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Kyocera Brigadier

Best water-resistant and waterproof Android smartphones money can buy

For the first time in many years, mobile consumers seem to overwhelmingly approve of a next-gen Samsung flagship. The Galaxy S6 and particularly the S6 Edge are (almost) all they could have been, with metal frames (finally!), robust Gorilla Glass back covers, uber-crisp displays, powerful yet frugal processors, highly competent OIS cameras and smoother than ever software.

Android water

Still, haters gonna hate. Fueling the muffled criticism, Sammy removed external storage support, shrunk down battery capacity and, above all, “forgot” water protection. There’s no word on an “Active” variant on the horizon either, at least not yet, so if toilet bowl slips are your worst fear, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Luckily, respectable, “mainstream” liquid-proof Androids can be easily found on Amazon these days. Thanks chiefly to Sony, but also Samsung, they’re not as restrictive, rare and, well, crappy as a few years back.

water splash with bubbles isolated on white

In fact, believe it or not, we had trouble narrowing down our selections for today’s list. And because the final drafts are too different, we’ll give them to you in no particular order. Here are the best water-resistant Android smartphones money can buy in March 2015:

Sony Xperia Z3 – $534 unlocked international; $70 and up on Verizon

If your gadgets keep collapsing after accidental dives into pools and, ahem, restroom commodities, who you gonna call? The veteran water-busters from Sony, clearly. The Japanese have been dishing out semi-rugged mobile products in their homeland for many years, only recently getting the idea to transport some of the magic across the borders. And it worked.

Sony Xperia Z3

Now, a slew of Western Xperias offer various degrees of shelter, and cover different price ranges and performance classes. Probably the most advanced, in every aspect, is this 5.2-inch bad boy, what with its Full HD screen resolution, quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, 3 GB RAM, 20.7 MP rear camera and IP68 certification.

IP68, for those of you not fluent in Ingress Protection code, essentially means the Xperia Z3 is “dust tight” (6), and all guarded against “continuous immersion” in water beyond 1 meter and 30 minutes (8).

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact – starting at $420 unlocked

As the name suggests, the only difference between this and the “full-sized” Z3 is the footprint. Well, that, and display clarity, RAM count, and battery capacity. But what you should take into account first and foremost is the 4.6-inch 720p Z3 Compact also carries an IP68 stamp of approval. Meaning it too can theoretically lie in a body of water for hours and hours without cracking.

Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z2 – $403 free of contractual obligations

Another Sony Xperia? What can we tell you, they’re the best of the best at this. And incredibly enough, the one year-old Z2 doesn’t show signs of aging. The familiar-looking 5.2 incher (the Z3 is a near-identical copy on the outside) is IP58 licensed.

Xperia Z2

That may sound vastly inferior to the IP68 credentials, but it’s actually the same thing as far as liquid contact is concerned. Remember, the 8 designates resistance under 1 m and above 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the 5 refers to dust “collision”, and entails partial protection. In other words, you’ll want to keep the Z2 out of harm’s way when traveling the Sahara Desert by foot.

The good news is, with the Z4 close by, you can probably expect massive Z2 discounts. And at, say, $300, the 1,080p panel, quad-core S801 CPU, 3 GB RAM and 20.7 MP camera will get really hard to turn down.

Samsung Galaxy S5, S5 Active and Sport

Samsung-Galaxy-S5

How could Samsung abandon rugged and semi-rugged functions after so much effort put in the GS5 family? It boggles the mind, but maybe it’s not over yet. For the time being, your choice of a waterproof top-tier Galaxy is between the conventionally designed S5, the slightly quirkier Sport and uber-muscular Active.

One very interesting tidbit is all three are IP67 authorized to deal with dirt no matter what and H2O in small doses. Specifically, up to 1 meter and half an hour. In addition to that however, the Sport rocks “Side Grip enhancements” for a better, stronger hold, and the Active survives transport and thermal shock, as well as solar radiation and vibration with ease.

galaxy-s5-active

Hardware-wise, they’re practically identical, featuring S801 chips, 2 GB RAM, 2,800 mAh batteries and 5.1-inch Full HD screens.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active – $420 factory unlocked

Let’s be sincere, the only reason this aging fellow may tickle your fancy over the S5 or S5 Active is the lower price. The thing is, it’s not low enough. IP67 certified and nothing else, the 5 incher carries a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor under the hood, alongside 2 gigs of RAM and a 2,600 mAh juicer. Yawn!

galaxy-s-4-active

Kyocera Brigadier – $100 with two-year Verizon contracts; $450 outright

A living legend and instant classic, the Brigadier shined in our best rugged handheld roundup back October, holding its own now despite the advanced age. With an almost extraterrestrial design language, both IP68 and MIL-STD-810G creds and respectable mid-end specs, this is so much more than a stellar waterproof smartphone.

