Introduction


Rumors about sapphire glass expected to be used by the next-generation iPhone have been swirling about for some time now, but we don’t have to necessarily wait for that exact handset to see what the hoopla is all about regarding this unique piece of glass. Instead, all we need to do is check out the already-available Kyocera Brigadier for Verizon Wireless. It not only employs virtually scratch-proof sapphire glass over its display, but also continues Kyocera’s tradition of crafting durable phones – the likes of which can withstand even the most extreme punishment. It’s fine and dandy it can do all that, but does it have enough additional quality elements to make it a contender?

The package contains:
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Product safety & warranty information
  • Getting to know your phone guide

Design


Good looks aren’t in its DNA, but its rugged construction gives it some serious protection.

Hardly the kind of phone that bases its success solely on having good looks, the Kyocera Brigadier appears exactly like any other heavily ruggedized smartphone put out in the last couple of years. It’s thick (0.52-inches), extremely weighty in the hand at 6.6oz, and its look leaves more to be desired – so it’s the kind of thing you don’t buy for its looks. In all fairness, though, it’s fit for people who want a seriously rugged phone, seeing that its construction meets military standard 810g to give it protection against dust, shock, vibration, water immersion, and even solar radiation – in the event that ever occurs in your lifetime, of course.

Sure, it’s more than capable of surviving drops onto the pavement, but the softer toned rear plastic scratches very easily – whereas the rubbery coated surfaces do a better job of masking them. Unlike past ruggedized Kyocera smartphones we’ve reviewed, the Brigadier doesn’t offer a removable back cover, so it’s a closed design we’re dealing with here. Of course, this particular decision helps to solidify its protection even further, but we have to constantly remind ourselves that its microUSB and 3.5mm ports need to be securely covered – to ensure that it survives a dip under water.

Looking around the sides of the phone, we spot its power button, microphone, dedicated speakerphone key, microSD & nanoSIM slots, microUSB port, separated volume controls, lanyard spot, and a handy programmable key. Going with the conventional layout, it also features physical Android buttons beneath its display – something that’s a rarity nowadays. Rounding things out, there’s an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash in the rear, and a front-facing 2-megapixel one.


Kyocera Brigadier

Kyocera Brigadier

Dimensions

5.37 x 2.69 x 0.52 inches

136.4 x 68.3 x 13.2 mm

Weight

6.6 oz (187 g)

Kyocera Hydro Life

Kyocera Hydro Life

Dimensions

5.19 x 2.57 x 0.43 inches

131.8 x 65.3 x 10.9 mm

Weight

4.8 oz (136 g)

Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE

Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE

Dimensions

5.1 x 2.7 x 0.5 inches

130 x 69 x 13 mm

Weight

6.17 oz (175 g)

Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G

Dimensions

5.11 x 2.59 x 0.46 inches

129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Kyocera Brigadier

Kyocera Brigadier

Dimensions

5.37 x 2.69 x 0.52 inches

136.4 x 68.3 x 13.2 mm

Weight

6.6 oz (187 g)

Kyocera Hydro Life

Kyocera Hydro Life

Dimensions

5.19 x 2.57 x 0.43 inches

131.8 x 65.3 x 10.9 mm

Weight

4.8 oz (136 g)

Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE

Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE

Dimensions

5.1 x 2.7 x 0.5 inches

130 x 69 x 13 mm

Weight

6.17 oz (175 g)

Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G

Dimensions

5.11 x 2.59 x 0.46 inches

129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display


Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield glass is utterly impenetrable from being scratched!

Let’s get the specs out of the way, shall we? First, the Kyocera Brigadier packs along a fairly sizable 4.5-inch 720 x 1280 IPS-LCD display, which gives it a respectable pixel density count of 326 ppi – making fine text easy to decipher. Needless to say, the specs aren’t astounding, but we’re really shocked to see the display achieving a maximum output of 610 nits of brightness. That’s mighty impressive, as many of the brightest displays tap out at usually 450 nits! This makes it easily readable even when the sun very powerful. Furthermore, its color temperature of 7047 K is also very good, but colors, on the other hand, aren’t as accurate as we’d like – such as yellow, which has more of a greenish tone to it, but nothing too bad.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s go back and focus our attention on the Sapphire Shield glass that’s laid over the display – giving it a virtually scratch-proof quality. Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 has proven to be resilient to scratches, but Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield glass proves to be really superior in our experience! Purposely scratching it with a sharp object, having the phone rub against our keys while in our pocket, and even dropping it onto the pavement, they all hardly put any signs of wear to the glass. Even rolling the phone around in sand does nothing to penetrate the resilient Sapphire Shield glass from showing any scratches!


