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The innovative YotaPhone gets a makeover and tons of new features

From tomorrow you can pick up the YotaPhone 2 in white, complete with a refreshed secondary e-ink screen, while new and old phones also receive a bunch of new features and an intuitive refreshed interface.

The YotaPhone 2, a unique smartphone which aims to solve poor mobile battery life with a second e-ink screen on the backside, will be available in a sleek new white finish as well as the standard black model from tomorrow. Both the black and white models will drop in price to £440 and boast a spruced-up interface, based on customer feedback, as well as loads of decent new features to make the most of that second screen.

Check out our full review of the original YotaPhone 2.

YotaPhone 2, now in white

The shiny new white model keeps the same glossy black front of the original YotaPhone 2, but the rear side is now formed of white plastic to help it stand out. On top of that, the secondary e-ink screen has been inverted, so now the background is now white with text and images appearing black.

Yota Devices told us this inversion also makes for improved readability and also helps to cut down on the general screen refresh time.

That secondary e-ink screen is designed to be used to check messages and other notifications, read ebooks and play with basic supported apps. The idea is that it sucks less power than the primary IPS screen, which should be used only for watching movies and so on – thus saving battery life.

In addition, the e-ink screen offers better outdoor visibility and is a little easier on your eyes during prolonged use, great news if you often read Kindle books on your commute.

We definitely prefer the look of the white model, which boasts a crisp, clean finish, from our hands-on time. But aside from the lick of new paint and the inverted colours on the e-ink display, it’s basically business as usual.

New YotaPhone 2 interface and features

Yota Devices surveyed 5000 users of the YotaPhone 2 and used their feedback to overhaul the interface, which now offers more intuitive control.

As a result, the UI of the second screen is now a lot more similar to Android, which is definitely a good thing. There’s a ‘home’ button which can be used to return to your home screen and now you can swipe through the ‘panels’ (or desktops).

Notifications are also now handled in much better way. Messages and other important bits will pop right up on the secondary screen so you don’t miss them, complete with picture illustrations based on the context of the message – so for instance, if someone texts you to come meet them for dinner, you’ll see a picture of a plate of spaghetti. You can respond straight through that screen.

You’ll also be clearly informed on the e-ink display if something important happens – for instance, when you’re running low on battery power.

The YotaPhone 2 now supports more apps for the secondary screen too, including full-screen Instagram and other social channels. There’s also a simple notes app called YotaNotes, to quickly churn out a shopping list or list of directions which you can then constantly refer to without draining the phone’s battery.

As everyone is now obsessed with keeping trim, Yota has come up with YotaFitness, which keeps track of your workouts via the phone’s built-in motion sensors. It’s a basic app that won’t sync to your fitness wearables, but it’s possible to have it constantly displayed on your e-ink screen, for quick referral and a spot of motivation.

Sports fans will be interested to hear that Yota has teamed up with EuroSport for the YotaSport app, which flashes your team’s performance (red cards and all) and the latest results onto the secondary screen, so your mobile’s battery doesn’t drain heavily at the weekend as you constantly hit ‘refresh’.

There’s also SmartTV support for Samsung and LG tellies, which turns the second screen into a TV remote. Or if you prefer books to the gogglebox, YotaPhone now supports the Bookmate service, a recent rival to Amazon offering 500k virtual tomes in its library, accessed by paying a monthly subscription. So kind of like a Netflix for reading.

Finally, the Musixmatch feature allows you to tap an icon on the secondary screen to quickly identify a song that’s playing on the radio or in the club.

YotaPhone 2 white UK price and release date

You’ll be able to pick up the white and black YotaPhone 2 models for £440 from May 14th, down from the original price of £555. The new UI will be available as an update for existing Yotaphone 2 handsets.


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