First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

Summary: In order to help you understand if the new Microsoft Kin One and Two devices are an attractive option for teenagers I am having my two teen daughters evaluate the devices.


The Microsoft Kin One and Two devices are now available from Verizon Wireless and there are several reviews from various technology sites on the Internet. As I mentioned yesterday, rather than have me evaluate and post my traditional phone review I am having my two teenage daughters test the devices for the next several days since they are part of the targeted market segment for these devices and I want to capture and share their perspectives.

In the video below my daughters are introduced and the Kin One and Two are first given to them to unbox and start setting up. I wanted to give you a sense of what they are currently using and who the reviewers are while capturing their first quick impressions. They both immediately started using the devices and after a couple hours of usage gave me their written thoughts on each device that I am also including below the video. I plan to have them spend a few days with each device and we will assemble a detailed review with them answering several of my questions after using the devices as their main devices in day-to-day activities.

First impressions of the Kin One - Maloree (14)

When i first opened this futuristic cylinder of a box I thought the packaging was very unique! But when i first saw the phone it was quite small and very light weight, which made me feel it wasn't very good quality. After putting in the battery and starting it up the set up and main operating was very confusing because it wouldn't recognize my Gmail password. My dad had to help reset my password on my Windows Live account so I could login. I think they can make it a little more user friendly. When I first started texting the space bar got a little annoying, it clicks in an odd way. When looking through contacts it was very disappointing because it includes all friends on MySpace and Facebook who include there phone numbers and I didn't really want all of that information in my contact list. I think it would be easier to add your own contacts instead of it automatically putting people you may not want in your contacts. I do enjoy the unlock screen when you have to flip a virtual page with a welcome message reading "Nice to meet you." Under settings they have a very personalizable feature of color schemes including my favorite blue also green, red, and pink. Texting on the keyboard is very easy to text with and also I love the fact that it shows it as a conversation. I think the texting features will be very teenage friendly. But the music you have to have a Zune Pass to get music so I will need my dad to help me set that up on the computer. The volume button on the side is very handy and easy to operate. The camera seems to also be very high quality, compared to my other phones! After using the phone for a couple of hours I have started to really like this phone and have gotten used to the form factor and keyboard. The speed is quite brilliant compared to the HTC Touch Diamond since it doesn't take as long of a time to get from place to place. I'll keep using and messing around with the Kin One and keep you in touch.

First impressions of the Kin Two - Danika (16)

When I first picked up the Kin 2, my first thought was that it was "cheap". It felt very light and plasticy, especially compared to my new Sidekick LX 2009. After I turned it on started exploring it I was very confused at first. It was hard to navigate it and get used to, but after awhile I got the hang of it. I like how when you update your status, you can upload the same status to all communities at once. The keyboard is easy to use and little pressure is required. The texting is in conversation bubbles which is my favorite feature so far. On the keyboard there is a button with a ;) on it, upon clicking it a small menu pops up with quite a few different smiley face options, which is really cool and convenient. The camera is very nice and clear. It makes me want to take pictures and upload them because its so much easier then off the computer. When texting or calling someone you can get their phone number right off Facebook, avoiding the entering of all your contacts. The Myspace and Facebook parts of the phone are mainly about status updates and such, theres no really viewing of your profile or picture of others. It has few similarities to the website itself. And lastly, when you receive a text message it pops up on your screen as a bubbles shaped sticky note that you can click on immediately or ignore and exit out of. Overall my first impressions of the Kin 2 have been mostly positive and it seems to be a very teen friendly phone.

Next week we will post our thorough review so you can see what these two teenagers thought about using the Kin One and Two in their daily lives so stay tuned for that article.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Telcos

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  • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

    thanks Matthew - appreciate your approach and the girls effort to describe the phone. It seems the Kin can in fact hit the mark - which you would never guess reading other reviews on the phone to date.
    • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

      I agree with you. I think this is the honest way to do the review rather than a bunch of tech bloggers who will not give the phone a fair shake because its not made by Apple or Google. What Microsoft needs to do now is fix the monthly pricing issue with Verizon, throw in for free the zune pass (sans free 10 downloads) and start ad ad campaign showing off the phones strengths ie the Loop, the spot, the studio and the Zune player.
      • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

        @curioscat2: Totally agree with cat:

        My eldest daughter is now 12 and is increasingly wanting to stay in touch with her friends and family. She's REALLY excited about the Kin and we'll be following Matthew's girls' experiences with great interest.
  • Zune Pass, Windows Live Passwords

    To me the iPhone is a nice thing, but hampered by it's Apple lock-in, which means I won't be buying anymore Apple crapple having been stung once.

    These Kin device just reinforce to me that Microsoft is just a wannabe Apple, that wants to get the lock-in that Apple has, but without a device capable of inducing gadget lust.

    So nah, the same thing turned me away from the Zune MP3 player, the belief that if I bought one it would try to lock me into Microsoft services.
    • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

      @guihombre: This is a Microsoft branded phone targetted at a very specific market segment with very specific needs - it's not a general purpose phone - that comes later this year (Windows Phone 7).