FEATURED VIDEO

14 Comments

1. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Woah. A minimum brightness of 72 nits?! That's bad for night use. Even though the rest is good enough for someone who can afford it. Kinda like a Batman phone. Costs in thousands and rugged enough to fight Superman. XD

2. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Edit: Costs high. Though not in thousands. I had some Opera beta feature on which converted $ into Qatri Riyal. ~_~

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7567; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

So far its for Verizon only. Where did you see a price for this device? I even tried to find it on Verizon.

3. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

I was expecting a little more for a 3100mAh / 720p display combo.

5. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

Kind of looks like Alienware :)

8. EugeneNine

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

One of the features the review has missed is that its not only water proof but you can use it while wet. Water on the screen doesn not mess with it. My son was able to play Minecraft while holding the phone underwater. I seem to be unable to get the camera to focus. Tapping somewhere to focus will move and shrink the white square but then it focuses elsewhere.

9. dannyc32

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

The price for this phone is $399. That's w/o a contract. The battery life on this phone doesn't last the 12 to 20 hours. Its more like 8 to 10 hours if you don't have any apps running in the background. I like the looks on this phone because its across between a blackberry and the droid 2. It uses the same system as what's on a basic tablets.

10. EugeneNine

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I get more than 8-10 hours. I get up at 6am and by 9 or 10pm its usually 60-70% battery. I did turn on their eco mode but I also have a power hungry corporate e-mail program called Good.

11. wesright

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 17, 2014

I also get more. I have bluetooth running everyday for about 9 hours for my Audible listening which runs a majority of that 9 hours. Not all obviosly but often I leave it running and just rewind back to go over what I missed. I thought I'd lose a lot of battery power because of the bluetooth connection to the external speaker or wireless earbuds but that 9 hours drains it down to 60-70% I used to have a wifi app shut off wifi when not in use at home but even without it I almost never go under 40% with all day use. To be honest, I've only had the phone for just over a month but I love it. It is fast and efficient and super rugged. It spanks every other smartphone I've ever had. Sure, some had one feature better than another but overall this phone is my favorite by far. One thing I must note, the phone calls from the car are so sensitive they pick up everything. If I have the radio playing whomever I call can still hear me scratch my nose! Because of that I have to close the windows when making a call, because the wind noise is so overpowering. With the windows closed its great but with the windows open people have a hard time understanding me. I can hear them clearly even in loud environs which surprises me but it has some special features for that which I have to read up on. Sorry for babbling on so long.

12. jerrylong

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 27, 2016

is there a fix for the sim card all of a sudden it will not stay locked in !!! and my carrier has informed me that it is a common problem with the brigadier is this true and is there a fix for ?

13. kuta92

Posts: 6; Member since: May 20, 2017

Aermoo M1 is the best performance phone i have ever seen ... It is good enough to take a photo for daily use with an 84MP camera. Aermoo M1 powered by Mediatek MT6757 chipset, Aermoo M1 runs on Android OS v7.0 (Nougat) out of the box. It features a 5.2 inches IPS display...It comes with 5000 mah huge battery ..it is very reliable phone and shock proof phone and water proof too ...give it a try and you will be proud of yourself for this techno beast :) :)

14. scapistron

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 12, 2018

After having this phone for about 20 months and regretting it for the last 19 I can say that I wouldn't go for another Kyocera ruggedized phone again. I've gone from a Samsung Rugby (2012?) to a Casio Commando LTE (2014) the Kyocera is a let down. I've never put any of my phones in a case or applied a screen protector, I find them antithetical. The Rugby held up well over two years. Come upgrade time the only Verizon choice was the already year old Casio. It held up very well physically, but the hardware wasn't great to begin with so after two years it was painfully slow. At the time the only option left at Verizon was the Kyocera and it looked good on paper. After about a year both port covers had broken and it took forever to get Kyocera to send out replacements. After about 16 months the screen has started to delaminate along both long sides. At 20 months the phone doesn't want to take a charge and the buzzer has all but stopped working. I never found the call quality to be very good from the beginning and some people I talked to said it was extremely poor on their end. I'm admittedly tough on my phones and my purchasing timing has been bad (early spring), but the Kyocera just didn't cut the mustard. I've resorted to using the very old Casio for the last couple of weeks and am amazed at how much better physical condition that phone is in. It takes a full 60 seconds to send a text, but it works. Given the apparent bad build quality / design of the brigadier I don't plan on continuing with Verizon and getting the Kyocera DuraForce.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Brigadier
  • Display 4.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(20h talk time)

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