The Kyocera Slider Sonic's bright 262,000-color display looks splendid, though it's tough to see in direct sunlight. Measuring a little less than 2 inches diagonally, the razor-sharp screen made our snapshots look rich and detailed. We also enjoyed, however, the cool Wheel of Fortune-like menus that were also on the Kyocera KX2 Koi. Just below the display are the Kyocera's primary controls, including a five-way navigational keypad (which doubles as a shortcut to four user-defined features), a pair of soft keys, Talk and End buttons, and a small Back button. The keys are well sized and easy to manipulate. Sliding open the phone reveals the blue-backlit keypad, complete with dedicated speakerphone and music player buttons; and yes, for once, you can turn on the speakerphone before beginning a call. The handset's keys are broad and easy to push, though they are flush with the surface of the phone.
Along the left edge of the phone sits a volume rocker and a plastic flap covering the 2.5mm headphone port, while a dedicated camera button sits on the right edge, just above the TransFlash card slot, which is also protected by a rubber flap. Turn the phone around, and you'll find the speaker grille, along with the camera lens, a self-portrait mirror, and a small flash. The Kyocera Slider Sonic comes with a nice selection of extras in the box, including a plastic belt holster, a USB cable for file transfers, and stereo earbuds with an in-line remote/microphone.Beginning with the basics, the Kyocera Slider Sonic comes with a 500-entry phone book with room in each contact for multiple entries. There's also a calendar with week and day views but no week view; text and multimedia messaging; a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser; voice dialing and memos; a vibrate mode; a speakerphone, which, as we mentioned above, can be activated before a call; a tip calculator; an alarm clock; a calculator; a countdown timer; and a world clock. In addition to the phone's 16MB of shared memory, you get the 32MB TransFlash card for storing music but no photos, unfortunately (see below). If you need more space, the phone can support cards up to 512MB. Missing from the mix are Bluetooth and a streaming video player, which would seem a natural fit, given the phone's other multimedia capabilities.
While the Kyocera Slider Sonic doesn't connect to a 3G or even a 2.5G network, it boasts solid multimedia cred, including an MP3/WMA player, a camera, and a video recorder. The VGA camera packs in plenty of features, even if its 600x480 resolution pales in comparison with that of the latest megapixel camera phones on the market. You can snap photos ranging in resolution from VGA quality down to 160x120, and you can tweak brightness, white-balance, and low-light settings. You get your choice of color tones, including Black and White, Negative, and Sepia, and you can pick from eight picture frames--not bad, as long as cartoonish hearts and flowers are to your liking. Even better, there's a self-timer (from 3 to 10 seconds) and a multishot mode for capturing rapid-fire action. Once you're done snapping photos, you can send them to your pals over a multimedia message, upload them to the paid VirginXL service, use them as wallpaper or screensavers, or assign them to a buddy's contact book entry. One thing you can't do, however, is save pictures to the TransFlash card or transfer them via a USB cable.