YotaPhone 2 review: niche and expensive, but seriously cool
The YotaPhone 2 is a stark upgrade over its predecessor, with bigger, better displays wrapped in a much sleeker package. Most importantly, the secondary E Ink screen is actually useful this time around. It has its flaws, of course, is very expensive and won't be everyone's cup of tea. Regardless, though, it's quite simply as cool as they come.
- Dual-screened engineering marvel
- E Ink screen is legitimately useful
- Gorgeous primary AMOLED display
- Top-tier performance
- Cool points aplenty
- Very expensive
- Limited mainstream appeal
- Mediocre camera
- Yota's software still needs work
- Uncomfortable to hold the 'other' way around
YotaPhone was inarguably one of the quirkiest smartphones released last year, with not one, but two displays. This curious marriage of LCD and E Ink was certainly a manufacturing achievement, but limited uses for the secondary screen meant it simply couldn't live up to its potential. Undeterred, Yota Devices announced earlier this year it was cooking up a sequel, and today it's ready to launch the new and improved YotaPhone 2. Its fresh design, high-end specs and bigger, higher-resolution displays are welcome upgrades, but most importantly, a thorough overhaul of the handset's software means you can now make full use of the low-power E Ink screen, which has also been granted touch functionality for this generation.
I've spent a fair amount of time with the device, and have to say that it's the most interesting smartphone I've ever used. Like its predecessor, the YotaPhone 2 is still very much a niche proposition with narrow mainstream appeal. That being said, Yota Devices has more or less achieved what it set out to do last year: Make a handset with an E Ink display that has several, legitimate use cases. Whether these will actually tempt you into picking one up is another matter, but the second screen is no longer an oddity; it's an asset.