Yotaphone 2 – Review – Part 1

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Good morning or evening or afternoon everyone, depending on which part of the world you are reading this from. This is my first part of the Yotaphone 2 Smartphone review. If you look at the photos of the Yotaphone 2 it is a decent sized phone, solid and comfortable to hold.

But before I delve deep in to the phone review, lets take a look at the specifications.

The technical specifications of the Yotaphone 2 (model YD-201) are –

-OS: Android™ 4.4.3
-CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801 2.2 GHz quad-core
-Form Factor: Monoblock with full touch capacitive screens on the front and back
-Dimensions: 144.9 x 69.4 x 8.95mm
-Weight: 145g
-Screen: 5”AMOLED Full HD 1920×1080,16M colours,full capacitive touch,442ppi,Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
-Always-on Display: 4.7” Electronic Paper Display 960×540,16-level gray scale,full capacitive touch, 235ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
-Network: GSM/EGPRS 850,900,1800,1900 MHz, WCDMA,DC HSDPA (rel. 8,cat.24), HSUPA(rel.7, cat7) bands 1 (diversity),2, 5 and 8, LTE (rel. 9,cat 4) bands 3, 7 and 20, VoLTE
-Memory/Storage: 2GB RAM,32GB eMMC
-CAMERA: Main: 8MP AF,LED Flash ,Front: 2.1MP
-Sensors: Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, proximity sensor, amibient light sensor
-Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac ,Wi-Fi Direct®, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Miracast®
-MicroUSB 2.0 (SlimPort®)
-Bluetooth® 4.0 ,Bluetooth profiles: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote
Control Profile (AVRCP), Device ID Profile (DID), File Transfer Profile (FTP), HID over GATT Profile (HOGP), Human InterfaceDevice Profile (HID), Headset Profile (HSP), Message Access Profile(MAP),Object Push Profile (OPP), Personal Area Networking Profile (PAN),Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP),Scan Parameters Profile (SCPP), Serial Port Profile (SPP)
-NFC
-GPS: A-GPS,A-GLONASS, BeiDou
-Nano-SIM
-VIDEO: Full HD 1080p 30fps
-Video formats/codecs: H.263,H.264 AVC,MPEG-4 SP,VP8. Supported file types/container formats: 3GPP (.3gp), MPEG-4(.mp4),MPEG-TS(.ts),WebM(.webm),Matroska(.mkv).
-Audio: 3.5mm AV connector,FM radio
-Audio formats/codecs: AAC LC, HE-AACv1 (AAC+),HE-AACv2(enhanced AAC+),AAC ELD,AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MP3,MIDI,Vorbis,PCM/WAVE.Supported files types/container formats:3GPP(.3gp),MPEG-4(.mp4,.m4a), ADTS raw AAC (.aac), MPEG-TS (.ts), 3GPP(.3gp),FLAC (.flac),MP3(.mp3),MIDI Type 0 and 1 (.mid,.xmf,.mxmf), RTTTL/RTX(.rktl,.rtx), OTA(.ota),iMelody(.imy),Ogg(.ogg),Matroska(.mka),WAVE(.wav)
-Battery: 2500mAh built-in battery
-Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0
-Wireless charging
-Operating Times:
Stand-by 2G, mobile data off up to 16.5 days(397 hours)
Stand-by 3G, mobile data off up to 17 days (406 hours)
Talk Time 2G, up to 41.8 hours 3G up to 26.0 hours
Talk Time audio call over Skype or LTE) up to 13.7 hours, video call over Skype or LTE up to 1.8 hours
Reading with Yota Reader on 3G up to 109.3 hours
Video streaming playback on LTE up to 5.5 hours , via WiFi up to 5.8 hours
Audio playback via headset: up to 92.0 hours and via loudspeaker up to 62.4 hours
Web browsing LTE up to 4.5 hours or 4.4 hours via WiFi

I do suggest you have a look at all the specifications as I was surprised by some of them. First up this is a 5 inch Amoled 1080p 442 ppi screen on the front and a 4.7 inch E Ink screen on the rear. Wireless charging is included along with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2. It also has a Snapdragon 801 processor and 32gb storage of which about 24gb is available. The Yotaphone runs a near stock Android experience with the addition of the following apps and games: 2048, ABBYY Lingvo, Checkers, Chess, LitRes (for adding ebooks), Movie Studio, OfficeSuite 8, Sudoku, Tutorial, Twitter, Yota Reader, YotaHub, YotaRss and YotaEnergy. The rear 8mp camera is simple to use but in early testing seems fairly reasonable. I will cover the audio and camera with camera samples in a dedicated review section. Other aspects on the specifications worth noting are that it has LTE, WiFi Direct, Miracast and the USB 2 port is also a SlimPort.

So what is the phone like to hold. Comfortable. It is gently curved on the edges but also narrow. The power and volume controls are on the right edge making it for easy reach. The headphone socket is on the top and micro usb port on the bottom along with the loudspeaker grills. In fact everything is in the correct place for easy operation.

Part of the unique selling point of the Yotaphone 2 is the E-Ink display on the rear. Yotaphone have done a good job implementing the usage of this panel with some bespoke software and panels. One of the benefits of using the E-ink display is the battery consumption is significantly less or is supposed to be. In my usage, I am achieving 2 days real life from one charge. But in my mind improved battery life is not just what it is all about. I love the always on display with a full 4.7 inch screen displaying the time, notifications and other information as I have customised via the YotaHub. The YotaHub provides up to 5 different panels (screens) for the rear that are customisable. By having an always on screen I have reduced the amount of times I have picked up the phone and checked what was happening in my world. Then there is the reduced eye strain of using an E-Ink display!

Other uses of the screen are as an ebook reader. In theory you could go away on a weeks holiday, put phone in flight mode, and read your book for the entire week on one battery charge. But another function or bonus is readability in bright sunlight. It is incredible. So following maps, reading the screen and more is a breeze. However, at night, you will either need a light or have to switch to the amoled 5 inch screen. When your battery is about to end, you can take a snapshot of the screen and leave that as the display. The E-ink screen will keep that vital information always on its display irrespective if the battery has died. Ideal if you needed a flight pass to scan at the airport, as a flat battery with the Yotaphone would not be an issue. Obviously when using the E-ink display is not as nippy as using the front side. But that clearly is the compromise.

Another neat trick with this phone is the volume controls actually hide the nano sim tray. So neat. You actually eject the tray with the buttons attached. At first, I was wondering where on earth is the sim tray!

Anyway, tomorrow I will try and cover off more of the software tricks and other findings. So far the Yotaphone 2 is seriously cool and one of the most fascinating phones I have ever reviewed so far.

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