What would it take to get you to lớn put down the iPhone & switch to an game android alternative as your main smartphone? It's the question that every game android phone maker obsesses over, và the typical answer is a combination of higher specs, bigger screens, & even louder hyperbole. But the truth for most people is that they grow accustomed khổng lồ whatever phone & software they are using và it takes a lot to get them lớn look elsewhere. It takes something unique.

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The YotaPhone is most definitely unique. You might not be able lớn tell from the front, but flip this handset over và instead of a plastic flap or a stitched leather cover, you"re faced with... another front, this time made up of an E Ink display much lượt thích the one in Amazon"s Kindle e-reader. There have been numerous gimmicky attempts at making game android run on an electronic paper display, but what sets the YotaPhone apart from them is that it actually works. The second generation of this phone was introduced in December of last year and made massive strides forward in ergonomics và functionality. Now that it"s received a hefty price cut, a new white version, a comprehensive apk Lollipop upgrade, and a tentative July release date for the United States, it"s time for us to put the YotaPhone 2 to lớn the test.


The essence of the YotaPhone"s appeal lies in its combination of an extremely energy-efficient E Ink display with all the modern versatility of an android smartphone. Think about how many commutes to và from work you can while away with the help of a Nook or a Kindle, and then imagine not needing a separate e-reading device at all. You have your điện thoại thông minh with you all the time anyway, why not build the e-reader right into it, the same way that cameras, music players, and GPS units have already been integrated?

another step forward in the ceaseless march to điện thoại thông minh convergence

That"s what YotaPhone 2 gives you: another step forward in the ceaseless march to điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh convergence. It"s not the first android device with an E Ink screen, but it is the first khổng lồ make that duo work harmoniously. Instead of trying to lớn jam the full-fat app android experience onto the slow e-paper display on the rear, Yota has wisely contented itself with adding useful widgets and interactive panels. There is a Yota Mirror mode that allows you to run apk entirely on the back, but this is strictly optional và mostly lớn be used when trying khổng lồ extend battery life (such as by reading an article in the browser without deploying the full-power display).


On the other side of the 4.7-inch E Ink screen is a 5-inch AMOLED display. The latter has a 1080p resolution, but suffers from poor màu sắc accuracy: it tends to oversaturate the picture và renders tomato reds in a carrot-like orange. These aren"t new issues for OLED displays, và they"re certainly tolerable in daily use, however the recent excellence of the Galaxy S6 has raised the bar of expectations & the YotaPhone 2 just can"t compete. Yota clearly had to lớn cut some corners in order lớn fit within budget, and it"s elected lớn sacrifice some unique at the front for the greater versatility of having a display at the back.

The same is true of the YotaPhone 2"s design. Much lượt thích its display, the phone"s construction is just okay, nothing especially premium. It has a well rounded, uncomplicated shape that makes for comfortable ergonomics, but it also has a slight rattle in the volume rocker & a shallow nguồn button that offers little tactile feedback. Competently made, though not something I"d ever fall in love with. But the YotaPhone 2"s design story doesn"t over when you buy the phone. The best part of it is only beginning.


Motorola"s moto Maker will let you customize your smartphone only once, whether it be through the addition of pink accents or a wooden back or some classy leather, but the YotaPhone has no such limitations. Yota Covers convert the E Ink display into a canvas for expressing yourself. They can be cutesy, artistic, funny, or professional, it doesn"t matter — when the screen isn"t being used for information, it serves as an instant outlet for personalization và creativity. This is what makes this otherwise unremarkable phone so appealing khổng lồ me: it"s ridiculously easy to make it feel lượt thích it"s my own, special device.

It"s ridiculously easy to make it feel like it"s my own, special device

Back in December, the original YotaPhone 2 software had a confusing nomenclature for its E Ink elements, distinguishing between images that served as Covers and widget-laden Panels that did something more than just look good. Transitioning between the two was awkward và unintuitive, however the new YETI (Yota E Ink giải pháp công nghệ Integration) 2.0 update rectifies that by treating both categories pretty much lượt thích an Android home screen. There"s a nice customization app, accessed via the regular OLED display, where I was able to lớn quickly phối up a couple of utility Panels & one image-cycling Cover. Switching between them is done via lateral swipes, & there"s now a familiar home button at the bottom of the E Ink display that always brings me back to lớn my starting screen. With the new software, I can also access and manage my android notifications directly on the back of the phone.


One of my big frustrations with smartwatches is how often they instruct me to xuất hiện something on my phone instead of taking care of the task directly. It rather defeats the purpose of transposing the interaction away from the phone. I"ve found a few instances of that same issue with the YotaPhone 2, but they"re the exception rather than the rule. For such a small company, Yota has done a remarkable job of quickly creating widgets for some of the most popular social clients lượt thích Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, và also building up its own app portfolio with things lượt thích YotaFit, YotaRSS, YotaSports, và even Yotagram. The latter is a customized version of Telegram — which happens to be my favorite messaging tiện ích — that allows me khổng lồ carry on a conversation entirely on the E Ink screen. Và it"s not just limited to lớn typing out missives: there"s a one-tap voice response option, which I found useful when conducting casual chats while doing something else.

