Kyocera Jax S1300 (Virgin Mobile) review: Kyocera Jax S1300 (Virgin Mobile)

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The Good The Kyocera Jax is compact and easy to use. Its feature set includes voice dialing.

The Bad The Kyocera Jax's design isn't durable and its display is low-resolution. Also, call quality was variable.

The Bottom Line The Kyocera Jax is a functional cell phone, but there are better basic handsets in Virgin mobile's lineup.

5.6 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

The Kyocera Jax for Virgin Mobile is the opposite of the carrier's Kyocera X-tc. While the X-tc offers a midrange feature set and a full keyboard for texting, the Jax is just a simple handset for making calls. The basic candy bar design holds no surprises and the feature set offers little beyond the standard personal organizer. Call quality is variable, so we'd only recommend it for very occasional use. On the upside, you can get it for as cheap as $9.99.

The Kyocera Jax couldn't have a simpler design. The candy bar handset is basically a black rectangle with little to distract from its straight lines and sharp corners. The plastic skin doesn't feel sturdy, so the danger-prone should be careful. We also noticed that the battery cover wobbled just a bit. At 4.29 inches by 1.73 inches by 0.51 inch and 2.5 ounces, the Jax is portable and lightweight.

The Jax has a minimalist design.

The 1.8-inch display supports just 65,000 colors (160x128 pixels). Its low resolution means that graphics aren't very sharp and colors are pretty muted. The menus, available in grid and list styles, are intuitive. You can change the display's brightness, contrast, and backlighting time. The volume rocker on the left spine is too thin for our tastes. It is easy to find when on a call, but it could be bigger. On the right spine you'll find a 2.5mm headset jack and a microUSB charger port.

The Jax's battery cover felt like it could pop off without warning.

The navigation array is a mixed bag. While the circular toggle and central OK button are spacious and easy to use, the remaining controls are small. They include two soft keys, a dedicated speakerphone button, a back key, and the Talk and End/power controls. The keypad buttons have their good and bad points as well. While the keys are raised above the surface of the phone, their plastic feel didn't do great for banging out long texts. The keys are backlit for dialing in the dark.

The Jax's volume rocker is too thin.