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333 of 366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The poor man always pays twice... well, maybe not this time.
I've only had this phone for a few days, but it seems to me that this phone is a solid, if not fantastic, value.

Background (skip this section if you want - I'm big on context)
First, I am new to smart phones - which is the customer profile that this phone targets. But not entirely. I lived overseas for several years for a few months at a time, constantly...
Published on September 8, 2012 by Timothy

versus
152 of 159 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Tips for this phone!
There are some issues that many of you are having with your phones. I figured out ways to cirumvent most of these problems.

1. Poor battery life: When the phone first gets activated/boots up, a diolouge pops up, informing you about the Connections Optimizer Service. You really have no option but to accept it. However, What you need to do after you accept it is:...
Published 20 months ago by Victoria MacKenzie-Richert


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152 of 159 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Tips for this phone!, February 22, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
There are some issues that many of you are having with your phones. I figured out ways to cirumvent most of these problems.

1. Poor battery life: When the phone first gets activated/boots up, a diolouge pops up, informing you about the Connections Optimizer Service. You really have no option but to accept it. However, What you need to do after you accept it is: 1) Click on the far right button on the navigation panel. 2) Hit "Settings". 3) Under Wireless and Networks, hit "More". 4) Click "Mobile Networks". 5) Click "Connections Optimizer". 6) Uncheck the box.

2) Issues with the actual battery: It doesn't seem that Kyocera ships with the faulty battery stickers anymore. I thoroughly checked my battery, and the only thing was the "PULL" tab on the battery itself. This is also handy for pulling the battery out after random shutdowns.

3) Overloaded RAM. It seems that many random shutdowns are caused by overloaded RAM or processor chips. All you have to do to solve this is click on the icon with the two boxes, and swipe away any apps you're not using, or need. This will clear out some RAM. (For instance, on my phone, Maps always starts when I boot the device. I dunno why...)

4) A few other reviews have said that the keyboard is a bit hard to operate. After using different methods, I've discovered that it's best to use the physical keyboard as if you were using an on-screen one, that is, with the pads of your thumbs instead of your thumbnails. Old popular slider phones like, say, the LG Rumour, or (from personal experience) the TracFone LG T-401-G, required use of your fingernails to operate the tiny keys. The keys on this phone, however, are larger, and therefore do better with a more flat, even-pressured approach.

Generally, my tip would be "Be patient with this phone. It's a sort of low-end phone, which means that the Nexus, and even some of the other Virgin phones can leave this one in the dust".

There are also some apps I'd like to suggest:

1) Start using custom launchers. I'm using Atom, but you could also use Nova, Apex, Go, ADW, or Zeam launcher. Some launchers have special add-on apps that let you control your phone. Go Launcher is the biggest example of this, with roughly 10 add-on apps to choose from.

2) An app I've found useful is Onavo. It helps squeeze more data out of your connection so your 2.5GB 3G speeds last longer through the month! In two days it has saved 3 MB. Also, using WiFi will help for when you're at home.

3) Custom Browser App. There are dozens to choose from. Dolphin, Maxthon, Chrome, Firefox, Opera ect. Choose one that will make you happy. Unless you use IE, there is a corresponding Android app for your browser, which usually means you can sync your settings, bookmarks, and other goodies between your computer and cellphone. Also, it may result in faster browser speeds.

In conclusion, I encourage you to buy this phone and really play around with it. I have not rooted it yet, and likely won't, but I seem to be getting along with it just fine. Android is great because if you break it, you can Factory Reset it. Assuming you didn't do anything drastic to it (which if you didn't root it, would be highly unlikely) you should be fine.

Embrace Android. Embrace Freedom.
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333 of 366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The poor man always pays twice... well, maybe not this time., September 8, 2012
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I've only had this phone for a few days, but it seems to me that this phone is a solid, if not fantastic, value.

