Friday, April 20, 2007

Kyocera Marbl

Well, I'm right now using the wireless internet at a Boy Scout camp to post this (yes I'm a little hardcore)...but anyway, here's the long-awaited review of the Kyocera Marbl...

First off, about battery life: I actually got five and a half days or so out of the phone before it went down to one battery life bar. And I'm thinking it would have lasted six days total run-down time. This was with some talking (though not much), some web browsing (though not much) and a little bit of texting. Then again, I had a pretty good signal all that time.

Right now I'm doing more of a battle test of the battery life of the phone. As I said I'm out at a relatively remote campground, where you can't be sure to get a good signal, and I did use the web relatively extensively on the phone. I also sent and received a few texts. I had charged the phone for about half an hour this morning (it went up to two bars) and now it's back down to one bar. Let's see how it survives the trip...

...but all I'm saying is that I have no complains about the battery life of this odd...

Next, I have to commend this phone on signal quality. While both speakerphone and regular conversations sound a bit on the harsh side, the phone keeps a signal very well...much better than its call-dropping K132 cousin...but then again the other phone was on Pocket, whose PCS signal for some reason doesn't do quite so well as Sprint's in my area. Anyhow, the signal was as good or better than other Sprint PCS phones I've used, so that's nice to say for a $20 phone.

But I have a problem with this phone...'s AS SLOW AS DOYT!

I had a similar problem with the Kyocera K132. Looks like the processor is the same across both phones...and boy howdy is it slow! Everything except maybe pressing the speakerphone button has some sort of delay to it. If you want predictive text on text messaging, be prepared for a semi-nightmare...or just don't get the can't keep up with a relatively fast texter. And even normal text entry on webpages is painfully slow. In fact, anything related to the web is painfully slow...if you want to use web, you can forget that, too.

Unless you must augment the pitifully few ringtones and graphics (as in four ringtones...deja Slice?) with something else, foisted by Virgin Mobile at unspeakable prices upon you, the end user. Bleh.

But hey, if you're content with "just a phone", and one that has to think a bit before every action (though voice-related tasks don't have but a little wait), you may well be content with this phone.

You see, while not being thin, and while not being as cool-looking as its five-model-numbers-higher cousin, the Marbl doesn't leave you holding your nose on the design front. It's no Razr, and personally there has gotta be something better than the "racing stripe" motif that dominates the otherwise cheap-silver phone, but at least the motif is subtle (gloss black on Matte black with a small, well-laced speakerphone grille) and physically this phone's dimensions aren't absotively ginormous. Oh, and the Virgin Mobile logo doesn't stand out horribly much from the phone, compared with other low-end least in my's set apart but it's in a black ring on the black "racing stripe" so it's okay.

Flipping the phone open may seem fine at first, but after this phone survived a gentle fall down a veritable terrace of kitchen furniture (the largest drop was about four feet) onto a linoleum floor, the flip got a little too much give in it for my personal preference. Now this may not annoy other people, but I can detect the cheap-feeling give when I flip open and closed the phone.

But, at first glance, what you get when you flip open the phone is really nice: well-spaced and tactilly responsive buttons (though they're a bit small), a generally plaseing silvery design, and a screen that I think is the same size as the UTStarCom' Slice's. That is to say, it's quite big enough for a basic phone.

Then you experience the I said everything has a delay, from turning on the phone to launching and closing the web browser to turning the phone off. And there are a few counter-intuitive things like the OK button not going anywhere on the phone's standby screen (normal phones go to the menu screen, Kyocera, in case you haven't picked that up).

Feature-wise, this phone is basic in features that actually require network access (it just does voice, text and web, and the last two are on the slow and slooooow side, respectively) but has the usual other features, from a stopwatch (though it only measures in hundredths of a second AFTER you stop it...slow processor have we, Kyocera?) to voice recording. Nothing really special, and you can't do anything fancy with the phone on Virgin Mobile, like IM or e-mail...I don't even think this phone has, or could handle, Java....

But then again you wouldn't want to do antthing particularly advanced with this phone that would use the network, as using the network costs you money, and this phone takes its time in doing just about everything, making stuff like that a pain to use.

But the bottom line is that this is an upgrade to the Oystr, and for voice purposes this phone will serve whoever needs it well. Mine even had stellar (LG 3280 style) battery life. But I'm switching my account back to the Slice (with its irregularities and small keypad) because I just can't stand a slow phone. Sure, if the Slice is worth $50 this phone is worth $20, but don't think about getting it for anything more than talking...which it does do a good job with...

Well, that's the end of my Kyocera Marbl review. Hope this helps everyone and I'll probably be back soon with a review of the Audiovox 8600. Good night and, if you're interested, take a look at just added a few interesting posts there. Oh, and support this site! :) I'm planning to give away the Marbl so stay tuned for that!


Randy Tuggle said...

You nailed the Marbl. It is slow as I've ever seen any phone behave. I love the service from Virgin Mobile - but they need better phones if they want to keep their customers happy. Offering unresponsive junk just doesn't cut it. Nice post!

Citygal said...

Thanks for the comprehensive review. I only need a phone for voice calls, and it looks like the Marbl should be OK. However, I share Randy's frustration with Virgin's phones -- none of the phones are high quality or as good as the phones available for Sprint. I'd be willing to pay a bit more for phones that aren't so crappy.

the_Warlord said...

Your review was right on. I have the Marbl and I absolutly HATE how slow it goes. This is the reason it doesn't have any games either. Though, what the heck, it is a phone. It is great if you just want it as a cheap replacement phone.
P.S. Takes it like a minute to load up. Seriously...O.o