Heads up! A newer version of this product has been announced!

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LCD on the front, E Ink on the back, unique all over

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The YotaPhone isn't yet ready to deliver on its dual-screen promise due to various issues ranging from poor build quality to short battery life and, most importantly, an inability to make use of its rear E Ink panel except in a very limited selection of pre-installed apps. Without support for our favorite e-book and magazine platforms, or for Spotify and other streaming apps, or transport updates and Google Now (which we're told is coming soon), there just isn't much reason for us to flip the phone over.

What's needed is a big push on the software front. Not just in terms of stimulating third-party app developers to take the YotaPhone seriously, but also by reducing the phone's reliance on those developers in the first place. This might happen through better mirroring of the LCD onto the E Ink side, rather than the stagnant screengrab-mirroring we have now, alongside some kind of mapping from swipe gestures to standard navigation functions (forwards, backwards, play, pause, et cetera).

This lack of support could potentially be solved within this generation of the product, through some major software updates, but we wouldn't rush out to buy the YotaPhone unless and until that happens. The other option is to wait for a complete hardware revision, in the hope that it'll bring a full touch-sensitive E Ink panel or some other solution. Either way, with all the expertise Yota Devices has gained in putting this type of display into a phone, there's a much better chance that this type of hybrid handset will one day be successful.

Critic reviews

5.9
8 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    7.2
  • Display
    5.9
  • Battery life
    5.3
  • Camera
    7.2
  • Ease of use
    5.4
  • Design and form factor
    6.3
  • Portability (size / weight)
    5.9
  • Media support
    6.0
  • Durability
    7.1
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    6.4

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User reviews

10
1 review
  • Reception and call quality
    10
  • Display
    10
  • Battery life
    10
  • Camera
    10
  • Ease of use
    10
  • Design and form factor
    10
  • Portability (size / weight)
    10
  • Media support
    10
  • Durability
    10
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) | 1 comment
    10
6.0
Engadget Dec 20, 2013

Until we can run Kindle, Zinio, Spotify and other potentially E Ink-friendly apps on the rear display, the YotaPhone isn't quite worth its high asking price.

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5.0
CNET Jan 17, 2014

The YotaPhone's second screen is an interesting concept and one I'm quite keen on. Both the E Ink screen and the rest of the phone need serious refinement, however.

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7.0
Forbes Jan 4, 2014

Simply put, e-Ink and a second screen do work on a smartphone, and Yota have done more than enough to be considered as players in the smartphone marketplace.

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7.0
Digital Spy Mar 13, 2014

While Yota Devices deserve full marks for its innovation, the first-generation YotaPhone doesn't quite fulfil its lofty potential.

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6.0
T3 Mar 18, 2014

In this case the original YotaPhone is a solid first step, but it's not at the stage where we'd recommend it over a single-screen device.

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5.0
TrustedReviews Mar 18, 2014

The YotaPhone is a clever two-screen smartphone, but it needs to get a whole lot smarter and more powerful before we'd consider buying one.

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6.0
The Independent Dec 4, 2013

The YotaPhone and its ilk are going to have to work hard to be more than curios, but they’re not the ridiculous proposition you might expect.

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6.0
Stuff Jan 27, 2014

The YotaPhone is definitely not a high-end superphone. It’s got an average build, an average LCD screen, acceptable power and a camera that is comfortably out-performed by the competition.

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First Looks

product preview
Engadget Dec 4, 2013

The first thing you notice when you pick up the YotaPhone is that it's more chunky than you might expect given the relatively modest 4.3-inch screen size -- but not to the point of being inconvenient of uncomfortable.

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product preview
PC Mag Jan 10, 2013

Not boring, the Yotaphone is. Among a parade of copycat phablets and phones here at CES, the dual-screen Yotaphone is doing something genuinely new and fresh.

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CNET Dec 3, 2013

Its e-ink screen is very low-quality, which makes doing even basic tasks with it unpleasant, and there's a definite lack of support for the display from third-party developers, meaning there's not much you can do with it just yet.

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SlashGear Jan 9, 2013

I can safely say that the YotaPhone is every bit as cool as I was hoping it would be, but there are still a few kinks to iron out in the weeks and months to come.

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Pocket-Lint Dec 4, 2013

The gestures could take a while to get used to, and while we found them a little slow at times, it might be a different matter after a little practice. With no Kindle app support as yet, it could be worth waiting to see what the next generation YotaPhone brings.

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Time Jan 9, 2013

The YotaPhone's main attraction is a 4.3-inch E-Ink display that sits on the phone's curved backside, allowsing users to keep certain types of information in view, such as the time, notifications or a photo, without draining battery life.

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Phone Scoop Feb 26, 2013

Some might think that adding a second display to a device would sap battery life even faster, not make a device last longer. Yota claims, however, that the ereader software and screen will continue to function even when the phone itself is dead... It seems like a lot of effort just to save some...

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The Telegraph Dec 4, 2013

All in all, the YotaPhone is a valiant first attempt at an entirely new breed of smartphone, from a Russian start-up company that only started developing the device two and a half years ago.

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Android Central Feb 27, 2013

The YotaPhone probably won't be a mass-market seller in the West, but it is an incredibly cool device nonetheless, playing to the strengths of both LCD and e-ink.

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phoneArena Dec 4, 2013

The YotaPhone is that kind of device that falls out of the mainstream narrative and would likely end up being a niche device - at least that’s what we’d expect - but it’s still very refreshing to see some innovation directed in a completely different area such as the secondary e-ink display...

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The Next Web Dec 4, 2013

Ultimately, in an Android market swimming with cookie-cutter handsets, the YotaPhone is a breath of fresh air – whether or not I’ll find the rear display a genuinely useful innovation or simply another novelty differentiator remains to be seen.

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How it stacks up

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