Background (skip this section if you want - I'm big on context)
First, I am new to smart phones - which is the customer profile that this phone targets. But not entirely. I lived overseas for several years for a few months at a time, constantly going back and forth - four months there, two months here, -those kinds of increments - until a couple of years ago. So I owned an Ipod Touch (4g) which I tethered to a Mi-Fi card when in the United States. In addition, I had a tiny tiny cell phone over seas which functioned on a month to month basis. So, here in the United States I also had a cheap cheap cheap cell phone using various prepaid services, the last being Tracfone, that I used for when I landed in the United States. The Ipod Touch gave me Iphone type of experience - and provided me a smart device as I was on the go, but technically speaking it is not a smart phone.

The old saying is: the poor man always pays twice (once for junk and a second time when the junk breaks). True to the saying, I've probably bought a half dozen phones over the last few years - in ten, twenty or even 40 dollar increments. Maybe one of those phones worked for an entire year, but not many. I'm sure I've spent over $100, but not much over that, on cheap phones. The last one, the LG 800 touch became increasingly inoperable and I found it difficult to do simple functions, like making phone calls.

Anyway - I now appear to be in the U.S., more or less on a permanent basis. So I could think about moving up market and into a smart phone. For over a decade I've dreamed of owning a device that provided what I call "total digital convergence": all functionality in one device: phone, audio, video, reader, surf the internet, office applications, etc... all in one device. I think that device probably now exist in the Samsung Note (and no, the size doesn't bother me, it attracts me - you need a screen over 5 inches to have satisfying reader and video experience) but that's a big investment and its in the Android eco system - since I am familiar with the Apple eco system experience, I wanted to try a cheap but solid android smart phone that would hopefully work for an entire year or more. Maybe in another year apple will offer a device with a five inch screen and I'll have a choice there too. I am cheap, especially with regard to recurring cost, so I prefer shelling a few bucks and buying the phone out right first and then prepaying at the minimum possible as I go along. I'd like to pay $20 or less a month, but that's not possible, but Virgin mobile provides an opportunity to pay very little and I can shut down in a months notice again if I end up going back overseas.

On the market for this product:
The choice of android versus apple is a huge one because you are choosing between eco systems. I knew the Apple ecosystem through my Ipod Touch, so I was looking for an inexpensive android phone that would give me some experience in that eco system to help prepare me for choosing a premium phone down the line. But I also wanted other experiences. I am unsatisfied with the way you type text into an Iphone. So, I wanted to try using a device that provided a hard qwerty keyboard and android swipe to see if I preferred that experience.

Overall I am very satisfied with this product so far. It is only $100 dollars. Let me repeat that: it's only $100. The closest device offered in this area of the market is the LG Optimus Slider. Target and Best Buy is still selling this device for $180, Radio Shack for $140. I actually bought one of these from Walmart for $129, but after tax, I was up to $142. I took it home a played with it a bit. The next day I saw news that this phone was coming out, so I immediately returned the Optimus Slider to Walmart. Straight Talk, Net Ten and Virgin Mobile, and others, all sell the Slider,usually for $180. Other comparable devices are sold for less, but without the hard qwerty key board - the Optimus Slider appears to be the best of the breed for low cost Androids, but with slower CPUs, smaller screens, and older versions for Android than the Kyocera Rise.

That makes the Kyocera Rise a game changer for the market. Compared to these other bottom end Android devices, it seems like twice the product at half the price. It looks, feels and operates like it should cost double these other devices, but it doesn't, it cost less, and after taxes, almost half as much as the slider.

I should note: Boost also offers an Android smart phone for significantly less (maybe $70 or $80 or so), with slide out qwerty keyboard - this is a good option, but the screen is only around 3 inches, the cpu is slower and the android version is older and you will have to pay $50 a month, though Boost will reduce cost if you pay consistently on time. For bottom feeders like me, but who prefer a small phone, this is an interesting option, but not for me (if I go back overseas, I will have to quit paying and I don't want the smaller screen).

