Niche Android phones have a history of doing that one really cool thing, but more often than not fail at being a great regular phone. It's cool if you're one of the 100 people in the world who could honestly benefit from having a projector baked into your phone, or have a mighty need for the ability to charge someone else's phone with the massive battery built into your device. But when these features end up being the sole thing that makes your phone special, it's clear that the phone isn't ever going to escape that niche market.
When I was first able to spend time with the original YotaPhone, I immediately felt that the phone was forever doomed to niche markets. It was huge, the software wasn't great, and while the ePaper screen was neat it didn't really do much. There's a really good chance that very few people have ever touched the original YotaPhone — mostly a Russian endeavor anyway — as a result.
This is not that phone. This is the YotaPhone 2, and it is clear that the creators of this device have done everything they could to take this phone out of that extreme niche category to make something that could legitimately appeal to everyone. Like its predecessor, the most interesting part of the YotaPhone 2 is the second screen on the back of the phone. Unlike its predecessor, the rest of the YotaPhone 2 is a decent phone. A combination of thoughtful software development, careful hardware optimization, and the potential for a limited U.S. release for those who don't want to import have created a unique option that would work well for users of all types.
Here's our full review.
About this review
We're writing this review after a week and a half using the international YotaPhone 2 in the Baltimore area with great HSPA+ coverage from T-Mobile, as well as several days prior on just WiFi. This phone, which was provided by YotaPhone, was running Android 4.4.3 with software build KTU84L.
For the majority of the time with the YotaPhone 2 a Moto 360 was connected over Bluetooth.