I've never had a touch screen phone before so it took a little adjusting but the Kin is a great little phone if you don't like complicated. It's really straightforward and easy to use. It's a phone but it's also a great tool for keeping you in touch with your friends and aware of what is going on.
Sorry for the delay but I wanted to give this phone a fair shake to accurately be able to review the product. Unfortunately just days after I finished sorting through all my thoughts, Microsoft has decided to "kill the Kin" just 6 weeks after it's launch. However, it is still up for sale on the Verizon website should you still be interested.
It's interface is super simple to use as you can slide between 3 screens and tap to select or press a button to go back. If I was still a teen I think I would be in love with this phone as it makes social networking a breeze and only took minutes to set up my Windows Live, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Once these accounts were set up they instantly imported contacts to my phone. The Kin also has a visual feed of my friends on the main page, called the Loop, of real time status updates and tweets. I also think the phone has a great feature with being able to send Facebook and Twitter updates not only with ease but simultaneously! It's also super easy to comment on friends Facebook updates by clicking on whatever it is on the feed that intrigues you. Unfortunately replying to Tweets is not so easy and must be done manually. I also wish the phone had a feature to easily Re-Tweet and also remember your friend's Twitter handles.
The camera is quite decent for a little phone and it even has a flash! The flash is super useful for taking pictures of friends while you're out but doesn't work very well if you try to use it at a distance for scenery or concert shots.
I personally found that talking on the phone is a little digital sounding but I'm not sure if it's the phone or the Verizon network. I also liked how the phone grouped text conversations and call history. I do also wish there was an easier way to re-dial friends that you've just been talking to like on most phones, instead of having to look them up in your phonebook/favorites.
At first I was shocked that battery life couldn't seem to get me through the day (it would be fine but if I were to go out late at night it would want to die before I got back home) but after turning the brightness of the screen way down it seems to do just fine and I can make it through the day with ease. All phones that are used for features other than just talk/text seem to suffer the same battery life issues. Fortunately, as most recent phone releases this one charges on a USB cord which can come in handy for emergency charging sessions at the office/a friend's house.
A couple of things that bother me about the Kin are the lack of Calender and lack of games. I definitely am one to use my calender all the time as I have a hard time keeping track of events, concerts, parties and hang outs. Apparently since the phone is still relatively new, this was lower on the priority list after surveying people of their most important daily needs. I am not much of a gamer but I love them for waiting on the subway or to kill time when waiting for friends. As a phone that is geared towards young people I would think that this would have been a more important feature that would have been developed.
Checking email on this phone is a breeze and I love that you can effortlessly switch from account to account by just sliding your finger sideways. It's great if you're like me and have multiple email accounts to check back and forth between. I also loved that with a 2 finger tap you can delete multiple emails at once. It really comes in handy if your account becomes bombarded by email advertisements/newsletters that you don't really have time to read as mine often does. The only downfall with the email function I found was not being able view emails that had code/images embedded with ease unless I later returned to them from an actual computer.
In terms of music, this phone features Zune music player but as my current laptop is very old and decrepit (4+years) I wasn't able to properly run Zune without everything on my computer wanting to die, so unfortunately I couldn't test this feature.
I think I would have loved this phone as a teenager or conversely if I was someone who didn't grow up using computers and wanted something simple, straightforward with extras that make it a little bit more than just a phone. However, if you are looking for a smartphone, this is not a smartphone, even if monthly service plans are priced as though it was. Verizon's monthly costs will run you about $70 (thanks @jonfingas), which is the same as a Droid phone which is capable of doing much more. Perhaps pricing/carrier choice may be the larger reason for the phone's failure than the product itself.