capsule review

Kyocera Amp'd Mobile Angel

At a Glance
  • Kyocera Mita Amp'd Moble Angel

    PCWorld Rating

    Its reasonable price and decent music player impressed us, but the controls are finicky and the plastic cover feels cheap.

Kyocera Amp'd Mobile Angel
Photograph: Chris Manners

The Amp'd Mobile Angel from Kyocera offers a mixed bag of features. I liked using it for phone calls and for listening to music. But this standard cell phone has a few hang-ups that I couldn't get over, including less-than-stellar photo quality from its camera and an overall flimsy feel.

The Angel's pearly white exterior is a refreshing departure from the silver or black case that many handsets use. The cover slides--albeit stiffly--to reveal a backlit keypad inside. Navigating the phone's menus was easy, thanks to the pinwheel graphical user interface. You scroll through menu icons one at a time; the pinwheel rotates to show you your menu options. Though the deck-of-cards-size handset felt somewhat bulky, it is easy to grip during calls. Most of my phone conversations sounded pretty good: I heard people clearly and vice versa.

Dedicated control buttons for quickly accessing things like camera mode and music playback were nice to have, but some controls--including the two camera buttons and the five-way key below the screen--required pressing and holding them for a couple of seconds to get the device to accept my selection.

This delay was particularly frustrating when I would try to capture a fleeting moment with the built-in VGA (640 by 480) resolution camera. After I pressed the camera button on the side of the handset, the Angel took 2 seconds to initiate shooting mode. Because of this lag, the event had often passed before I could snap the picture. (The other camera button is located on the dial pad. The one on the side allows you to snap pictures with the cover closed.) The photos I captured looked hazy and a little dark. There was a similar 2-second delay when I launched the music player through the right-arrow key on the five-way navigation button.

Things got better once I started playing with the phone's music features. The built-in speakers sounded okay, and the sound quality through the earphones was fine, though it could have used more bass. The phone also has an expansion card slot, and Amp'd Mobile ships the handset with a 128MB MicroSD (formerly known as TransFlash) card that conveniently stores MP3s and photos. You can transfer tunes from your PC or download them from Amp'd Live, Amp'd Mobile's music store.

Listening to music seemed to drain the battery quickly. And in our lab tests, talk-time battery life (without music or photo demands) was poor, at 4 hours, 27 minutes.

Amp'd Mobile, a managed virtual network operator that leases Verizon Wireless's network, offers the Angel for $99 (as of April 7, 2006, with a two-year contract).

Amp'd Mobile's target market is young adults who like to download songs, videos, ring tones, games, and the like. With the Angel's music capabilities, expansion card slot, and roomy screen, that message is clear.

Grace Aquino

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Its reasonable price and decent music player impressed us, but the controls are finicky and the plastic cover feels cheap.

    Pros

    • Works well as a music player
    • Inexpensive for a standard cell phone

    Cons

    • Plasticky cover feels flimsy
    • Photo quality is unimpressive
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