Kyocera has partnered with Virgin for quite a number of phones, including the Kyocera Switch Back and the Kyocera Slider Sonic. Now Kyocera has yet another phone with Virgin Mobile, the Kyocera Oystr. So named because of its pearly-white exterior, there's not much else to the Oystr aside from basic features, but that should be enough for those who want a phone without all the bells and whistles. The Oystr is currently available for $29.99.
As we mentioned, the Oystr has a pearly-white exterior that's reminiscent of its namesake. It also has some black accents and smooth, rounded corners. Measuring at 4.3 by 2 by 1 inches, the Oystr is a compact handset that fits easily in a pants pocket. It feels great in the hand and cradles comfortably when held against the ear. It has a headset jack and a stubby antenna on top, while a volume rocker rests on its left spine. We're a little disappointed, however, that the Oystr doesn't have an external screen to facilitate caller ID. As a result, you must open the phone to see who your callers are.
Speaking of displays, the small and lackluster internal display was a letdown. It measures 1.75 inches diagonally, and though it supports 65,000 colors, it simply doesn't compare to other cell phone displays with similar specifications. We did find the user interface easy to understand, and we liked that you could change the menu style to icon or list view. You can change the contrast and backlight timer, but you can't change the font size or the brightness of the display.
Underneath the display are the navigational controls, which consist of two soft keys and a five-way toggle that doubles as shortcuts to your Virgin account, text messaging, recent calls, and Virgin XL, Virgin's Web portal. Below those keys are the Talk key, a dedicated speakerphone button, a Back button, and the End/Power button, followed by the number keypad. All the keys were tactile, rounded, raised above the surface, and really easy to press and dial by feel.