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First look at the Microsoft Kin TWO, available from Verizon Wireless for $99.99 on May 6

Gallery by Todd Haselton on Wednesday May 05, 2010.

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The Kin TWO will be available online from Verizon Wireless for $99.99 with a 2-year contract and after a $100 mail-in-rebate beginning on May 6th. We've had the device in our possession for about a day now and wanted to share some impressions.

I'm still working on my full review of the Kin Two, but my first impressions of the device are mixed. I like the form factor and the comfortable QWERTY keyboard, and for that reason, it should make a comfortable messaging phone. Its 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash also could hold some promise. Still, its user interface has bogged me down a bit; the experience is a bit too much to handle at once. If you've felt overwhelmed by Motorola's BLUR UI on Android, this is even more hectic. Instead of being shown all of my friend's status updates front and center (many of which I don't care to see every time I turn my phone on), I would have preferred to see a center and customizable homescreen, with widgets and the like. Also, to make a phone call, I had to scroll left and open the phone application. The device should have a phone quick-launch button, it seems.

That's not to say the device isn't fun. Parts of it are enjoyable to use, namely the Zune music player, that you can sync up with the Zune Marketplace with a monthly subscription. It's also a breeze to share images or what you're doing with all of your friends, with just the tap of a button. Perhaps that's what's so weird to me: the fact that it's easier to share a status update or view what a friend is doing, than it is to open the phone and dial a number. It's also very odd that there aren't any chat applications installed, or any word of a future app store for adding to the phone's value.

The plastic casing feels a bit chintzy at first, but the device feels like it has a sturdy build so far. I'll bring you more impressions in my full review, but I think right now the Kin TWO will best serve the teen market, and perhaps not the twenty-somethings as the marketing seems to suggest. That group (my own) is probably better served by a smartphone.


About the author

Todd Haselton
Todd is a senior editor at MobileBurn and works out of his home in New York City. He covers news for us and also writes reviews. You can follow him on Twitter at @RoboTodd

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