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YotaPhone 2 announced: hands-on pics & video
The YotaPhone 2 was officially announced at a special event in London a few hours ago, and the first review has even already made its way to the web, courtesy of Russian website Hi-Tech.mail. The YotaPhone 2 builds on the dual-screen concept of the original, though this time it adds quite a few improvements when it comes to the hardware and software onboard.
We managed to get some hands-on time with the device and will be bringing you some video and other coverage in the next little bit. Until then, you can feast your eyes at our hands-on pictures of the device.
Design and hardware
Now that you’ve seen the phone in images, let’s talk about the design and the hardware. On the front of the YotaPhone 2 you’ll find a 1080p 5-inch AMOLED display ideal for gaming, multimedia and just about everything you can throw at it. On the back is where things get really interesting, however, with a 4.7-inch 540×960 resolution e-ink display that utilizes Yota’s always-on technology and is designed with reading, notifications and outdoor visibility in mind.
As for the actual looks of the phone? While there’s no other phone out there quite like it (other than the very different looking original Yota), the overall shape of the handset is at least a little reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus of yesteryear, with a similar curved design. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your personal preferences.
Turning to the hardware, the YotaPhone has a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with no microSD, a 2500mAh battery, an 8MP autofocus cam with LED flash, a 2MP front facing cam, 4G/LTE, NFC, Wifi and Qi Charging. The YotaPhone packs these specs into a slim shell that’s 144 x 69.5 x 8.9mm and weighs just 145 grams. For extra protection, both displays also come with Gorilla Glass 3.
Considering Android isn’t designed out of the box with dual-screens (or e-ink for that matter) in mind, Yota’s software is an extremely important part of the YotaPhone 2 experience. Based on Android 4.4.3 KitKat, the overall look is pretty stock-like in nature, though there is several special software features that are designed to take advantage of the phone’s unique setup.
Yota Always-On Display: The Yota Always-on technology consists of both the e-ink display and the software that runs it. The always on display is designed to offer up to five days of e-book reading for a single charge, and you can also save a lot of battery power by using the display for messaging, calling and other tasks. Furthermore, the YotaPhone always-on display gives you an at-a-glance view of what’s happening, letting you turn over you phone to find email notifications, texts and more.
YotaEnergy: This special mode turns on automatically when you reach just 15% battery life. What it does is switch key functions like calling and texting over to the always-on display, which Yota claims gives up to another 8.5 hours of use.
YotaMirror: YotaMirror is a special mode that lets you mirror any Android application over to the always-on e-ink display. While some apps aren’t going to work very well on such a display, streaming apps, messaging apps and reading apps could perform fairly well here. And of course using this mode means that you’re AMOLED display can shut off and you can save precious battery life.
YotaSnap and “Life after death”: Arguably one of the coolest features, YotaSnap lets you take a snapshot from the color display and put it on your Yota always-on e-ink display. Because of the way e-ink works, even if your phone dies, the preserved image stays put. This is great for capturing things like a map, addresses, a shopping list and the like.
YotaCover: YotaCovers are user-designed photos and notifications that bring personalization to your e-ink display but don’t give away anything important to onlookers. You can turn on these covers by simply taping the e-ink display.
There may be a few other custom apps and tweaks to be found on the YotaPhone, but those some up some of the ‘killer’ software features that are designed to best showcase the e-ink display.
The YotaPhone 2 arrives today in 20 countries in Europe, the CIS and the Middle East and is expected to hit Hong Kong in December. The phone will cost 555 GBP in the UK and roughly 700 Euros throughout Europe. For those in the Americas, you can expect the phone to arrive to the US, Canada and Latin America in Q1 2015, though no specific pricing for these markets has been announced. China and several other Asian markets are also expected to see the phone in the first quarter of next year.