      Unlike Apple's approach, this isn't about the phone devices - it's about the experience: essentially simplifying the experience of those who keep in touch through multiple social sites.

      What I'd like to know is if you can sync your own music collection with your Kin without having to subscribe to ANY music service?
      • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

        @de-void I will make sure to have them try syncing their music collection (mostly iTunes non-DRM music) to the Zune devices before they sign up and test out the Zune Pass (14-day free trial).
        palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

      I'm not worried about getting locked into MS sites with these, more like that if something better than Facebook comes along, I am tied into FB and this phone wont be updated to support other new communities. This is just data tie in all over again. There is no way to export much of this stuff between social sites. The closest I have is a facebook app that add profile info to my Mac Address book, which then synchs it up to Google, which hten synchs to My PC and Linux machines using Firefox. At least with Gmail, you can export the contact info out to common formats.
  • Reviews from real users-- what a concept!

    I think this is great! Reviews from average users in the target age group for the device. What good are reviews from a bunch of tech journalists who are out of touch with what teens want and are undoubtedly going to be underwhelmed by a device that is simplified for people that perhaps haven't toyed with every new piece of technology that hits the market?
  • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

    Matthew, I feel your pain!!! Two teens at almost the
    same age, now we know why your appearance as changed
    a bit. I've got you beat...I've got 3, 2 guys and 1 gal
    (my sons and stepdaughter) as well as a daughter in her
    20s, the younger 3 are within 2 years of each other.

    My question would be one in regards to the monthly plans,
    is there a "shared" data plan? Family plan? If parents
    have to purchase a plan for each device, that can get a
    tad prohibitive.
    Good luck...don't you just love high school years!!!
    • RE: RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

      @wizard57m@... I agree with you about the family data plan.<br><br>To Verizon: You can have up to 3 devices with a $15 Zune Pass, so why not do the same with your data plans!?<br><br>(Gee... I had to retype my message but I didn't remember what I typed originally since I had to log off and back on again. As to reporting spam above, I get a "permission denied." *sigh* :()
      Grayson Peddie
      • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

        @Grayson Peddie: Agree with your comments.


  • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

    Great review so far. I will be curious about the web browser on this device and how it displays pages. Will it be full rendering or will it be mobile browsing like on most Verizon feature phones? The other question is that they mention the zune pass for uploading music, will this phone take regular MP3's also or is it strictly just zune pass?
    Loverock Davidson
  • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

    Boy, teens do think differently. And they don't dismiss anything based on first impressions - they have more patience than grown-ups to try and understand then realize if they liked it or not. I'm not big fan of Kin based on what I see, but hey, I'm not the targeted audience though I'm only 26. :)
  • RE: RE: RE: RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

    Oh dear. I'm not a grammar Nazi type, and I fear I'm going to be too harsh here, but, "futuristic cylinder of a box[?]" Boxes are rectangular, not cylindrical. That cylinder (shown in the photo) isn't particularly different from the cylinders I've been seeing all my years and hardly evocative of a future. Now I know what she meant, "The packaging is futuristic with the phone inside a cylinder." (Mind you, I was done with cylinders as the future concept after Year 0 A.P., i.e., After Pringles, but that's old grumpy guy talk.) The next sentence begins with a "but," even though what follows does not refer back to the prior sentence.<br><br>Regarding "very unique," we know what the style error is there.<br><br>Now I presume that the specifics I called out and the other awkward and run-on constructions were noted and allowed through in order to have authenticity of voice.<br><br>Please rethink this for the follow-up blog(s). Working to make sense of the text became tedious for this reader and I stopped trying. For the young women, an important lesson to learn is that critical writing is more than transcribing verbatim what one would say to peers. With a little guidance, we may have their interesting perspective in their own, best words.
    • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers


      Ah to be so sad my miserable pedant. Grammar and language evolve with the young: perhaps you dwell too far in the past. Either way i suspect you are at the stage where the young can teach you much more about life than you can ever teach them.
    • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

      I'm sure I will be thought of as he harsh old A$$hole, but just had to get this off of my chest. Will you please grow up, already?
    • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

      Hello, what is the problem with you? Those are from 14-16 years old, they are learning. I think their grammar is as good as most of the serious bloggers'. And I do think before saying that you better check yours.
  • Great Idea

    I've read the reviews from the typical sources, and pretty much all of them are not big fans of the phones. I don't think these reviews should be discounted at all, but this is a great idea to get a realistic perspective of the phones.

    And to DannyO_0x98, do u seriously hav nuthing bettar 2 du? quit being so LEGAListic & giv credz to the girl's fo humoring there father and be willing to help out a bunch'o fone nerdz.
  • Great blog

    Thank you Matthew to show us one more time how a great blogger should behave.
    This is probably the best approach one could have thought of to get an objective review for this kind of device.
  • RE: First thoughts on Kin One and Two from teen reviewers

    such an obvious and great idea, to let members of the target user demographic test the phone, instead of "critics".
    you will be doing zdnet readers an extremely generous favor if you continue to permit us to hear your charming daughters review the kins, in their own words with minimal "corrections".
    thank you