Microsoft Kin Two mobile phone (preview)
Microsoft's Kin Two phone is stylish, but missing some key features
- Attractive, larger display than Kin One, impressive camera, Kin OS easy to navigate
- No native calendar, no native IM client, no app store
The Microsoft Kin Two impresses with solid hardware and an intuitive user interface, but glaring omissions -- like the lack of a calendar and IM client -- keep it from being the ultimate social networking phone.
With a better design and stronger specs, the Kin Two outshines its sibling, the Kin One. But it isn't perfect: Limitations and omissions within the software keep it from being a threat to lower-priced smartphones.
Design-wise, the Kin Two is much more attractive than its squat sibling. It has a larger display and roomier keyboard, as well. In my hands-on tests, I found the keys comfortable to press and nicely spaced. It isn't on par with the Sidekick, but it comes close.
I was impressed with the Kin Two's 8-megapixel camera. I took a few snapshots at the launch event, which took place in a dimly lit nightclub, and was impressed with how powerful the flash was. Faces were nicely highlighted without being completely blown out. Details appeared sharp and colours looked fairly natural in my test shots. The Kin Two also captures HD video, which I unfortunately didn't get a chance to test out.
Kin OS: Stylish and Intuitive
While it's a bit overwhelming at first, Kin OS is visually-pleasing and incredibly easy to navigate. The main screen, called Loop, displays your selected friends' status updates and messages as well as your favourite RSS feeds in a colourful collage of text and images. Flick to the left, and you'll see a panel of all your applications; flick right, and you'll see your contacts.
I also liked how easy it was to share photos with your friends via the Kin "Spot." The Spot is a green circle that sits at the bottom of the user interface. If you want to share a photo, video or news story from your RSS feed, you simply drag and drop it into the Spot. You can then tap the Spot and decide whether you want to send it to your friends or upload it to one of your social networks.
Another highlight: The Kin Two ships with the Zune HD media player for video and music playback. There's also an FM radio.
The OS was a bit sluggish while I was navigating through various menus, but this might be due to the fact that my test units were preproduction devices. I'll make a full assessment once I get my review unit.
Kin Studio: Useful, but Problematic
When you capture photos or videos on your Kin phone, they're automatically uploaded to the Kin server. You can then log into your Kin Studio account on your PC to view and share your media--no USB cables or microSD cards to hassle with and no tedious uploading procedures. This is an ideal feature for the non-tech-savvy audience Microsoft seems to be targeting with these phones.
But there's one disturbing problem with the Kin Studio: You can't delete photos off your phone without deleting them from the Kin Studio. In some ways, Microsoft's explanation for implementing this makes sense. If a user wants to delete, say, an incriminating photo from a bar the night before, they probably want it completely erased from existence. But if you're simply deleting photos to free up some storage on your phone, this is a big problem since the Kin Two's memory is restricted to 8GB (there's no microSD support). 8GB might seem like a lot, but you'd be surprised at how quickly that fills up with HD videos, photos and music.
I also wish there was some sort of photo editing or video editing software built into the studio. To edit a clip or photo, you have to download it to your PC first, edit it in a third-party program, then re-upload to the Kin Studio to share with your friends.
Missing Key Features
Unfortunately, the Kin OS is missing some features that, in my opinion, are crucial for social networkers. First of all, there's no native calendar nor is there support for syncing your Outlook or Google calendars. If Kin's main goal is to connect people together, then why isn't there a way to create and share events via a social calendar? There's also no native IM client, which seems strange for a phone that's built for messaging. Lastly, Kin lacks support for uploading photos or videos to Twitter. You can upload videos to your Facebook or Myspace profiles, but forget about Twitter. Microsoft says that it might be adding these features in future over-the-air updates, but don't expect them at launch.
Also, if you're a heavy app user, you'll be disappointed to learn that there's no software development kit currently available for the Kin phones, nor is there an app store. For now, you're stuck with what's preloaded on the device.
Right now, it is hard to estimate how well the Kin Two will do without a price attached to it. While it has some "smart" features, this isn't a smartphone. More advanced users might be happier with cheap smartphones like the HTC Hero or Palm Pre Plus.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Xbox One X
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Belkin Introduces USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD
- Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Will Come To Australia
- Boost Mobile Doubles Data Offering With New Summer Plans
- BlackBerry KEYone Black Launches in Australia
- HTC U11 Plus latest rumours: Release date, price and specs
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review: A port worthy of PC gaming's mightiest rigs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTAgile Delivery Project ManagerOther
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTEngineer Control Systems SpecialistSA
- FTProject ManagerOther
- FTBusiness AnalystACT
- FTCloud Architect - AWS, Azure, ADOther
- CCUser Experience DesignersACT
- CCPega ArchitectVIC
- CCDatacentre Capacity and Facilities Engineer - Large Telco - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTScrum Master | 6mths +Other
- FTFrontEnd Angular DeveloperOther
- CCPHP DeveloperWA
- FTSystem AnalystSA
- FTBusiness Analyst - InsuranceOther
- FTDigital ProducerQLD
- FTPractice Director Quality AssuranceSA
- CCProduct ManagerNSW
- FTService Desk Technical LeadNSW
- TPICT Strategic Sourcing SpecialistQLD
- FTIT Service DeskSA
- FTTechnical Solutions ArchitectACT
- TPSenior Network EngineerVIC
- FTJuniper EngineerOther
- FTIntegration Solution Architect - $800 per dayOther
- FTJunior Project ManagerACT