The Product:
The Rise is a poor man's Iphone (keep in mind the new Iphone 5 will be announced next week). It has a 3.5 inch screen, Android 4.0 - which is much better than 2.3 in feel and operation. The screen is a bit grainier than Apple's retina, but reasonable to cope with. Other than the graininess of the screen you will hardly feel like you are using a much cheaper device than the Iphone (or in my case, the ipod). The qwerty key board is good, and much better than the Optimus Slider, though not as good as the Motorola Photon which I tried using in the store while shopping for this (the Photon is a much more expensive device and not offered as a prepaid phone). The keys are spaced out apart and have a bubble shape and some clicking motion and travel which makes it easier to use. The device is thicker and heavier than most but that doesn't bother me. It looks good and looks and feels of quality. The audio sounds fine to me. I have yet to use the camera, but it does come with a flash and a 3.2 megapixel. (A photography expert once told me, that for most people, 3.3 megapixels is all you need for pictures as big as 8.5"x11 - and so you should shop for other performance measures when looking for a low end camera - so from my perspective 3.2 megapixels is as good as you need in any camera for a smart phone, the other features being more important).

Compared to other devices in its price segment the Rise has: a Faster CPU, Bigger Screen, Better Keyboard, A Flash for the 3.2 mega pixel Camera (which other devices don't have).

What it lacks is a second camera facing you for video calling - something that still isn't used that much, and I only used once or twice on my ipod just to prove that it worked - so I don't miss that on this device.

I've used the navigation tool and it works amazingly well. I don't know what Garmin charges for their devices these days, but, you don't need one if you have a Rise - its free.

The overall look and feel is one of amazing quality, despite the graininess of the screen (compared to my Ipod Touch). I don't feel much of any want for more functionality from this device.

It seems to me, that you can't get a much better android phone in the pre-paid market (though Virgin will sell you an Iphone) at any price, and certainly a better value, but you can pay a lot more for less if you are not careful - but the worst thing is to come up short and find your self back in the market all over again, in "the poor man pays twice" mode.

I've read the reviews on this device. Most of the "cons" are - the device is too thick, too heavy and too slow. These criticism are the result of comparing the Rise to more expensive phones &/or ones that lack a keyboard. The real comparison is with the LG Optimus Slider - which is the top of the low end market - and the Rise is 'head-over-heels' better in nearly every way for nearly half the price over that device, to say nothing of the other devices. Virgin does sell a smart phone for $20 less, but this phone is a much better value if you can come up with the extra $20.

An alternative approach would be to buy an old unlocked used Iphone. I do have friends that have bought these for around $200 dollars - they then buy sims from H20 or Tmobile with 1000 minutes of time for around $100. You can reduce your phone minutes used by using Google Voice/Talkatone over WiFi. Incidentally, I will eventually attempt to do something similar with Talkatone/Google Voice on this phone - and that could allow me to reside on Virgin's $35 dollar plan longer - because that plan provides unlimited internet minutes and so Voip calls shouldn't go against my calling minutes. So for $100 (well $107 with tax) and $35 a month, I could have complete smart phone functionality (also note, that you can buy Virgin's top up cards from Target using a red card, providing 5% discount, and sometimes they have these on sale and some times you can get an extra 5% off - such as when I buy five prescriptions - so we are getting very close to $30 a month, and I can buy multiple cards when I get to that price point.)

At current standing, I am totally satisfied, and pleasantly surprised at the look, feel and functionality of this device. It is an uber-bargain. Now, you can have a great, smart looking, smart phone for under $100!

The question is: will the poor man still have to pay twice for having bought this phone?

The only part of this question left, for me, is how well it will hold up over time. That, I cannot not tell. At this price point, I hope to get at least a year of solid service out of this phone. Two or more would be a bonus. If I have problems with it, I will post updates.

