Product Launch by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday May 21, 2013.
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Kyocera built the Torque to be incredibly strong, but it was also thick as thieves. The new Kyocera Hydro XTRM is also meant to be resistant to life's challenges, but it does it in a thinner body with a bit more style. The Hydro XTRM has Military Standard 810G certification to withstand drops, IP57 for dust resistance, and can survive in up to 3.28 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. It's meant to survive conditions the average smartphone would not, but it doesn't make protection outshine its potential to look good. The phone has a hard plastic build that fits comfortably in its user's hand and feels light.
From a hardware perspective, the Kyocera Hydro XTRM is a decidedly midrange device. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch display with WVGA resolution, and 1 GB of RAM. The display is impact resistant and recessed in its reinforced housing, so the screen is less likely to break when dropped. In brief testing, the phone seemed to perform well but not particularly fast. It did a good job as someone would expect from that class. Where the Hydro XTRM makes is mark is in small areas like the Smart Sonic Receiver which transmits sound through vibrations pumped directly to the eardrum. Voice clarity is better in noisy environments because you don't rely on a speaker pushing sounds to the ear. SSR feels slightly strange at first, but the benefit to people who are often in noisy environments and wish to be heard almost immediately overshadows the change in feelings.
U.S. Cellular will begin selling the Kyocera Hydro XTRM online today, and the phone will be available in stores beginning May 24 for $29.99 after instant rebate. The device runs Android 4.1 with a few minor adjustments and supports 4G LTE in a select number of markets. Here's a Kyocera Hydro XTRM hands-on video with some more impressions.
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.