The Good The Kyocera Switch Back has a full QWERTY keyboard, multiple messaging options, a VGA camera, a speakerphone, voice dialing, and decent call quality.
The Bad The Kyocera Switch Back is bulky and has a cumbersome design. It suffers from poorly designed buttons and controls, as well as a tiny external display.
The Bottom Line We had some serious design complaints with the Kyocera Switch Back, but the QWERTY keyboard, youth-friendly features, and decent call quality should appeal to the text-crazed teenager.
Kyocera Switch Back (Strobe)
Virgin Mobile gets another first with the Kyocera Switch Back. Although it initially seems like a normal if oddly shaped candy bar phone, a closer inspection reveals that it opens lengthwise to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. Perfect for text-crazed teens, the Switch Back (a.k.a. Strobe) offers a set of youth-friendly features, such as a VGA camera, Java support for gaming, instant and multimedia messaging, and a wireless Web browser. Add the prepaid Virgin Mobile service and a selection of exclusive MTV content, and you get a perfect match for kids and hipsters under 25. After all, it's not often you get a keyboard on something other than a smart phone. The speakerphone and the voice dialing may tempt older consumers to take a look as well, but they'll likely be put off by the bulky design, the tiny external display, the minuscule keys, and the lack of higher-end features, such as Bluetooth. At $149, the Kyocera Switch Back is on the higher end of Virgin's price scale, but it's a fair cost for what you get.
In order to accommodate the keyboard, the Kyocera Switch Back measures a bulky 4.25 by 2.05 by 0.95 inches and weighs 4.1 ounces. Although it's thicker than the typical candy bar handset, it's actually thinner than other keyboard-equipped phones, such as the LG F9200 and the LG VX9800.
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