In terms of mobile phones we all seem to be over the naff and gimmicky. Phones with inbuilt Rubix cubes and pencil sharpeners are things of the past, replaced by the chic and minimalistic. This is why I tend to roll my eyes when I hear about oddball features stuck onto phones. But then I got my hands on a YotaPhone.
YotaPhone is a high-end Android phone with one difference. There are two screens, and one of them is e-ink.
With a smooth, curved rim the phone glides, akin to moving wet soap around in your hand. Being metal the cold rim gives a nice sense of solidity as if the whole device is a single part.
The width, depth and length is virtually the same as other Android phones in the same class, which is incredible given that there’s an extra screen on the back. The e-ink display sacrifices none of the design at all.
As an experiment I fully charged the device and solely used the e-ink display throughout the day to see how long it would last. Despite taking photos, recording video, tweeting, reading books the device was able to last over 24 hours! That’s 18 more hours than the iPhone.
The YotaPhone’s battery saving mode will reportedly give you 2 whole days of battery too by disabling non-critical functions.
While not the main attraction the 5” AMOLED, 442ppi front screen is a beautiful. Colours are spot on and the resolution of 1920×1080 means exquisite high definition video playback.
The e-ink display is an amazing 235ppi, capable of displaying even video at suitable clarity. Of course there is a slight delay between screen transitions but as far as e-ink goes it’s very fast. I was able to use the display for a while day with zero frustrations.
You can start using the e-ink display by flipping over the phone and unlocking. The device will know which side you intend to use so you don’t accidentally press buttons on the flip side.
The idle e-ink display will show a screensaver of your choice. You have options of things like feeds from Instagram, Facebook, books, and tiles of information.
Being able to glance at your phone to check for notifications is invaluable, and comfort comes from knowing that minimal battery is being used to power the always-on screen.
Fully capable of all activities the only real reason to use the screen is to read. I’m a huge reader of Blinkist (if you haven’t heard of it you really should check it out). The app uses swipe gestures to turn pages, as opposed to a tap, and while a tap would have been nicer to use with the screen the device can handle swipes well enough.
Reading in bed is a dream. The glare of phone screens messes with your mind and makes you more awake. E-ink displays have no such effect. I can report at least one excellent nights sleep after reading a book from the YotaPhone before sleep time.
Of course the problem comes when your girlfriend turns off the light to go to sleep – no backlight. But that’s nothing a torch can’t fix.
Should You Buy This Phone?
Absolutely. This is hands down the most useful phone I’ve ever used. It makes total sense in an age of crappy battery life and intense reading. The look of the device is spot on, the execution of the dual screens is perfect. You definitely won’t be disappointed.
But don’t take my word for it. Go check out their popup in Shoreditch.