Beyond E-Tech Duet W002 (unlocked) review: Beyond E-Tech Duet W002 (unlocked)

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MSRP: $149.99

The Good The Duet W002 has two SIM card slots and a midrange feature set.

The Bad The Duet W002 has an ill-conceived design that shows little concern for originality or usability. Call quality is just average and the performance is sluggish.

The Bottom Line The Duet W002 can take two SIM cards, but it's nothing more than a poorly conceived iPhone imitation.

5.0 Overall
  • Design 3
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

In the land of iPhone clones, the Duet W002 is the "cloniest" we've seen. Not only is it the same general shape as the iPhone, but also its menu design, even down to the icons, is a rip-off of Apple's device. In this case, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Emulating and building on another's successes is one thing, but it's quite another to offer no ideas of your own.

Like the Duet D888 and D8, the W002 has two SIM card slots, yet that remains its sole highlight. Average performance and a spastic touch-screen hamper usability on all fronts. Two SIM cards slots can be immensely helpful, but we suggest avoiding the Duet D8 and W002 touch-screen handsets in favor of the simpler D888. All of the Chinese-made Duet phones are imported by Houston-based Beyond E-tech. The W002 will run you about $150.

At 4.01 inches long by 2.15 inches wide by 0.55 inch deep, the W002 is smaller than the iPhone and it adds extra physical controls, but it does its best to resemble its idol. You'll notice the black casing with silver trim, the dominant display, and the slit-shaped speaker at the top of the phone. It's also a bit lighter than the iPhone (4.23 ounces versus 4.7 ounces), but it has a solid feel in the hand.

The 2.8-inch display is too small for a touch-screen device (we consider 3 inches to be the bare minimum). What's more, the QVGA resolution (320x2450 pixels) and color support won't blow you away. Most graphics were rather splotchy and the screen disappears in direct light. The resistive display also is rather difficult to use. You're given a stylus in the box and you can adjust the calibration, but neither tool seems to help with the accuracy. When tapping, swiping, and scrolling through lists, you'll need to make firm, deliberate moves if you want the screen to register your touch. You can adjust the wallpaper, screensaver, backlight time, and brightness, and you can turn off the accelerometer. Needless to say, there's no multitouch.

The W002's menu looks a lot like the iPhone's.

As mentioned, the menu design is taken straight from the iPhone. A series of icons sit directly on the main standby screen, thus alleviating the need for any subfolders. But what about those icons! We were astounded at just how closely some of them resemble their Apple counterparts. The Contacts, Phone, Photos, Camera, Notes, Mail, and Clock icons are the worst offenders while the Calendar, Map, Text, and Calculator icons show only the tiniest differences. In fact, the only improvement over the iPhone is that the menu will show in landscape mode. The menu spans three pages, but swiping between them wasn't easy. We don't get the point of copying the icon designs. It's not the iPhone, so why bother to imitate it so closely?

With its rectangular touch controls and five shortcut icons (for favorite contacts, recent calls, full contact list, keypad, and voice mail access), the W002's phone dialer interface is another iPhone rip-off. The numbers on the touch controls are relatively large, but the letters are tiny. The QWERTY keyboard is much too small as well. You can't comfortably use your fingers so we had to resort to the stylus. Seriously, is this 2001? Alternatively, if you like a challenge you even can use the handwriting recognition feature.

Below the display are three controls: a home button (again similar to the iPhone), and Call and End controls. The latter two aren't completely necessary since you can place and end calls on the screen. Yet, we were glad to have them since they also double as soft keys for commands that appear in the bottom-left and bottom-right corners of the display. The accuracy of the touch-screen decreases near its edges so we tended to rely on the physical controls.

The W002 has two SIM card slots.

On the top of the phone you'll find a power control, the proprietary port for the headset and USB cable, and the 2.5mm headset jack. For the ports we'd prefer the format to be Micro-USB and 3.5mm respectively. The left spine has a volume rocker and a music player shortcut, while the right spine holds a camera shutter. The camera lens and flash are located on the W002's rear face. You'll have to remove the battery to get to the SIM card slots and the microSD card slot. The W002 does not have a stylus slot, so you must secure it to the phone using the lanyard.

The W002's headset jack and charger port are on its top end.

The W002's feature set doesn't try as hard to take after the iPhone. It offers many of the goodies that you'll find on Apple's handset (sometimes more), but it packages them in a different way. Whether it's successful depends on the individual features. The phone book supports 800 contacts with room in each entry for four phone numbers, a company name, and an e-mail address. If that's not enough, each SIM card on the W002 will hold an additional 250 names and designated emergency and customer service phone numbers. You also can organize contacts into groups and pair them with one of 12 polyphonic ringtones.

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