It matters not if your device is mediocre when the packaging is fancy -- that's clearly the takeaway here, with a massive box containing layer upon layer of foam, translucent plastics and other refinements. Once you're done peeling everything away you're left with the Kinzo smartphone, a leather case, a manual, the aforementioned Sygic voucher, V-MODA
-like earbuds, a micro-USB cable, Li-Ion battery, Euro-spec USB AC adapter, Verzo-branded microSD adapter with case and a snazzy stainless-steel USB car charger. Strangely, the North American USB AC adapter and carholder ship separately in a generic package.
After you've recovered from all the unboxing drama, you're basically presented with a bulky device that's a cross between the EVO 4G
and the Nexus One
. Just like the box it came in, the Verzo Kinzo is massive -- at 131.62 x 72.36 x 12.30mm (5.18 x 2.84 x 0.48 inches) and 155g (0.34 pounds), it makes even the Galaxy Nexus
look small. Most of this heft comes from the slab-like design and a bezel that's wider than a 10-lane freeway in LA. The handset isn't really that heavy, but its shape isn't particularly hand-friendly, especially since the sides are wider in the middle and taper towards the ends. Angles and lines are everywhere, with motifs reminiscent of diamond facets. It's almost elegant.
Other than the 4.3-inch WVGA
glass-capacitive touchscreen, most of the smartphone is made of molded plastics with noticeable flash lines and gate marks, and is finished using a two-tone gunmetal-colored paint scheme. Despite the sea of cheap materials, build quality is decent and the Kinzo feels solid (it's manufactured in Taiwan). In front you'll find the earpiece, sensors and a VGA front-facing camera, plus the usual four capacitive buttons (menu, home, search, back) and a mic. The back features a 5 megapixel AF camera and flash, along with Verzo's and designer Novague's logos. A micro-USB connector and speaker live on the bottom edge, and the power/lock key is at the top. The left side is home to the 3.5mm headphone jack and a volume rocker, with nothing on the right.
The battery door conceals slots for a standard SIM and for microSD storage, plus the aforementioned 1,530mAh battery. A Verzo-branded 8GB card comes pre-installed. Spec-wise, the Kinzo's guts are last year's glory with a 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3630
CPU, PowerVR SGX 530 GPU, 512MB of RAM, unlocked tri-band HSPA
(2100/1900/850MHz) and quadband EDGE radios, plus WiFi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, AGPS and the usual bevvy of sensors (light, proximity, accelerometer, compass). Everything works as expected -- call quality and network performance are perfectly adequate on AT&T. While we didn't put the battery through our usual array of tests, we didn't have much trouble using the handset for an entire day. The 4.3-inch 800x480 TFT display provides reasonably good contrast and surprisingly nice viewing angles but turns into a mirror at the first hint of direct sunlight.
We took the camera for a spin and while the 5 megapixel AF module appears capable enough the software is a mess. Pictures snapped with the Kinzo are systematically overexposed, washing out colors, although dropping the EV to -2.0 usually improves things. Even our better images lacked detail, and while not terrible, low-light performance only matches last year's crop of mid-range cameraphones. The flash is also rather weak. But our biggest complaint is with the continuous autofocus, which is slow and inaccurate. While Verzo chose to use the default Android camera app, it removed the feature wherein tapping the on-screen shutter key initiates autofocus, holding it locks focus (allowing to reframe) and releasing it actually takes the shot. Video recording is a complete disaster, resulting in systematically corrupt MP4 files. While it supports up to 720p, it only captures 12fps using a 4:3 aspect ratio and extremely low-fi AMR audio, regardless of the resolution setting.