Review: YotaPhone 2 with Electronic Paper Display

Thanks to YotaPhone, I received the YotaPhone 2 Review Unit a while ago. It is my first time to review a phone with dual screen (and one of them is an EPD (Electronic Paper Display) or many are more familiar with the term e-Ink display).

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The YotaPhone 2 has a 5-inch, 1080p (Full HD), colour front display, with an Always-On 4.7-inch Electronic Paper Display (EPD) on the other side. Without the EPD, the YotaPhone 2 is actually quite normal looking. It has all the symmetrical curves on the edges that is quite nice to hold.

Here are the different views of the phone.

Physical Appearance

Front View

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Close up of the front camera and sensors.

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Bottom View

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Top View

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One of the unique (and my first time too) design of this phone is that the SIM card is hidden inside the volume rocker switch. There is a tiny pin hole where you can use a pin to push out the Nano SIM card tray.

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With the SIM card tray pushed out.

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A closer look at the Nano SIM Card tray.

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The back view

The most unique feature of this YotaPhone 2 is the back view as it holds the EPD. When I first look at the EPD, it looks like a static image. It is only until you unlock the screen that you realize that it is like an ordinary screen (but with lag and ghosting images on some cases) in e-ink. As it is an always on display, sometimes when battery is depleted, you would think that the phone is still on.

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Here is the 8 MPX rear camera with a flash. Nothing much to mention about. But if you use it with the EPD as a screen for selfie (read the YotaMirror below), this will be very good camera.

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EPD (Electronic Paper Display)

The EPD works really well in the sun. I can read clearly in the sun since the EPD is like paper. More sunlight means better viewing. I actually love it.

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For managing the EPD, there is an app called the YotaHub. It allows you to configure the YotaPanel and YotaCover. I am particularly interested in the YotaPanel. As you can see below, it allows you to select what to display on the EPD.

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In one of my YotaPanel, I have the time and weather displayed. Once I clicked on the weather, it will show the current weather in e-Ink as shown below.

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And some apps are specially for the EPD. They are in the YotaApps folder. Below are two games, Sudoku and 2048 that make full use of the YotaPhone EPD.

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Notice that if you activate the game on the main screen, it shows a standard color display. Once you click on “New game” or “Continue”, it will show up on the EPD.

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For YotaCover, you can display your favorite pictures. You can choose from your gallery, or on social networks like Facebook or Instagram account.

If you think that it is all for the EPD, there is one more feature, YotaMirror, that you must know. As the name implies, it mirrors your front screen on the secondary (EPD) screen. It took me a while to find this YotaMirror feature.

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To use it, unlock the EPD screen. Press and hold the main icon on the EPD screen. 3 icons will show up. The one on the left is the YotaMirror. Once activated, you can use all the apps on the phone. Super like this feature as there is no restriction on using the EPD.

* To read ebooks, you can use the YotaMirror feature to open up any eReader app. From the app, you can enjoy your books on e-Ink.

The battery life for this YotaPhone 2 is very good if you compare with most smartphones today. The EPD plays a part to reduce the usage of the main screen which consumes more battery. There is even a more extreme battery saving mode, YotaEnergy, that when activated, will allow more savings on the battery.

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As of this review, the YotaPhone 2 is still on Android KitKat 4.4.3. Not sure if there is an update soon to Android 5.0 (Android Lollipop) or not. There is no expansion slot on the phone. The internal storage of this phone is around 25GB with the OS installed (32GB in total).

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Specifications

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If you are an avid reader on ebooks, or you are paranoid about battery life, the YotaPhone 2 will be a great device. It has a 2500 mAh built-in battery and supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and wireless charging. With its unique e-ink display, you can save battery and save your favorite ebook under the sun.

The processor is not too shabble. It runs on a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 801 SoC, with 2GB of RAM. Daily usage will not be an issue. However, one of my greatest concern is the price. With a price tag of SGD 1048, it is not cheap.

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There are many competitors in the market that offer much cheaper pricing for similar performance devices (except the EPD). So, if you think that EPD is very important, then this YotaPhone 2 is a must have device. If not, there are other choices.

The YotaPhone 2 is currently available via purchase online at Yotaphone.com/sg-en/ and Expansys.com.sg/yotaphone

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