The small SE47 will fit in your pocket.
On the phone's face is a five-line, 65,000-color display that's visible in most lighting conditions. Below the screen, a four-way navigation controller encircles an OK button. Flanking that pad are four keys: two are soft, one enables talking, and another ends calls or shuts off the phone. There's no need to worry about accidental activation; you can't do anything (not even power down) until you slide back the cover. When you do that, you see the blue-backlit keypad. At its top corners are buttons for navigating back through the menu and turning the speaker on and off; their odd placement makes access difficult. Also note that the keys are small and flush with the handset's surface; they made us misdial quite a few times.
These tiny keys caused more than a few misdials.
As for the menus, you choose between lists and icons. We found the text easier to use, but we aren't opposed to the graphical view. Most prepay handsets provide just the basics, so the Kyocera Slider SE47's feature set surprised us. The 200-name phone book can display a cartoon for each contact. You get text and EMS messaging, voice-activated dialing, a speakerphone (see the Performance section), and a voice-memo recorder. The mobile has 16 polyphonic ring tones, plus a vibrate option. Little extras include a tip calculator, a scheduler, a calculator, an alarm clock, and a stopwatch. The Airplane mode lets you play stored games during a flight; the SE47 comes with Tetris, Brick Attack, and Race 21.
The SE47's most interesting features relate to the prepay service. Virgin's Top Up application automatically connects to a wireless Web site where you can add money to your account or locate the nearest Virgin Mobile store. You pay with your credit card or your Top Up card; in the latter case, the charge will ultimately end up on your credit card. Complementing that feature is the Balance program, which (you guessed it) checks your available funds and sends you a text message with the latest amount.
You can personalize your SE47 with a variety of included wallpaper, screensavers, color themes, and ring tones. And the Slider supports BREW, so you can download even more wallpaper, tones, apps, and games. Most of the content on our Virgin Mobile version was MTV-related, but the Verizon handset will be able to receive the company's Get It Now offerings. You can also surf the wireless Web on the 1xRTT high-speed data network. The Kyocera Slider SE47 operates on CDMA 800/1900. When we tested the handset using Virgin Mobile service in Las Vegas and San Francisco, overall audio quality was impressive. We could hear callers well, and they said they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. Additionally, the speakerphone's sound was loud and clear. The SE47's only downfall in this department was that the unit heated up after about 10 minutes of continuous talking.
The battery charger is big but still fit for travel.
As for battery life, the SE47 matched Kyocera's 4-hour talk-time rating and surpassed the 100-hour rated standby time by 20 hours. While the phone recharges fairly quickly, the charger is among the largest we've seen in quite a while.