Summary: The KIN Two has almost too many features to discuss - a terrific email client, a great camera that captures HD video, a new way to connect with the KIN Spot, Loop, and Studio (though I don’t think you’ll use the KIN Studio as much as they say you will), and an awesome music player with a built-in Zune. The only problem is that the phone is supposed to be the answer to everyone’s social-networking prayers and it’s not. It falls short in that category.
Summary: Microsoft and Verizon are taking something of a chance with their new Kin duo of phones, what with their arrestingly different user interfaces, curious omission of features like calendars and IM clients, and smartphone-level monthly data pricing. Me? If I had to choose one Kin or the other I'd take Kin Two - I prefer its horizontal slider layout and two-thumb friendly keyboard, not to mention the extra memory and HD video capture not found on its little sister, Kin One.
Summary: The KIN TWO is the larger of Microsoft's new KIN series of phones. The devices, to me, are Microsoft's watered down version of Windows Phone 7. There are some similarities, after all, including the panel home screen and a focus on keeping you in touch with your friends - not only through calling and SMS, but also through social networking. There's also the Zune media player available on the KIN phones, which you'll find in Windows Phone 7 as well.
Pros: Solid keyboard, HD video camera with 8 megapixel photos, Zune music player, good design
Cons: Can't add new applications, data costs as much as a smartphone, user interface can be confusing, no e-mail notifications, no IM clients
Conclusion: Microsoft’s Kin OS make the specialized Kins seem kind of alien, and it’s an acquired taste. It would be foolhardy for us to express an opinion on the look and feel, since some people will cozy right up to its unusual social network approach. You won’t take to the Kins if you’re more verbal and want a multi-function device – in other words, neither is a Droid alternative. Between the two, the Kin OS is too big and too cluttered for the cute Kin One.
Pros: Clever social-network-centric OS, Mirrors all activities and auto uploads photos to Kin Studio Web site, High-quality 5 MP (Kin One) and 8 MP (Kin Two) camera with flash, 4GB (Kin One) 8GB (Kin Two) built-in memory, Light, sleek, stylish uncluttered exterior
Cons: Cluttered, claustrophobic OS, No third-party apps, Slippery exterior, Unintuitive music player, Hard to get high-quality video off phone, No external memory card slot
Summary: Perhaps it’s telling that Verizon Wireless dropped $50 off the price of the Kin Two to $99 the day before it was announced; regardless, consumers will still have to cough up $30 a month for a data plan on a device that does much less than a more versatile smart phone. And if you want a Zune Pass, that’s another $15 per month.
Pros: Lightweight, Innovative Studio web interface, Zune built in,
Cons: Poor integration with social networking apps, No instant messaging, Clumsy interface, No third-party apps or games, Mediocre call quality,
Conclusion: If there is anything going for KIN, it has to be its tight integration of social networking that envelops users to take notice of its keen strengths in that department. First of all, the KIN ONE is quite a compelling piece of hardware which can be attributed to its hockey puck looks, but we feel it is more suitable for sending a plethora of messages thanks to its good QWERTY keyboard.
Conclusion: When we first saw the Kin phones, the editors at Engadget (and lots of other folks in the industry) said that price would be the big question when it came to these phones. If they really were destined for the hands of tweens and teens, then they would have to be offered at a price that was attractive to their parents, which means something decidedly below the standard smartphone deal: a device for $100 or $200, plus a pricey data plan.
Pros: Decent hardware keyboard, 720p video recording, Kin Studio cloud syncing
Cons: Uneven and buggy UI, Lack of applications, even IM, Data plan pricing too high for phone of this class