Party at the front, business at the back. With its unique two-screen setup, the Yotaphone 2 is ready for any situation. The hyper-efficient Electronic Paper Display (EPD) on the back is great for reading and keeping your battery going in emergencies. And the bright and colourful AMOLED front screen is perfect for movies and games. But the Yotaphone 2 has a lot more to offer than a split personality.
THE BEST BITS
- EPD screen on the back saves battery when you don’t need colour
- The Android software has been left as Google designed it
- The 8MP camera punches above its weight
- Incredible battery life is measured in days, not hours
- Sleek design feels premium
THE REAR SCREEN
The extra screen on the Yotaphone 2 is a great conversation starter, but is it anything more than a gimmick? Well, we think it’s a lot more than a novel marketing ploy. That rear screen doesn’t use any power to show a still image, so it’s always on – making it perfect for notifications. Just set up your YotaHub to show you the notifications you want and you’ll never have to power up the main screen to check what’s going on.
It’s also incredibly easy to read in bright light. Standard smartphone screens can be overpowered by the brightness of the sun. But an EPD works by reflecting light to show images. So the brighter it is outside, the brighter the image will be on the screen. Of course, that means you won’t be able to read in bed without putting the lamp on.
And because it shows 16 different shades of grey, it looks like paper, making it ideal for reading books. You can even use it to play simple games like chess or 2048 without draining your battery. You couldn’t play a fast game like Real Racing 3 on it, but it’s still remarkably useful.
With that super-efficient rear screen and a surprisingly big battery, the Yotaphone 2 lasts a really long time between charges. Yota Devices reckons the phone will last five days when reading on the EPD or last two days when you use it normally. And after using it for a while, we believe them.
You can get even more battery life out of it if you just need a phone for calls and texts. We tested out YotaEnergy mode, a battery saving mode, while the phone had 66% battery and it told us to expect the phone to last another week. You could go on holiday and leave your charger behind!
Another cool battery feature tells you how long it’ll take to fully charge when you plug the Yotaphone 2 in. You can then watch it count down on the back screen. It’s handy if you’re fully charging your phone before going somewhere.
On paper, the Yotaphone 2 doesn’t have a standout camera. But in reality, it punches well above its weight. The 8MP photos look sharp and detailed with really natural colours. And there are some nice features like Photo Sphere, which lets you take a huge photo of everything around you, and Lens Blur, which adds a professional background blur, so you can create even better shots.
One really cool camera feature that has no effect on your photos, other than producing a genuine smile, is on the back screen. When the camera app’s launched using the main display, the rear one shows a picture of a retro camera. Then, when you press the shutter, the lens and flash on the picture animate to show the photo’s been taken. We love stuff in our tech that has no use other than to look cool.
Considering the phone has two screens and a big battery, it’s actually really slim and light. And it looks good too. The whole thing reminds us of the Nexus 4 with its smooth body and curved corners. And you can personalise the Yotaphone 2 by putting pictures on the rear EPD. We’re big fans of how this phone looks and feels.
Inside, things are slightly dated as the Yotaphone 2 was unveiled a year before its UK launch. That means it has the slightly older Snapdragon 800 processor and it’s still running Android 4.4.3 KitKat software. Having said that, we don’t think the phone’s slow, and since filming the video above, Yota Devices has told us that an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop is coming soon.
We’re really impressed to see a new company dare to launch a new type of smartphone. Thinking outside the box to develop a phone with two screens is a big risk, but it’s one that we think has paid off.
We’d have liked to see the phone hit shelves earlier so the software and processor were bang up to date, but neither of these little things are fatal flaws for the Yotaphone 2.