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Kyocera Jet for Amp'd Mobile review: Kyocera Jet for Amp'd Mobile

Kyocera Jet for Amp'd Mobile

6 min read
Kyocera Jet
Mobile multimedia junkies will find plenty of eye and ear candy in the Kyocera Jet, the company's new 3G slider for newcomer carrier Amp'd Mobile. This all-black, EV-DO-enabled handset boasts a slick media player that taps into the Amp'd video and music store, plus a 128MB TransFlash card for storing all your songs and video clips. Unfortunately, the Jet is saddled with an underwhelming VGA camera, a small and annoying keypad, and a tendency to freeze at inopportune moments. While the phone's bargain-basement $100 price tag sweetens the pill--making it one of the cheapest, no-contract 3G phones we've seen--those looking for a powerhouse 3G phone from Amp'd Mobile should wait for the Hollywood, a rebranded version of Motorola's impressive E815 with a 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth, which will be available in the first quarter of 2006. The sleek and appropriately jet-black handset (an all-white version, dubbed Angel, is also available) looks like your garden-variety slider phone. Measuring about 3.9 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and weighing about 3.9 ounces, the Kyocera Jet is reasonably small and light for a phone in its class and fits easily in a jeans pocket, although we wish the stubby antenna were a bit shorter.


Kyocera Jet for Amp'd Mobile

The Good

The Kyocera Jet comes with a sharp, colorful LCD; EV-DO support; a speakerphone; a 128MB TransFlash card; built-in GPS; and access to streaming video and the Amp'd music store. It's also inexpensive for a 3G multimedia phone.

The Bad

The Kyocera Jet has small, hard-to-press keys; a submegapixel camera; and no Bluetooth or analog roaming. Plus, it has a tendency to freeze.

The Bottom Line

The Kyocera Jet is a bargain 3G multimedia phone for Amp'd Mobile but is saddled with an underwhelming VGA camera, a small and annoying keypad, and a tendency to freeze at inopportune moments.

The Kyocera Jet's black color scheme fits its name.

The Kyocera Jet's 1.9-inch, 262,000-color TFT display looked razor sharp to our eyes, with rich, detailed color in our images. We also liked the speedy animated menus, especially in the Amp'd Live channel, where the slick pages and section headings slide in and out of view. That said, we had a tough time reading the LCD in direct sunlight. Below the display are several navigation keys, including soft keys, the Talk and End keys, a Back button, and a four-way navigational keypad in the middle.

Sliding open the Kyocera Jet with our thumb (a disappointingly stiff action) reveals the blue-backlit keypad. Just above the main keypad is a one-press button that activates the built-in camera, as well as a dedicated speakerphone key that actually turns the speakerphone on before you begin a call. Unfortunately, the keys themselves are small and hard to press, and we had to squint to read the tiny letters printed on the keypad.

If you slide the Kyocera Jet shut and turn it to the left edge, you'll find the volume up/down controls, as well as a headset jack and a one-touch button for voice commands, while a dedicated camera button and a slot for the 128MB TransFlash card sit on the right edge of the phone. A plug for the included USB data cable lives on the bottom of the Jet, while on the back of the phone are an external speaker, a camera lens, and an LED flash, as well as a puny and essentially worthless self-portrait mirror. Besides the USB data cable, the Jet comes with a stereo-earbud headset (flimsy but workable) and a fold-up AC adapter.

For a $100 handset, the Kyocera Jet comes packed with a generous assortment of features, multimedia and otherwise. Starting with the basics, you get an address book (up to 500 contacts) that holds six phone numbers, two Web addresses, two e-mail addresses, and two street addresses per contact. You also get a calendar with day and month views but no week view; a vibrate mode; picture caller ID; a speakerphone, which can be activated before you're on a call; built-in GPS; voice calling and memos; an alarm clock; a calculator; a timer; and a stopwatch. The Jet boasts push-to-talk functionality, and you can set up PTT groups from your contact book, while the included 128MB TransFlash card lets you store a fair share of songs, videos, and images. Unfortunately, the Jet doesn't include Bluetooth, a feature we've seen on most of the 3G phones we've tested.

Although it has a VGA camera, the Jet comes with a flash and a self-portrait mirror.

The Kyocera Jet's onboard VGA camera does an adequate job of snapping on-the-go photos, but its image quality is nothing to write home about. Our snapshots looked fuzzy and noisy, with washed-out colors. The camera comes with three resolution modes of 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120; a low-light mode; a 3-, 5- and 10-second self-timer; a multishot mode for rapid-fire snapshots, which is a handy feature, considering the phone's ample memory; picture frames; and various white-balance and low-light modes. The camera also doubles as a camcorder, taking characteristically murky videos of up to 15 seconds in length. You can send snapshots and video clips to your buddies via MMS or e-mail, or you can transfer them to your PC with the TransFlash card.

The Kyocera Jet takes average pictures for a camera phone.

The highlight of the Kyocera Jet is its snazzy Amp'd Live channel, which acts as the phone's all-around media browser and player. From the Amp'd Live interface, you can purchase and download the usual ring tones and wallpaper, along with video clips--à la Verizon's V Cast and Sprint Power Vision--and full-length tunes from the Amp'd music store. The videos range from free movie trailers to 99-cent downloads from the likes of NBC News, ESPN, and MTV, while the music store boasts about 200,000 tracks for a reasonably 99 cents each, compared with a steep $2.50 a song at the Sprint Music Store. The actual experience of browsing Amp'd Live is a mixed bag, however; while we enjoyed the slick graphics, we quickly grew annoyed by Lauren, an ever-chipper spokeswoman who appears in a small video on many of the menu screens. Lauren's incessant pitches began to grate on our nerves within short order, and there's no apparent way to switch her off.

You can side-load your own MP3, AAC, or WMA tracks with the Kyocera Jet's TransFlash card and queue them up on the Amp'd Live music player, which gives you a progress bar, artist/title/song info, and time elapsed, but it doesn't provide cover art (even for songs from the Amp'd music store), an equalizer, and the ability to scan forward or back within a song.

Personalization options on the Kyocera Jet are par for the course. In addition to changing the wallpaper and the screensaver--with snapshots from the camera, if you wish--you can also assign images and ring tones to specific contacts and choose from one of nine color themes. Unfortunately, the phone comes loaded with only four polyphonic ring tones, no doubt to encourage you to buy more from the Amp'd Live channel.

We tested the Kyocera Jet (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) in New York City. Our callers told us we sounded loud and clear, with no apparent echo or tunnel effects, and we heard our pals easily. We also tested the phone's reception in our interference-filled living/dining room, complete with a 32-inch TV set, a wireless network, a cordless phone, and a nearby microwave, but we didn't run into any trouble.

While we were pleased with the Kyocera Jet's call quality, we were annoyed by the phone's tendency to freeze on us, which happened most frequently as we tried to access our snapshots. A soft reset usually fixed the problem, but on other occasions, we actually had to pry off the back cover and remove the battery to reboot the handset.

Game, application, and music downloads were brisk, thanks to the Kyocera Jet's speedy EV-DO connection. It took about 40 seconds for songs to download, and our videos streamed with only the occasional stutter. We also enjoyed fast Web surfing on the phone's WAP browser. The Jet supports BREW 3.1.

The Kyocera Jet has a rated talk time of 2.6 hours. The tested talk life is 3 hours, 34 minutes, and the tested standby time is nine days.


Kyocera Jet for Amp'd Mobile

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6