Kyocera Domino Review

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Kyocera Domino s1310

A basic phone can act as your back up phone, it can be a good option as a child or early teenager’s first phone, or just be plain handy to have around.

Most of today’s basic phones are free after the mail in-rebate or cost a measly $40, the Kyocera Domino costs only $31 at the complete retail price. It comes on two providers as of right now, MetroPCS and CricketWireless, there is no contract as the phone is pre-paid and you can just as easily find an unlocked version for about $35.

Now the big question, is the phone worth the $30 price tag? To find the answer to that question and any other you might have, our review starts now.

Design (1 out of 5)


Now candy bar phones are not particularly challenging to design, especially for low-end feature phones.

However, the design team for the Kyocera Domino seems to consist of orangutans with particularly dainty fingers at their disposal, the soft keys are half the size of a tic-tac sweet, so if you are thick fingered, the Domino is not an option for you. The D-pad is small, hard and has zero tactile response, same goes for all the keys, I suppose the only comment that can be made in their favor is at least they are raised and backlit.

The biggest let down though is with the screen, it is a 1.8 inch half QVGA screen with only 65,000 color support in CSTNA, in short you will be constantly squinting at the screen. At least the phone is both light and thin at 71 g with dimensions of 109 x 44 x 13.8 mm. The build quality does not lend itself to any form of abuse, do not let your fluffy kitten mess around with it.

Peripheral ports include a microUSB port and 2.5 mm jack (this just keeps getting worse doesn’t it?), which are housed in such a fashion the phone seem to be back packing. The right side houses a very thin volume rocker that requires a fair amount of precision to press. There is no camera or anything else worthwhile anywhere.

User Interface (1 out of 5)

The user interface fares about as well as the physical design did, it is not so much the UI, as it’s the screen that really kills the joy of using this phone.

To be blunt the UI is clunky, slow and sparse. There is no proper JAVA support, video support, IM support or MMS support, you’re down to the bare essentials here. Even the phone book can only house 250 contacts, that’s right it cannot even support the minimal 500 contacts expected from a phone of its low-end pedigree. At least you can add 6 fields of additional contact information and assign a custom picture or ringtone.

Typing is relatively easy if you have the sublime fingers required for the Domino, the T9 only adds to functionality, if you purchase this phone from MetroPCS you get a few additional apps. Although traditionally I despise the clutter of expensive apps service providers add to phones, on the Domino they’re essential if you wish to carry out functions such as instant messaging, back up, web browsing and e-mailing.

So if you must, for some reason, purchase the Kyocera Domino, then buy it from MetroPCS, unless all you want to do is a make a call and send an SMS.

Features (2 out of 5)

Right, now onto the features, just bear with me here, this is going to be as bad and short as the previous sections.

The phone supports 800, 1700, 2100 and 1900, there is semi-high speed connectivity with CDMA2000 1xRTT, but that hardly qualifies. Local connectivity is dealt with via Bluetooth 2.1 and microUSB 2.0, internal memory is capped at 29 MB.

You have no access to video viewing or music playing, there is no camera, not even a VGA camera for pity’s sake, oddly enough the Domino uses the BREW operating system, as to what end having an OS serves here is beyond the scope of this reviewer.

However, it is not an entirely barren affair with the Domino, you do get a list of nice feature such as; Calculator, Tip Calculator, World Clock, Timer, Stopwatch and Memo. Not much, but still better than nothing.

Performance (2 out of 5)

Now here is where we truly see if the Kyocera Domino is worth its salt, it’s a basic phone, so it should have no problem doing basic functions. Let us find out if this statement is accurate.

Call quality is thankfully bearable, it not crystal clear or amazingly good, but voices do sound relatively natural, there is a slight cut in between words but it is hardly noticeable. Signal holds on well in high coverage, but when the coverage gets low you will start to hear some static, also your callers will sound very loud but distorted, it is a rather disappointing experience.

The phone does have a web browser, but even for the simplest of pages such as Wikipedia or Bright Hub, it might take a century to scroll to the end of a page. Seriously, pages are elongated beyond plausible reason, the screen makes you squint just to view pages, and anything more complicated than a simple HTML page will simply not open.

Battery life is a joke, even the most power hungry of phones will fall over laughing when they hear the Domino can only manage 3 hours talk time. Low-end feature phones survive in the market because good call quality, strong battery life and the lack of a contract are usually taken for granted, the Domino fails on the first two counts. The Domino ships with a 700 Li-Ion battery capable of 2 days of standby time. Almost no matter how you use this phone, you will need to charge it daily.

Verdict (1 out of 5)

In the beginning of the review a question was posed, is the Kyocera Domino worth its price tag? The answer is, absolutely not.

There is only one good thing about this phone, it has a very loud loudspeaker, other than that it is a complete waste of everything. I just cannot help wondering what Kyocera were thinking when they decided to bring this abomination of technology forth onto the masses, it is a complete carbon clone of its predecessor the Kyocera Jax, which like the Domino, was an utter flop.

There are a ton of low-end feature phones available, a lot of them on MetroPCS, most of them work far better than the Domino, please just save your $40 and your dignity and keep looking for another phone.