This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
First Look: The YotaPhone: An Android smartphone with an e-ink second display
About Video Transcript

First Look: The YotaPhone: An Android smartphone with an e-ink second display

3:05 /

The YotaPhone is an Android smartphone with an e-ink second display slapped on its back. Check out our video review to see what this bizarre concept is about.

Do you like the idea of having your phone constantly display notifications but don't want your battery life to drain away in hours? If so, the YotaPhone might be up your street. It's an Android smartphone with a regular 4.3-inch LCD on one side, and an E Ink second display on the other. Having two screens might seem like a bizarre concept. But it's not actually a bad idea. E Ink displays on backlit-like LCDs and don't constantly refresh, so they use only a tiny amount of power. Instead of having your battery-destroying LCD screen always showing notifications, you can instead see them appear on the rear E Ink display, which remains always on. The second screen is just not for notifications, either. You can view your Twitter and Facebook feeds, use it to display photos to personalize your phone, and use it as an eBook reader as you would with an Amazon Kindle. Certainly an interesting idea, but the YotaPhone is far from perfect. For one, the E Ink display is pretty poor-quality, making small text look fuzzy, and it has a nasty habit of showing a faint ghost of the previous image every time it refreshes. Crucially, though, there's very little software that's designed to work with the second screen. YotaPhone has access to its own eBook store, but it's well fully under start, and more popular services like Kindle or Kobo won't work properly on the E Ink screen. Your Facebook and Twitter feeds can be shown by YotaPhone's internet hub application. It shows a very basic feed, which you need to load up on the main screen before flipping around to the back, which is a rather clunky process. I also found the feeds wouldn't automatically update with new posts. There's a notes app that will show up on the back, which I found quite handy for keeping shopping list permanently on screen while strolling the food aisles. The rest of the phone isn't going to excite the serious tech fans among you. Its screen has an acceptable 1280x720 pixel resolution, has an underwhelming 1.7 gigaHertz dual core processor under the hood, and it's all wrapped up in a rather chunky, plain-looking body. There are no physical navigation keys on the front. Instead, you make your way around by performing a series of gestures on a touch panel beneath the screen. It's not an ideal solution as you, of course, need to actually remember what each gesture does. I also find the panel to be a bit unresponsive, forcing me to repeat the gesture more carefully on numerous occasions. On the back of the phone is a 30-megapixel camera. The YotaPhone's rear E Ink screen provides a handy way of being able to always see notifications or read eBooks without destroying your battery life. As a concept, I'm definitely sold. But the poor quality of the display, the lack of third-party support for second screen apps, and the underwhelming specs all around means this attempt just isn't up to scratch. If YotaPhone can use a better quality E Ink display and work much more closely with developers, this next-generation device might well be worth checking out. I'm Andrew Hoyle for CNET, and this is the YotaPhone.

New releases

This umbrella shoots air to keep...
5:41 October 17, 2014
This week on Crave, we get a look at the Air Umbrella, which takes a highly unusual approach to keeping you...
Play video
Apple's iPad Air 2 and iMac 5K...
5:02 October 17, 2014
Apple makes solid upgrades across their product line at their iPad and Mac event, but it's pretty clear they...
Play video
Pricey Sylvania LED not the brightest...
1:37 October 17, 2014
Look further than this expensive bulb if you want a high-lumen LED.
Play video
The 404 Show 1,567: Teens deal...
45:07 October 17, 2014
It's a super clean show today! We'll talk about the real life social implications of "FOMO," interesting data...
Play video
Apple SIM could mean big changes...
2:55 October 17, 2014
Apple's new iPads make it easy to switch carriers, Will.i.am debuts his version of a smartwatch, and CBS joins...
Play video
Best selfie phones
2:54 October 17, 2014
For the unabashedly narcissistic, five phone for selfie pros.
Play video
The LG G3 S is a low-end phone...
2:40 October 17, 2014
Check out our video review of the LG G3 S, a 5-inch Android phone with low-end specs, but the same design...
Play video
Samsung offers extra help, silent...
1:54 October 17, 2014
A new version of Samsung's 11.6-inch Chrome OS laptop comes with direct access to support, sturdier construction...
Play video