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Microsoft KIN ONE for Verizon Wireless review, Windows Phone 7's little cousin

Review by Michael Oryl on Friday May 14, 2010.

microsoft kin one · verizon · cell phone reviews · microsoft news · cell phone news · michael oryl

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Apps / App Store apps: 1 of 5 score

Application support is where the Microsoft KIN platform really falls apart. Apart from the web browser, photo/video, and music abilities of the phone that we'll cover later, and the messaging apps covered in the last section, there is little to find in terms of apps on the KIN.

You have access to a basic RSS news feed reader, and feeds marked as faves will integrate nicely into the Loop screen. That's sweet. There's a nice alarm clock application that supports multiple defined alarms. That's it. Contacts and Search, which also show in the main menu, are best accessed elsewhere. There's no calendar, no calculator, and not a single game to be found. Worse yet, the system is locked down and there is, at this time, no way to get a new application for the KIN from any source.

I imagine that Microsoft will address this to some extent, if the platform survives on the market long enough, but it was a major mistake to launch the KIN without some of the basics found on any free-with-contract feature phone.

Browser browser: 3 of 5 score

The web browser on Microsoft's KIN ONE for Verizon is good. It would offer a better experience if the phone's display were larger or of a higher resolution, but you still get excellent rendering quality of complex websites, multi-touch zooming, and pretty fast page loads. The low QVGA resolution of the display can make small fonts hard to read at times, and the lack of a d-pad or other controller can make some links difficult to select, but this is one of the better browsers found on a non-smartphone.

I like being able to "pin" web pages to the KIN's main menu, like the iPhone does, and I love the drag-down access to the URL bar and bookmarks. It's a good browser. There's no Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight support, though, and the browser also lacks support for basic HTTP authentication (which, I admit, is rarely used these days).

Camera camera: 3 of 5 score

Verizon photo buffs should be quite happy with the camera on the Microsoft KIN ONE. It is a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with a powerful LED flash that takes really nice photos. The user interface is straightforward to use, and it can record VGA quality video at the tap of an on-screen button. At times the flash seems a bit overpowering, but overall it works decently. The camera's focusing is very accurate, in my experience, but it is a bit slow at times. I'll take slow and accurate over fast and blurry any day, though.

Photos and lower quality videos will be automatically uploaded to the KIN Studio website, where they can be enjoyed on a larger screen. HQ videos at 640 x 480 pixel resolution are not synchronized over the air, but rather require software like Microsoft's Zune player to get them onto a PC. If you like taking photos, the KIN ONE is a great way to do it, and the built-in sharing tools are fantastic. The built-in gallery app is also nicely organized and visually appealing.

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About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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