Kyocera Jax S1300 (Virgin Mobile) review:

Kyocera Jax S1300 (Virgin Mobile)

The Jax's phone book holds 250 contacts with room in each entry for six phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, two URLs, a street address, and notes. You can save callers to groups, but photo and ringtone caller ID is available only for groups. The Jax comes with nine ringtones and an assortment of graphics. If you want to use your own photos, you'll have to find a way to get them on the phone.

Features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, a voice memo recorder, a calendar, an alarm clock, a tip calculator, a world clock, a timer, a stopwatch, a memo pad, and a calculator. Voice dialing is an unexpected bonus, but the feature list ends there.

You can personalize the Jax with a variety of color themes, banners, wallpaper, and screensavers. More options and additional ringtones are available from Virgin's VXL Internet portal over the WAP 2.0 Web browser. The Jax comes with one game (Brick Attack), but you can always buy more titles.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) in San Francisco. As a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), the Jax operates on Sprint's network. Call quality was decent on the whole, though it was not without its problems. On the upside, the signal was strong and free of interference. Also, voices sounded natural most of the time.

On the downside, the volume was rather low. It wasn't a problem when speaking inside, but we had trouble hearing in noisy environments. Even worse, when we turned the volume up to the highest levels, the audio was distorted.

On their end, callers said we sounded fine, though a couple of our friends reported that the Jax picked up a fair amount of wind noise. All could tell that we were using a cell phone, but that's not unusual. Speakerphone calls were just adequate. We could hear well enough, but the sound was rather tinny. The Jax has a rated battery life of 3.3 hours talk time and 8.3 days standby time. Our tests showed a talk time of 2 hours and 56 minutes.

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