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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Say hello to the YotaPhone 2, an Android phone with a normal LCD screen on one side and -- exotically -- an e-ink display on the back, which you see here.

It's the second attempt by Russian firm Yota at making this two-faced phone. This second generation has a wealth of upgrades to the design and overall specs.

It's available to preorder today in the UK and the rest of Europe for the princely sum of £550. There's no official word yet on when it will reach the US and Australia, but a direct price conversion would be $860 and AU$1,025, respectively.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

From the front, it looks like a pretty standard 5-inch Android phone.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's around the back where it gets interesting. That's an e-ink display, which is the same technology used on e-book readers such as Amazon's Kindles.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Displays using e-ink technology are extremely battery efficient as they only use power when they refresh what's on the screen.

The YotaPhone 2's rear display has had a resolution increase from its predecessor, making it sharper to look at. It's fully touch-enabled as well, making it much easier to use.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It has several display modes, the first of which can be seen here. There are four panels available onto which you can pop widgets like the time, date, weather and favourite contacts.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Alternatively, you can have the e-ink side mirror what's on the LCD side, meaning you can swipe around the Android interface exactly as you normally would. Except much more slowly. And in black and white.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Yota Manager app lets you customise what's on the back display.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Pressing and holding the home button on the front will let you switch to view Android on the back, or take a screenshot of whatever's on the LCD screen and display it instantly on the back -- it'll remain there even if the battery dies.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The design has been radically changed too. It's slimmer, has rounded corners and the back is gently curved, which makes it comfortable to hold.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There's an 8-megapixel camera on the back.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's running stock Android, so Yota hasn't put any kind of changes to Google's interface.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's Android version 4.4.3 KitKat, which isn't the most up to date version -- that's 5.0 Lollipop -- and Yota doesn't have a firm date on when an update will arrive.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The curved corners are far more attractive than the clunky, square design of the predecessor.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The speaker is found on the bottom.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You can pop key apps on the back panel. The most useful will likely be the Kindle app for reading e-books, as Yota's own e-book service is miserably understocked.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The other display mode is called YotaCover. It displays photos from your own image gallery, as well as icons to show notifications.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Running low on power on your way to meet someone? Take a screenshot of the map and put it on the back screen. When your phone dies, the map will still be there for you to follow.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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