Best regards.
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123 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PHONE, October 5, 2012
By 
Wondergirl517 (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
Okay... first of all. I came from the EVO from Sprint which I hated most of the time because the battery life was awful. I also got tired of paying $130 a month for two lines. So I made a drastic move and switched to Virgin mobile. For $35 a month for me and $45 for the hubby, it was well worth it. My first VM phone was LG Optimus V which in its own right a good phone. I decided to upgrade to this phone because I like my husband's LG slider phone. I opted for this one 1. PRICE 2. the rave reviews :) 3. the slider and android 4.0 upgraded ice cream sandwich version. I have everything nice to say about this phone.. Best bang for the buck and would you believe it ... it even has a camera flash! So if you are not so big on the latest and greatest technology but want a functional android phone without breaking your wallet, get this phone and you won't regret it.
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71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big improvment over my LG Optimus V, October 27, 2012
By 
J. C. Danko (North St. Paul, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I have had the $99 Kyocera Rise VM only about 34 hours so far but I know I'm going to like it. I received it less than 48 hours after I submitted my order. This is my 6th cell since 2005 and only my 2nd smart phone, always with Virgin Mobile. The $35/month plan fits me perfectly. 3G is just fine for what I do, Twitter, email, Box, a few internet and GPS apps, some games. I am 71 and most of my "contemporaries" don't quite get what I'm doing with my phone and other stuff like STEAM on my new gaming laptop. UPS delivered the RISE and I immediately started moving my number from the Optimus V. The Optimus was so short of memory that I could not even delete phone book entries. Just like the last time it took about 8 tries to get Virgin to complete the task. While diddling with that I noticed VM had a sale on the rise for $20 off to $79. Imagine my chagrin! I started a return with Amazon. The lightbulb came on and sure enough, Amazon had the same deal!! I got on a chat with customer service and complained about the rotten luck. He reminded me that Amazon has no reduced price guarantee but he offered to make an exception in my case and I will get a $20 credit. AMAZON IS THE BEST. I've been using Amazon since 1998. That says it all. I moved my SD files to the RISE and VM did their activation. I have loaded up most of my apps. I am going to find a better email client than stock so I can do more filtering.I even reloaded up Easy Tether Pro($9.99), the only tethering app that works with the cheap phones that I bought. The only catch is the necessary use of a USB cable. It is not a hotspot. I use it where there is no or very slow WiFi with my laptop. The places where I stayed in Vegas and Laughlin had really terrible WiFi but really good 3G. I found it was a lot better to get it from the Amazon App Store because if I had to re-install it I didn't have to jump through a lot of hoops like with Google Play Store. I really like the Android Ice cream Sandwich OS compared to the 2.2 on the Optimus. Physically, it is a tad thicker and a lot heavier. I am still learning so I will do an update in a month or so.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First smart phone., November 6, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
This is my first smart phone. I'm an engineer and have avoided one of these for a long time, however I've found it to be very useful. Switching from my call/text phone to this with the same carrier was easy. Learning to control power consumption took a few days. Some tips - turn off GPS and use it only when more precise location than Google Maps (comes on the phone) is required. Also install an App to terminate apps you're not currently using. I've also put in an app to clear memory. Doing this I've managed to keep battery discharge to about 2.5% per hour, less when near a Wi-Fi. This was with little Internet usage. The on-line manual is large but useful and I'd suggest taking time to scan through it especially for a first time smart phone user. BTW the slide out keyboard comes in useful at times but I quickly learned to use the virtual keyboard.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Bang for your Buck on VM, September 29, 2012
By 
J. Rayne "the hater" (Frederick, MD, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
Coming from an Optimus V, and later an Optimus Slider, I can say that this phone smokes 'em both. Honestly, the internals aren't anything fantastic compared to the Slider--and, in fact, aside from capacitive buttons and a camera flash, there really isn't much to distinguish it from its close kin, aside from a (slightly) larger screen. Heck, the buttons and ports are all in the exact same place as the Slider. The real bonus is ICS, which runs beautifully and with minimal lag or stutter. Also, the physical keyboard is worlds better than the Slider, which to me felt very cramped. After using this phone for almost a month, I can say that the battery life is comparable to the Slider, which isn't exactly great news, but it could be worse. I started using JuiceDefender to maximize my battery life, but now I've switched to Tasker for most of the same functionality. Out of the box I had a strange problem with the Wifi toggle causing the phone to freeze and then reboot maybe one out of every five tries or so; and two days ago my phone decided to completely die on its own, freezing before it could finish booting. If you're wondering, you can hold Vol- and Power when turning it on to get to recovery, and from there you can wipe data. I wiped it (three times, to be sure) and now it's running flawlessly, and I haven't seen the Wifi bug since.

