Over the weekend, Buzz and I attended a free Yeasayer concert sponsored by Microsoft here in San Francisco (more on Yeasayer later), and I was able to get a hands-on demo of the Kin One. My first impression: "Whoa, that's tiny!" The Kin One is square shaped, and fits easily into the palm of your hand. It's also lighter than I expected, but when I asked one Kin-toting guy if he's dropped it yet, he laughed and said, "Oh yes, many times!" though there was no sign of damage to the device. He even assured me that it's nice and sturdy — even when I confessed my ability to often not only drop, but drop-kick gadgets accidentally.
While I've detailed some of the tech specs before, here's another rundown of what makes this phone different from others. The entire device is built around social networking, so if you're constantly checking friends' status updates and location alerts, it's a good choice for you. The home screen, called the "Loop," pulls in friends' recent updates, photos, and other information. You can set a "favorites" screen too, so your most-checked-in-on friends will show up fast, and in one place. Plus, simply tapping on their photo (which is pulled in from their most recently-updated social network photo) gives you access to call or text them, immediately.
To hear the rest of my review, keep reading.
The dot in the bottom middle of the screen is called the "Spot," and serves as a dropping point for any content you want to share with your friends. Choose content, drag it to the Spot, and then select with which friends, and how you'd like to share it. The drag-and-drop functionality is simple and speedy, and not hard to figure out. And a cute feature: an "emoticon" button on the phone's keyboard for quick access to any emoticon (and other symbols) you can think of.
Other notable inclusions: a full, functioning Zune player, and sweet search functionality that scours your phone, the Internet, or 'hood for events near you. Plus, all of your data is stored in the cloud, and if you lose your phone, you can access your account from any computer — including calls and texts you missed while your phone was MIA. The 5MP camera with flash on the Kin One wasn't too shabby either (even in the dark concert); the larger Kin Two has an 8MP camera and shoots in beefed-up HD video.
All in all, this is a well-designed phone for anyone addicted to social networks. I'm going to do a test-run with a Kin of my own this week, so stay tuned for an in-depth review of more of the phone's functionality! Both the Kin One and Two are on sale now through Verizon; the One is priced at $50, the Two for $100.