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Kyocera K323 (Verizon Wireless) review: Kyocera K323 (Verizon Wireless)

The Kyocera K3232 offers good call quality and a decent feature set, including integrated Bluetooth, but there are better camera phones out there.

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Bonnie Cha
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Bonnie Cha

Former Editor

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

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4 min read

The Kyocera K323 has made its way to Verizon's lineup of entry-level camera phones, but the handset doesn't quite pass the mark. Though it's easy to use both in design and function and includes some nice extras, such as integrated Bluetooth, if it's a good camera phone you seek, look beyond the K323. Disappointingly, it produced some really blurry and dark images, and we think Kyocera could have included a better internal screen. As such, we recommend the LG VX5300 for a better VGA camera phone option. The K323 is reasonably priced at $29 with service.

6.6

Kyocera K323 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The light and compact Kyocera K323 offers integrated Bluetooth, a VGA camera with flash, a speakerphone, and good call quality. The phone is also simple to use and works with Verizon's VZ Navigator service.

The Bad

The Kyocera K323 has a low-resolution internal screen and took sub-par pictures.

The Bottom Line

The Kyocera K323 offers good call quality and a decent feature set, including integrated Bluetooth, but there are better camera phones out there.

Design
One look at the Kyocera K323 and you might just see a face staring back at you. A curved silver bar that somewhat resembles a mouth sits smack dab in the top middle of the phone, while just above it is the rectangular external display. We don't mean to say the K323 is a bad-looking phone but it definitely is unique. The 96x16-pixel resolution monochrome screen shows the vitals, including the date, time, network strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available; no photo ID).

On the upside, the K323 is compact and lightweight (3.5x1.8x0.9 inches; 3.4 ounces) and though it's a tad slippery, it had a comfortable and solid feel in the hand. The charcoal gray color is a nice touch as well. Rounding out the design features is a 2.5mm headset jack, a volume rocker, and a camera activation button on the left spine, and a power connector port along the bottom edge. A small speaker grille sits on the bottom left of the front flap, while a camera lens sits just above the display. There is a flash set into the aforementioned silver bar, and the reflective ring around the camera lens is meant to act as a self-portrait mirror.

Open up the phone and you're presented with a 1.75-inch diagonal color screen. It displays 65,000 colors at a low 128x160 pixel resolution, so it's definitely not the sharpest or brightest screen we've seen. We think Kyocera could have bumped up the resolution just a bit, especially when you consider the comparable LG VX5300 camera phone has a 262,000-color screen. Below the display, you'll find a set of standard navigation keys and a spacious keypad. You get two soft keys, talk and end buttons, a programmable, four-way toggle with a center OK button, a clear button, and a speakerphone activation key, which we absolutely love. Not only does this save us from having to dig through the phone's menus to turn it on, but you also can activate it before making a call--nice. All controls are well spaced, as is the numerical keypad so we didn't have any problems with misdials. They're also adequately backlit for dialing in darker environments.

Features
The Kyocera K323 is a basic camera phone, so you won't get all the bells and whistles, but it does include some nice extras, such as integrated Bluetooth. First, the handset has a 500-name phone book with room in each entry for 5 numbers and 2 e-mail addresses. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a contact a photo, a group ID, or 1 of 5 polyphonic ring tones. Other features include a speakerphone, voice-activated dialing, a vibrate mode, MP3 ring tones support, a Web browser, text and multimedia messaging, and a set of PIM tools, such as a calendar, a to-do list, a calculator, an alarm clock, and a voice recorder.

As we mentioned earlier, the K323 does have integrated Bluetooth 1.2, which was a pleasant surprise. The handset supports hands-free headsets and kits, object push, and dial-up networking capabilities, though we suspect Verizon will kill this last feature. The K323 also supports Verizon's VZ Navigator service so you can get color maps and driving directions right on your phone. In addition, you can access other Verizon Get It Now services, such as Fox Sports Mobile Pro and AccuWeather.com. The K323 supports BREW games, but you'll have to purchase them on your own as the phone doesn't come with any preinstalled titles--boo. Of course, other ring tones and wallpaper are also available through Verizon.


The K323's camera doesn't offer a self-portrait mirror.

The Kyocera K323 comes with a VGA camera with flash and 5x digital zoom. There's a self-timer, a multishot mode, and the option to turn off the shutter sound. In addition, you get a choice of three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, or 160x120), color effects, a 5x zoom, and white balance and brightness settings. Once you're done snapping photos, you can save it to the phone's 43MB of internal memory, send them via multimedia message, and save them as wallpaper or caller ID. We were really disappointed by the photo quality of the K323's camera. First, it was really hard to get a clear picture as they consistently turned out blurry. We had to keep our hands extremely still to get a somewhat viewable image, and even then, the lighting and colors were dark. Though the LG VX5300 and Motorola V325i didn't have the best photo quality either, we much prefer them over the K323.


The K323's photo quality was disappointing.

Performance
We tested the tri-mode (CDMA 850/1900; AMPS 850) Kyocera K323 using Verizon service and call quality was decent. We noticed a faint hiss in the background, but could still hear our callers just fine. Our friends reported much of the same, though they said our voice sounded a bit flat. Activating the speakerphone diminished the audio quality a bit. There was a slight echo on both ends, but volume was adequate even in louder environments. We also were able to successfully pair the phone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

The Kyocera K323 battery has a rated talk time of 3.5 hours and up to 6.8 days of standby time. It has a tested talk time of 2 hours and 6 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the K323 has a digital SAR rating of 1.42 watts per kilogram.

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