If you're wondering, the phone can be rooted; if you search, there is at least one guide posted, and it worked for me (protip: use the "v3" tool; at least, that's the one that worked for me. Google "kyocera rise root" and poke around until you see what I'm talking about). Titanium Backup, SetCPU, some advanced Tasker functions with the Secure Settings plugin, and AdFree all work great.

Overall, sticking to a more-or-less stock Android experience with minimal fuss and an eye-popping price point make this an excellent choice for either someone's first smartphone or an upgrade for the budget-conscious. At the very least, no one should even consider the Optimus Slider until they've cut the price below this phone. The Evo and One V might have a bit more panache, but the Rise will get the job done any day of the week.

UPDATE: My phone's still having the Wifi bug. However, I can't seem to find anyone else online who is having the same problem, so it could just be my unit. Still, I'm going to see if I might be able to get any support from Kyocera.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Value..., November 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I've been using this phone for a couple of weeks and I'm new to Virgin Mobile as well.

The Kyocera Rise and Virgin Mobile has not let me down. Both phone and service has been dependable where I live/play. The battery life out of the box is OK but I did download and use Juice Defender, and this has extended the battery life to about 24 hours. It has been able to pick up WIFI flawlessly, 3G when needed and voice quality, according to friends, is normal. I would not hesitate recommending this phone!

One quirk I have stumbled across, the phone did lock up on me twice. Both times I was playing around and toggled the WIFI option on/off and put the phone asleep, each time when trying to wake phone it froze and I had to take battery out/replace. I stopped toggling the WIFI (it's automatic when set to on) and I have not had one issue since. (I also decided to use pin instead of swipe for security) Also, it takes about 2 hours to fully charge phone the next day.

Phone is simply amazing for the price...

UPDATED April 11, 2013 - still finding joy in this phone and Virgin Mobile... no complaints yet, I'm looking to get a year out of the phone, halfway there at 6 months!

UPDATED July 17, 013 - it still rocks, found that some battery savers will crash phone so I'm sticking with Juice Defender. Also, now using Smart Launcher and the phone seems to be using less resources as well as running smoother...

UPDATE February 2014 - This phone is now retired and I've upgraded to a LG F3, but the Rise was still working and working well, just wanted to get a new phone :)
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice phone, September 13, 2012
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
i just bought this phone yesterday and i like it alot, ive only had a blackberry curve as a smartphone, so this is my first android, the slider keyboard is sturdy and firm the speaker is as loud as my blackberry so no complaints im not very picky or use much apps just facebook pandora and texting so phone runs smooth no freezing like my blackberry occasionally does, for $99 bucks you will be happier with this phone than the optiumus elite or slider my friends have these phones and they like mine better :)
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing phone!!!, September 20, 2012
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I just recently bought this phone it is wonderful...i came from having the virgin mobile samsung intercept i could hardly wait to get away from it. I have seen other reviews saying that this phone had a lack luster screen i have no clue what they are talking about the screen is crisp and clear and runs fast 100x better than the intercept i highly recomend this phone to those looking for an upgrade on virgin mobile and you don't have a to pay an arm and leg for a fantastic phone!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kyocera Rise: Promising Phone Suffers High Rate of Bugs & Defects, January 27, 2013
This review is from: Kyocera Rise (Virgin Mobile) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
Seemingly, Amazon has caught on to ubiquity of failures of this product, the Kyocera Rise. Amazon has suspended sales as of this date, stating:

ITEM UNDER REVIEW

"While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it's described here. (Thanks for the tip!)

We're working to fix the problem as quickly as possible."

Well, Amazon, let me make it simple for you (and those of you reading today): This phone is very promising ---- and also particularly fault-prone. Specifically, it is prone to power-on failures, freezes, app crashing and random reboots.

