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New Kyocera Rise Owner, Observations
I changed from the LG Optimus Elite, which I had used since last May, over onto the Kyocera Rise. I couldn't take typing on the screen any longer. I've gotten better at it since I first tried, but it still got to me on occasion. With the Optimus Elite, it would keep typing the "b" when I'd try & hit the space bar. I swear the space bar is just too narrow, it needs to be about 45 times bigger than it is.
Anyway, I lost it, and whipped it against the wall (I know, STUPID) and remembered the Kyocera Rise was now out. Not only that, it was on sale, $80 instead of $100, so I went for it. (For the record, the Elite still worked despite the cracked screen, but obviously readability was a big problem--it's not just a CRACK, it's SHATTERED.)
Unfortunately, I had to give up my $25 grandfathered plan, which I've had for the past 18-odd months, but it would've happened later once I had upgraded to whatever later else. $35 still beats almost everything else out there I've seen.
My observations so far:
(1) A physical keyboard--yes, yes, yes! While it's not as fast as the portrait-style with the Blackberries, which I was able to just zoom with, it's still faster and more precise to me vs typing on-screen. Sometimes I actually did fine with the on-screen with my LG Optimus Elite and got used to just tapping the word that popped up in the "suggested" words, but other times I SCREAMED for "real keys," especially when it kept inputting a "B" when I was trying to space--again, the space bar was WAY WAY WAY too small. (Yes I had the keyboard configured to add a space after tapping on a suggested word, but sometimes I still had to press it.) Now I have them when I need them. Now when I highlight text to copy-paste from AK Notepad or elsewhere, it has far more precision to it.
(2) Ice cream sandwich. I'm still getting used to it, having used 2.3 on the Elite. One change I don't like--the move towards doing away with menus. It takes up screen real estate. For instance with Opera Mini, you can specify having the control up always up so buttons are always accessible, but I set it to hide unless I press MENU to use it. I want MAXIMUM screen real estate. Fortunately the Kyocera Rise has a menu key, and I use it a LOT. I like how you can open up the task manager & kill applications by "swiping" them, so I suppose I don't need Advanced Task Killer anymore. I also like the system fonts settings, I turned it to small--I really don't like how, in the pursuit of "eye candy," they make everything so LARGE now. I like small font so you can get more on the screen without scrolling so much.
(3) I was using "Holo Launcher" on my Elite & am using the HD version here. I did so when I couldn't remove the Google search bar, I ALWAYS remove it & replace it with the power-control widgets so I can switch off GPS, Wi-Fi and change brightness right there vs going into the settings. (I do searches in Opera Mini anyway.) I couldn't figure out how to remove the Google search bar (found out later you can "disable" it under the apps settings) so I just went with Holo Launcher HD so I could just go at it with customization of the screens without such fuss. I also like to configure menu to pull up notifications with a long-press of the menu key, I can never get used to "swiping" to get to them.
(4) GPS--it is super fast at locking on, as fast as my Optimus V used to be, and even faster than the Elite--certainly WAY faster than the Motorola Triumph I once owned. Understand--I leave GPS off unless I'm running maps or "GPS Status," otherwise it's always off. I could do that with the V & yet get a lock on my current location quickly upon turning it on. The Triumph would take 5 or even 10 minutes to get a lock, the Elite a minute or two. The old V, and this Kyocera--within 5-10 seconds. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about.
Overall, I'm liking the switch. I'd intended to stay with the Elite for awhile, most of the time I was okay with it & having it enabled me to stay on the $25 plan. But at times anyway, having to type on the screen drove me crazy. Virgin Mobile really needs something like a Droid 4 or Razr MAXX (but with REMOVABLE BATTERIES!!!), you know, sliders with 4 or 4.3" screens. I MIGHT would consider the Samsung Galaxy Verbe at sometime, maybe typing on a screen that's 4" vs 3.5" would make a large enough difference, but I don't know that I could ever go back to 3-odd inches & having to type on the screen. Maybe I'm an "old fogey," but I really desire physical keys.