Most of the attention has been lavished on the back, leaving stock apk on the front

The YotaPhone 2 successfully offloads a number of the most common smartphone interactions from the main, power-hungry display to one that barely uses any energy at all. It tells me the time, lets me know about upcoming calendar events, and keeps me socially connected, all without necessitating that I flip the phone around và get back into the conventional smartphone experience. In fact, the issue I have more often is about sending stuff from the front of the phone to lớn the back — such as a particular bản đồ area or an article I want lớn read — which is still not as easy & straightforward as it could be.

The YETI 2.0 software adds a dedicated tin nhắn widget for the E Ink screen, however the one piece of Google software that seems tailor-made for a device lượt thích the YotaPhone — Google Now cards — isn"t coming anytime soon. Yota CEO Vlad Martynov tells me that the company would love khổng lồ implement Now cards, but it"s up khổng lồ Google lớn make them compatible with always-on displays of this kind.


With so much time và attention committed khổng lồ making the E Ink display useful, Yota"s customizations lớn the regular game android experience are pretty much nonexistent. Game android Lollipop on this device is scarcely distinguishable from Lollipop on the Nexus 6 or moto X. The visual similarities don"t extend to lớn performance, however, as the YotaPhone is noticeably slower và nowhere near as smooth as other devices running Android"s latest. Animations often stutter, & while responsiveness is decent, it leaves me wishing for an escape lớn something more rapid & satisfying like LG"s G4 or Samsung"s Galaxy S6. This is the one thing that Yota really needs to upgrade going forward: ensuring that its "regular" apk experience doesn"t fall behind users" expectations while still building out the chất lượng advantages that the E Ink screen provides.

Getting the most out of the YotaPhone 2 will depend on your circumstances. I often find I require the backlight of the front screen when checking notifications in my poorly lit office, but outdoorsy types will find it a boon out in the sunlight where OLED displays struggle. After two weeks with the YotaPhone, I was still stuck in the old habit of turning on the phone khổng lồ handle notifications quickly, which suggests the E Ink software isn"t really immediate enough khổng lồ suit my needs. Not surprising, but something lớn bear in mind.

Camera và spec enthusiasts should look elsewhere

The YotaPhone is also not the phone for anyone looking for outstanding camera performance. It has an 8-megapixel camera, which has gotten better with the new software update (Yota credits Google"s improved app android Lollipop camera software for much of this), but it"s still decidedly average. Yes, very much like the build quality, display, và basic specs of this device, the camera does just enough to kiểm tra the box — it"s there and it works.


Battery life, on the other hand, is an area where the YotaPhone 2 has an obvious advantage over its competition, but you"ll have to use it the way it is intended to lớn be used. Running it as a regular app android smartphone, I found it to lớn be, once again, mediocre. It"s when you start trusting the E Ink display to lớn be a useful alternative lớn the OLED one that you will truly notice a difference. I was able to lớn extend the typical one-day battery life lớn more than two after I committed to checking things on the e-paper display. An added bonus that Yota didn"t announce when it first launched the phone is that it supports Qi wireless charging. The company is now selling a neat wireless charging accessory that doubles as a portable battery, meaning it will let you charge wirelessly even without being connected to lớn a nguồn outlet.

One of the most delightful new phones lớn have been released in years

If your đứng top priorities when seeking out a new smartphone are camera performance, fast responsiveness, and an amazing display, you should look elsewhere. By the usual, extraordinarily high standards for điện thoại thông minh quality, the YotaPhone 2 is underwhelming & unimpressive. But that"s just the sacrifice you have lớn make to lớn get the benefit of the E Ink display. Unlike many others, this device feels lượt thích it has a clear purpose và reason for being. And that reason is a joyous one: it almost feels lượt thích cheating khổng lồ be able to lớn enjoy an ebook on an e-reader and then just flip it around & find yourself inside the familiar confines of an android smartphone.

It"s not enough lớn convince me to lớn step away from the iPhone (or the Galaxy S6, for that matter), but it"s certainly a unique phone that offers real diversity in a saturated market.



ul>:py-0 my-12 <&>ul>li>:mb-6 <&>p>:mb-8 <&_*>:font-polysans-mono <&_*>:text-14 <&_ul>:font-light <&_p>:font-light <&_strong>:font-medium <&>ul>li>:leading-130 <&_li>:marker:text-franklin border-t border-franklin <&_a:hover>:shadow-highlight-franklin <&_a>:shadow-underline-black md:first:pr-16 md:last:pl-16 md:w-1/2 md:border-t-0 md:first:border-r">

The Good

It's an e-reader spliced with a phone và it worksFrictionless personalizationGrowing library of truly useful E Ink apps
ul>:py-0 my-12 <&>ul>li>:mb-6 <&>p>:mb-8 <&_*>:font-polysans-mono <&_*>:text-14 <&_ul>:font-light <&_p>:font-light <&_strong>:font-medium <&>ul>li>:leading-130 <&_li>:marker:text-franklin border-t border-franklin <&_a:hover>:shadow-highlight-franklin <&_a>:shadow-underline-black md:first:pr-16 md:last:pl-16 md:w-1/2 md:border-t-0 md:first:border-r">

The Bad

Lackluster performanceUnimpressive OLED displayAverage camera

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