Don't like the sound of that? Neither did I. Except it took owning the phone more than four weeks -- the duration of a typical return period -- to appreciate its utter lack of reliability.

Thinking it a smart move, I spent the first 2.5 weeks running the phone, unactivated, over WI-FI, after which I opted to activate it because I had experienced no problem thus far. Shortly after activiation, however, all sorts of "issues" began to surface. Yet after attempting just ONE exchange within the 30-day return period -- for what turned out to be an equally buggy replacement -- the retailer refused to help. (Not to smear any of the sellers here, mind you. If you must know, Radio Shack.)

The GOOD about this phone:

Runs Ice Cream Sandwich, which is newer than the Gingerbread OS I was on with my previous VM phone, an LG Optimus Slider.

Noticeably faster than the 800mhz processor in the LG Optimus Slider.

Slide-out keyboard. I type with two hands and can do so much faster on this and similar keyboard-equipped phones than I can peck away on-screen. (Sorry, Swype!)

Greater internal memory. With the Optimus Slider, which is otherwise a very solid and reliable phone, I was constantly hampered by a scant 181MB of internal memory. And because not every app can be offloaded to a microSD card, the internal memory "bottleneck" meant that I was constantly forced to delete or rotate apps. Not so, the Kyocera Rise.

Solid voice recognition and Blue Tooth capacity. The purchase of this Kyocera Rise was actually spurred on by the fact that I could get no other VM handset I tried, whether HTC or LG, to run with my Kenwood Bluetooth car stereo, which I received as a holiday gift. A chief aim was to be street legal (hands free) on my cell phone while driving, and this Kycocera Rise was the only compatible phone I found in terms of working reliably with my Kenwood.

Good volume range. This phone outputs a louder volume than the LG Optimus Slider. (You may wish to download something like Android Tools to obtain additional volume controls.)

Auto-adjusting Screen Brightness. The LG phone I came from didn't offer this feature.

After some initial trouble, established reliable WI-FI connectivity, with a fast and responsive feel. (Performance over the SPRINT data network, like most phones, is dependent on local coverage. In my case, performance of the Kyocera Rise is comparable to the LG Optimus Slider.)

Battery Life: Using the app "Juice Defender Plus", I find it necessary to run the battery saver mode on "Aggressive" vs. the "Balanced" setting that yielded similar battery life using the LG Optimus Slider. All in all, I cannot complain about battery life -- it seems fairly average to me. (I do suggest turning off GPS, Bluetooth and other apps when not in use. The exception, however, is in being unable to force off the "Connections Optimizer" because it constantly re-enables itself on my non-rooted phone.)

The BAD about this phone:

Backside Camera with Flash. While I wasn't buying this phone for the camera, it isn't great even by 3.2MP standards. The problem is a lack of auto focus (the LG Optimus Slider offers auto focus, and thus takes better pictures with the same number of MPs). The worst thing, however, is that the lack of auto focus means that you can't use bar code scanning apps to do price comparisons in stores, to run cooking/grocery apps, etc.

Audio. Call quality is not as natural as the LG Optimus Slider. Callers sound a bit distorted at higher volumes. It's not terrible but it is somewhat tinny.

Screen. The display is not spectacular, probably among the weaker I've seen on any smartphone. Still, my "first impression" improved considerably once I removed the screen protector. (By contrast, on the LG I left the plastic overlay that shipped with the phone on to serve as a screen guard for several months. You can't get away with that on the Kyocera Rise because the overlay is gray and makes the screen look like blurry newsprint.) In terms of specs, the LG Optimus Slider has what would appear to be identical resolution, yet even when powered off one will notice on the LG and other brands a visibly blacker screen, which lends itself to crisper text and better saturation and contrast while in use.

