Hands-on with Yota Devices' next-gen Yotaphone

A dual-screened Android that's surprisingly swish [updated with video]

The first Yotaphone was a good idea: a regular Android phone on the front, an E Ink screen on the back that delivered notifications, tweets, faceblurts and so on without draining your battery. Also, you could read books on it! But the first Yotaphone felt like a prototype; a brilliant idea on paper, but not quite there yet. The new Yotaphone, which will be released in a few months, is an altogether slicker slice of multiscreen mobile.

READ MORE: Yotaphone review

When you're thumbing the 5in AMOLED on the new Yotaphone's front it seems like a fairly standard Android phone, with a fairly standard Android UI. With its lozenge-like form, curved edges and lack of massive logos it feels a bit like a Nexus S or a Nexus 4, which is a big improvement over the boxy design of the first phone. The USB port at the base has a pair of speakers on either side, and overall it feels like a proper current-gen smartphone, albeit one with a unique extra selling point.

More after the break...

On the flipside, the new 4.7in E Ink screen is a huge improvement. Where the first Yotaphone relied on a fairly clumsy swipe-panel, the new one has full touch control. This makes the second screen genuinely useful: you can use it to make calls, type messages and tweets and even play a few (fairly limited) games. With a nice curve to the edge of the screen (and the camera in the right place this time), it doesn't seem to add any bulk, and because it requires next to no power, it could be enormously useful.

As with the previous Yotaphone, this prototype has been announced to the world about eight months before it actually goes on sale, so it'll be a while before you can get your hands on one. By then there might be more tempting goodies on offer - you could argue that the Galaxy S5's power-saving tech makes the Yotaphone's E Ink screen redundant - but we're really looking forward to seeing this sleeker, more sculpted Yotaphone later this year.

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