Last year during spring CTIA 2012, we were introduced to the ruggedized Kyocera Hydro, which eventually landed over on Boost Mobile’s lineup. This year, though, we’re seeing two specific models that extend the Hydro family, as one particular unit is headed over to regional carrier US Cellular. Donning the same ruggedized elements, the Kyocera Hydro XTRM is undoubtedly going to withstand more punishment than the average smartphone, since it has military standard 810G certification for shocks and drops – plus, IP57 certification against dust and immersion in under 3.28 feet of water for 30 minutes.
Hardly something we’d expect to be profound on a ruggedized oriented smartphone, the 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) IPS display on the Kyocera Hydro XTRM doesn’t scream anything revolutionary, but despite that, it’s comforting to know that its reinforced housing ensures that it’ll be soundly protected in the event it’s dropped. Yes, details aren’t the sharpest, colors might seem a bit dull, and viewing angles might distorted at times depending on the angle you look at it, but in the end, it’s simply the sturdiness that pushes through everything else.
To tell you the truth, the design of the Kyocera Hydro XTRM follows in the same direction as its long lost family member in the original Kyocera Hydro – so it’s a straightforward design that lacks any enticing elements to make it a drool worthy looking thing. Then again, that’s not necessarily the direction that Kyocera is aiming for with the device. Instead, its supreme ruggedness is put on show during our look at the smartphone, as one particular unit was encased in a block of ice to show off its impervious design. As for the rest of the specs, it includes a 5-megapixel rear camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing one, 4G LTE connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and aGPS.
On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of tinkering done by Kyocera when it comes to the interface, as it’s running a mostly stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience – save for a few widgets, of course. Beyond that, it seems as though things are moving steadily along thanks to the dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor it’s hiding inside of its body. Although our time was brief with the smartphone, it seemed to do a decent job with most of the operations we dished at it – albeit, they weren’t the most intensive.
Heck, at $29.99 when it’s launched in US Cellular stores starting on May 24th (available online starting today), it seems as though that the Kyocera Hydro XTRM will be a fantastic offering for anyone looking to pick up a smartphone that’ll certainly withstand some abuse. Not only does it seem like an easy buy, but the rugged aspects of the smartphones seem to further justify its worth in the long run.