Keyboard. The Kyocera Rise's keyboard, while better than no keyboard at all, has a strange feel to it -- as if to suggest that one must toggle the key to the right or left as opposed to hitting it straight on. After using the LG Optimus Slider, featuring a compact slide-out keyboard with solid tactile "feedback", I get the sense on the Kyocera Rise that I am making far more mistakes in my typing than I actually am. The worst offender, by far, is the space bar. I have a sense that the spaces between words aren't there, even if it did, in fact, "take". Some of this, in any event, is to be expected when going from one phone to another -- each keyboard has its own feel and to some extent it is a matter of simply adjusting to something new. Still, I'm typing considerably slower on this keyboard than I was on the previous one. On the whole, though, it still beats going at it "one fingered" on a virtual keyboard.

Power Button. While the on/off switch has yet to pose a problem for me, it is positioned such that it might be easier than some would like to shut off the screen (or the entire phone) by accident while texting using the slide-out keyboard. (Incidentally, for first-time Android owners who are having trouble with the screen dimming and locking too quickly, there is a setting you can adjust to keep the screen powered on longer -- that's one problem that does have an easy fix.)

So what's the beef, the reason Amazon has suspended the sale of the Kyocera Rise at this time? If I had to venture a guess, it would be this:

What is at first so utterly refreshing about the Kyocera Rise is its lack of bloatware -- not even Facebook comes pre-installed! What is bad is that immediately after activation VM pushes down an ID pack that will, at first blush, over-write anything one loaded previously (potentially a problem if, like me, you configure your phone mostly on WI-FI prior to activation). In the ID app, it is possible to switch back to the previous configuration (stock profile) but the sad fact of the matter is, the VM ID pack, including apps and wallpapers, is still lodged in there taking up memory -- where it perpetually runs in the background. (Of course, it won't show you that any of those other apps are installed until you back out of one profile to load the other.) Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that the phone occasionally "forgets" my ID preferences, inexplicably loading the VM profile such that it looks as if my phone has "lost" my apps/settings. Worse still, once the VM bloatware installed -- although it may be coincidental, not causal -- the many operational glitches with this phone appeared in tandem. These bugs, which I alluded to earlier, could just as easily imply a high rate of out-and-out defect: daily freezes and reboots, seemingly at random, sometimes to the point of being difficult to power the phone back on! And therein lies the worst possible conclusion one can have about any phone:

YOU CANNOT DEPEND ON THIS PHONE IN AN EMERGENCY.

The Bottom Line

Virgin Mobile, Sprint, Radio Shack and others who sell this model need to follow Amazon's lead: They would do well, for the sake of customer relations, to back the full duration of the manufacturer's warranty because problems apparently occur with this model at a higher-than-average rates. (And no, I would not agree that this is a case of "getting what you pay for" -- if only because no brand on the market wishes to commit corporate suicide by issuing overwhelmingly faulty products, which consumers come to distrust.)

For all its flaws, I am still inclined to like the Kyocera Rise. It is refreshing, after all, to (still) enjoy a physical keyboard; it is compatible with my Kenwood BT car stereo; and it has far fewer limits on the number of apps I can install than the LG Optimus Slider. Because of the problems described here and elsewhere on the web, however, Kyocera and its retailers need to prepare to stand behind the Rise because there are a lot of faulty ones in circulation, many more than the positive reviews initially imply.

It seems, in closing, that the number of glowing vs. negative reviews can be attributed to what one might call "new toy syndrome". It's all too tempting to make haste to post reviews on a new and novel item before one has owned said product long enough to vouch for its reliability. I suspect reports of problems with the Kyocera Rise would be that much greater if new owners waited as little as two weeks longer before leaving write-ups on Amazon and elsewhere. After all, only a tiny minority of reviewers bother to post updates if and when product flaws surface. In this instance, the opposite applies, too: I'll be back to update this review if and when there is a SOLUTION to the reliability problems the Kyocera Rise exhibits.

I'm crossing my fingers in the hope that a software or firmware update will do the trick.

###

March 2013 update: Kyocera recently updated the firmware. I have experienced only one random reboot since updating the firmware. The good news, is it seems the phone is more stable now. Only time will tell how it holds up but it's a promising sign that Kyocera is staying on top of the "issues".
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