Seven things to know about the dual-screen YotaPhone 2

The smartphone and e-reader combo will go on sale across the world, including the US

Yota Devices is more than any other smartphone vendor daring to be different with the dual-screen YotaPhone 2, which stands out with its electronic paper display that can be used to read and access apps.

The second-generation smartphone was presented Wednesday at an event in London. Here’s a rundown of some of the key points we learned about the device:

What can the two screens be used for?

The YotaPhone 2 has two Gorilla Glass-protected screens; a regular 5-inch full HD screen on one side and a touch-enabled 4.7-inch electronic paper display with a 960 by 540 pixel resolution on the other. That’s a big improvement on both counts compared to the original YotaPhone. The 5-inch screen works like any other smartphone screen. The always-on paper display can, of course, be used to read books, but it’s also possible to mirror applications from the regular screen. Users can also configure panels to access, for example, apps or contacts directly from the paper display.

What’s the battery life when using the paper display?

Yota promises a battery life of up to five days when using it as an e-reader and up to two days when using the paper display as a smartphone.

yotaphone e reader IDG New Service/Mikael Ricknas

The YotaPhone 2 can be used as an e-reader for up to five days.

How does the electronic paper display compare to Amazon Kindles?

The YotaPhone 2 screen holds up OK against Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite when used with apps developed for the device. Both screens have a 16-level grey scale, and the YotaPhone has a 235ppi (pixels per inch) resolution compared to the Paperwhite’s 212 ppi. What helps set the Paperwhite apart is the 6-inch screen size, which to me makes it a better option for reading during longer periods. Users willing to buy the Kindle Voyage get something that beats them both, but US$199 or $219 is an awful lot of money for a Wi-Fi e-reader.

What does it have under the hood?

The Android KitKat-based YotaPhone is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2GHz. It has 32GB of integrated storage and 2GB of RAM, which can’t be expanded using a microSD card. There are two cameras, an 8-megapixel camera on one side and a 2-megapixel camera on the other.

 

How big is it?

Even though it has two screens, Yota has managed to keep the size and weight under control. The YotaPhone 2 is slightly heavier and thicker at 145 grams and 8.95 millimeters than Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which also has a 5-inch full HD screen. The Samsung smartphone weighs 130 grams and is 7.9 millimeters thick. The surface size of the Yota device is 144 by 69.5 millimeters compared to 136.6 millimeters by 69.8 millimeters for the Galaxy S4.

What will it ship and what will it cost?

The YotaPhone 2 will start shipping Wednesday in 20 countries in Europe and the Middle East. It costs €699 (US$869) in Europe and £555 (US$871) in the U.K, including tax. It will also be available in Hong Kong by the end of December and Taiwan as well as China in the first quarter of next year. It will then go on sale in the U.S., Canada and Latin America soon after that, Yota said.

 

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