Kyocera Coast (Boost Mobile) review

If you're looking for a simple, inexpensive flip phone, the Kyocera Coast for Boost Mobile is among the best you can get.
Photo of Kyocera Coast (Boost Mobile)

Cell phones don’t get much cheaper than 30 bucks without a contract, and in most instances, prices that low are a good sign to stay away. But that isn’t the case with the $29.99 Kyocera Coast for Boost Mobile. It has extremely little in the way of features, but it’s easy to use, with good call quality, a very nice keypad, and a large, clear external display. If all you need is an inexpensive flip phone for calls and the occasional text, the Kyocera Coast is one of the best you can get.

Design, Call Quality, and Plan Pricing
There’s nothing fancy about the Coast. It’s a plain Jane flip phone that measures 3.94 by 2.05 by 0.68 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.7 ounces. It’s made up of soft touch black plastic, with a textured back panel that gives it the look of a rugged phone. It isn’t ruggedized, but it feels solid for its price. There’s a power port and Volume buttons on the left and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right. The Coast is also ULE-certified for having an environmentally friendly build.

The front of the phone is home to a 1.44-inch external display, which is surprisingly large. It only has 128-by-128-pixel resolution, but that’s good enough to clearly see your battery life, message notifications, reception, and time. Inside, the 2.4-inch LCD bumps the resolution up to 320-by-240, which looks decent. The default font is easy to read, but there’s an option to make it larger as well.

The Coast has an excellent keypad, with large, well-separated keys. They felt a little stiff at first, but I was able to quickly break them in after using the phone for just a few minutes. The navigation and selection buttons are few and intuitive, unlike some of the needlessly complicated control pads I’ve seen on feature phones lately. Using a number pad for texting is never ideal, but at least this one is large and features a surprisingly robust autocomplete feature. There’s a threaded view for text messages, so you can read them out like a conversation, but there’s no built-in email support.

The Kyocera Coast is a 3G phone with no Wi-Fi. Reception was solid, and voice quality is very good. Voices sound clear and pleasant in the phone’s earpiece, though they distort some at top volume. Calls made with the phone are extremely clear, with average background noise cancellation. The speakerphone sounds a little harsh but is loud enough to hear outdoors, and calls sounded fine over a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset; Nuance-powered voice dialing allows you to make hands-free calls via Bluetooth or speakerphone. The removable 870mAh battery was good for a decent 5 hours and 47 minutes of talk time.

Boost offers unlimited, contract-free talk and text plans starting at $50 per month (you also get unlimited Web data). For every six months you pay your bill on time, your monthly fee reduces by $5, until you reach $35 per month. There are also daily unlimited plans for $2 a day, or you can pay as you go at $0.20 per minute or per text message.

Apps, Features, and Conclusions
You’re not expecting much else from this phone, right? Good. Of course, you still get some very basic apps, like an alarm, calculator, calendar, and stopwatch, which are par for the course across all phones. There’s also a few games, including Midnight Bowling 3 and Uno. And you get an extremely basic built-in Access NetFront 4.1 Web browser, which reads WAP pages. Data speeds aren’t so fast, and it isn’t very easy to read tiny site text on the phone’s display, but if you have an unlimited plan, it’s there if you need it.

There’s no music or video player, so this isn’t much of a multimedia device. You do get a 2-megapixel camera on the back of the phone for photos. There’s only 61MB of free internal memory, and no microSD card slot; that means you can only take up to 78 pictures. But while this camera captures better images than images the VGA camera on the Samsung Factor, they’re still pretty poor. Photos look washed out and hazy, especially with brighter colors, which tend to blow out quite easily. There’s also no easy way to transfer photos off the phone other than sending them in a message.

But as long as you go in with realistic expectations, the Kyocera Coast is actually a very good buy. If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive phone for making calls and sending texts from time to time, the Kyocera Coast is your best bet on Boost. The Samsung Factor is another decent choice, though the Coast has a better display, a better camera, and better battery life. If you’re more interested in texting, Boost has lots of solid, inexpensive keyboarded options, like the LG Rumor Reflex, the Motorola Theory, and the Sanyo Innuendo. But no other phone is less expensive or easier to the use than the Kyocera Coast.

Specifications
Phone Capability / Network CDMA
Screen Resolution 320 x 240 pixels
NFC No
Dimensions 3.94 x 2.05 x 0.68 inches
802.11x/Band(s) No
High-Speed Data CDMA 1X
Battery Life (As Tested) 5 hours 47 minutes
Available Integrated Storage 0.0605469 GB
Processor Speed 480 MHz
CPU Qualcomm QSC6155
GPS Yes
Service Provider Boost
Total Integrated Storage 0.0625 GB
Screen Size 2.4 inches
Weight 3.7 oz
Screen Type TFT LCD
Bands 850, 1900
Physical Keyboard No
Camera Resolution 2 MP
Screen Pixels Per Inch 167 ppi
microSD Slot No
Form Factor Flip Phone
Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR

Verdict
If you're looking for a simple, inexpensive flip phone, the Kyocera Coast for Boost Mobile is among the best you can get.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc