes and 31 seconds
CNET mobile site load 35 seconds
CNET desktop site load 45 seconds
Restart time 40 seconds
Camera boot time 2.13 seconds

Furthermore, there were a couple of times when data connection to the Play Store would fail, and there would be times it wouldn't start downloading an app unless I quit it and launched it again. Data times were also inconsistent. Sometimes a page would just take a few seconds to load, and other times the same site would take more than a minute to finally finish.

In general, the 1GHz processor is respectable. Playing the graphics-intense game Riptide GP, for instance, showed a low-frame rate and grainy animation. However, the app never stuttered or unexpectedly quit. Simple tasks, such as transitioning back to the home screen, changing orientation, and pinch zooming, were also carried out smoothly. On average, it took about 40 seconds to shut off and immediately turn on the device, and 2.13 seconds to launch the camera.

During our battery drain tests for talk-time, the 1,500mAh battery lasted 9.42 hours. Anecdotally, with light usage, it can certainly survive a workday without a charge. It has a reported talk time of 8.7 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, it has a digital SAR rating of 1.26W/kg.

Conclusion
The Event isn't the most feature-packed phone. Virgin has a number of handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE and the HTC Evo V 4G , which boast higher-tiered specs like Android Jelly Bean and 4G LTE. But if you want those features, you'll have to be ready to pay upward of $150.

If you're on a budget, half of Virgin's Android mobile lineup is currently under $100, and the Event and the Rise are the best of the bunch. The two handsets sport almost identical specs, but if it's a physical QWERTY keyboard phone you're looking for, then the Rise is the obvious choice.

The LG Optimus Elite is another Android device that's $10 cheaper than the Event. However, between the Event and the Elite, I'd choose the former. Yes, the Elite has a 5-megapixel camera, but unless you really care about a slight improvement in photos, the Event's shooter should serve just as well. In addition, you'll get great call quality and the newer Android 4.0 to boot.

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Where to Buy See All

Kyocera Event (Virgin Mobile)

Part Number: EVENTVRGMBL Released: Feb. 20, 2013
Low Price: $19.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Feb. 20, 2013
  • Service Provider Virgin Mobile
  • Weight 4.1 oz
  • Diagonal Size 3.5 in
About The Author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.