Mini-Review of the Kyocera 7135


The Kyocera 7135 is a PDA-phone, which means that itís essentially a PDA with a phone grafted onto it. Iíve never been especially pleased with the phone functionality of most other PDA-phones Iíve tested in the past, but the 7135 is not one of them. It even feels like a phone when I held it to my ear, which is more than can be said of much of its direct competition. Its core phone functionality is actually quite good in most cases (with one notable exception).

 

The 7135 is available on Bell Mobility.

Last Updated: 25-Jan-2005

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

RF Performance

RF Sensitivity: Sadly we start off the review with that notable exception. The RF sensitivity of the 7135 is perhaps the poorest Iíve seen in quite some time. Just about every CDMA phone Iíve tested in the last couple of years has blown away my ancient Motorola StarTac when it comes to pulling in signals, but the 7135 can just barely compete with it. Subsequently Iím forced to give this phone a POOR rating in this aspect.

Over-the-road Performance: As this was a mini-review I wasnít able to perform over-the-road tests with the phone, and I cannot comment on this aspect of performance.

Click on this link for a full description of RF Performance, and how to interpret it.

Audio Performance

Tonal Balance: Superb. Along with the Motorola V710 (which Iíd tested just a few days prior to this test) the Kyocera 7135 has excellent overall tonal balance. Is it better than the V710? Itís hard to say, as I wasnít able to test these two phones back-to-back. Iíd have to say that they are about equal.

Sound Reproduction: Also very good, meaning that it ties the V710 as the best-sounding CDMA phone that Iíve thus far tested. I simply couldnít fault the phone for what I heard coming out of its earpiece. It had the same excellent aural qualities when used with my Samsung earbud too, and so headset use should be a reasonable option (which is a good thing for a device thatís also a PDA).

Earpiece Volume: Maximum volume wasnít stellar, but it was actually quite good. I canít see anyone having a big problem with this aspect of the phone. It appeared to include Kyoceraís SmartSound feature, which no doubt helped to bolster my opinion of the earpiece volume. The feature boosts the level of quiet of callers, thus making all your calls sound pretty much the same level.

Click on this link for a full description of Audio Performance, and how to interpret it.

Support Features

Ringer Volume: The ringer is fairly competent, though not super-loud like my Motorola i730. We set the phone to its loudest ringtone and we put it in a pants pocket. Even over at Square One we had no trouble hearing it ring over the general background din. However, Iíd have to say that if weíd been somewhere much louder (like out on a busy street, or if the mall had been really crowded) we might not have heard the ringer at all.

Keypad Design: The keypad was a little cramped at the bottom of the phone, but it was traditionally laid out, and the overall feel was excellent. I had no problem whatsoever using the keypad for phone functionality. I never found myself having to repeat key-presses, though I believe that it could have done with a bit more tactile feedback.

Headset: I tried the 7135 with my excellent Samsung earbud, and the sound quality was at least on par with the gorgeous sound produced by the native earpiece. Being able to use a PDA-phone with an earbud or headset (as I mentioned above) is a must for people who need to access the data on their PDAs while talking on the phone. The 7135 works exceptionally well in this respect.

Display: The display isnít exactly the type youíd choose to look at vibrant color photographs, but like the type used on my Blackberries it has the distinct advantage of being very visible in direct and in-direct sunlight. I took the 7135 outside of the mall for this test, and I was very impressed with the ease at which I could read the screen, even when the backlight went off.

Phonebook: Because the phone is build around a PDA, the phonebook functionality is excellent. This is because high-detail phonebooks are an integral part of most PDAs, even if they donít include a phone.

Conclusions

With the exception of the rather disappointing RF performance there isnít really much I can fault the 7135 for. It has excellent audio (matching the Motorola V710) and just about every other aspect is either average or above-average. If they could fix the RF problem theyíd have one of the best CDMA phones out there, regardless of type. If I were in the market for a PDA-phone I would definitely give this one serious consideration, despite its poor RF properties.

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