Kyocera-Brigadier

It’s a powerhouse, it’s a fashion statement, and it’s a trend defier, looking like nothing else you’ve ever seen. In numbers, it’s 13 mm thick, tips the scales at a whopping 187 grams, measures 4.5 inches in diagonal, and features a 1,280 x 720 display pixel count, quad-core 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC, 2 GB RAM and 8 MP camera.

Kyocera Hydro Life – $99 for T-Mobile with no contract

Unusually cheap and more “classically” handsome than the Brigadier, the Hydro Life is drop-proof, shock-proof and waterproof up to 3 feet, courtesy of IP57 and MIL-STD-810G authorizations. Obviously, it’s no Galaxy S6 “killer”, but at $100 it delivers impressive value for money.

kyocera-hydro-life

The 4.5-inch IPS LCD screen is tolerable, at 960 x 540 pixels, the pre-loaded 4.3 Jelly Bean software… not that old, and the 1.5 GB RAM ideal for smooth multitasking.

HTC Desire Eye – $419 factory unlocked

Hold on, since when does HTC produce water-resistant gear? Since a few months ago, apparently, though you should probably not expect the world from the Desire Eye. The rookie stab here tends to miss the mark more often than not, and we’d call this 5.2 incher anything but robust-looking.

HTC Desire Eye

At the end of the day, it vows to withstand short immersions up to 1 meter deep, and it’s also KitKat-powered, Snapdragon 801-packing and 1,080p LCD-sporting. Not the worst deal you can make at 420 bucks.

Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy – Updated for October 2014

Alright, manly men, hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, war seekers, iPhone haters and, last but not least, Android lovers. We’re back with a new set of rugged gear recommendations. We’ve just tackled the best, most durable tablets around, so this time, we’ll shine the spotlight on some of the toughest smartphones in the world.

Bruce Willis phone

Better put, we’ll shine it back, as, believe it or not, a lot has changed in the world of John McClane-friendly Android handhelds these past months. Specifically, four brand new contenders want to bid for the heavyweight title in robustness, pushing out of our top seven four aging heroes.

Farewell, Kyocera Torque, our silver medalist from back March, bye-bye, Hydro XTRM, CAT B15 and Runbo X5. We wish we got to know you better. But there’s no time for nostalgia. Without further ado, we’ll sink our teeth in the rookie quartet, then evaluating the wow factor and vigor of our veteran trio.

Army phone

For the record, we haven’t ordered the list this time around, as we didn’t feel comfortable directly pitting two-year-olds against gadgets literally just launched. Here’s the magnificent seven ergo, in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active – $150 with AT&T contracts, $660 outright

Okay, so the S5 Active isn’t exactly the sturdiest of the bunch. As Pocket Now put it in their review, it’s not “everything-proof”. But it is really your only flagship rugged option. Flagship through and through, that is, with not just a muscular exterior.

There’s brawn under the hood too, courtesy of a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2 GB RAM, and the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display is extremely sharp, at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, aka Full HD resolution.

Galaxy S5 Active

Available exclusively on AT&T, the GS5 Active is perfect for Android power users who spend a fair amount of time outside, but don’t intend on starting a war anytime soon. Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes, the camo green or titanium gray-coated device is also theoretically protected against vibration, solar radiation, dirt, humidity or thermal shock.

Kyocera Brigadier – $100 with Verizon pacts, $400 outright

Considerably cheaper than the S5 Active, both on and off-contract, the Brigadier is the exact opposite of Samsung’s top-shelf rugged effort in almost every way. It’s nowhere near as zippy, the spec sheet on the whole is mediocre, but it’s virtually indestructible.

Kyocera Brigadier

And it definitely looks the part, tipping the scales at 187 grams and measuring 13.2 mm thick. That’s 17 grams and over 4 mm more than the S5 Active, even though this is a 4.5 incher.

But did we mention exactly how unbreakable the Brigadier is? Phandroid’s abuse compilation video, embedded below, speaks volumes to that. Spoiler alert: these torturing guys dunk the chunky phone in various liquid-containing objects, toilet bowl included, drop it… repeatedly, throw rocks on it, let a dog lick it (?!), knife it and try to blend it, and the 4.5 incher escapes without a single scratch.

But, but, but how does one kill it in a rise-of-the-machines scenario?

CAT S50 – $600 factory unlocked

Standard drop test? You’ll have to do better than that to harm a single hair on CAT S50’s head, as this Terminator candidate can bounce back after hard contacts with concrete from heights of up to 1.8 meters.

Almost exactly as fat as the Brigadier, and 2 grams lighter, the S50 does offer a bit of extra screen real estate. 4.7 inches in total, with 720p resolution. Also, a decent quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and, get this, 2 GB RAM.

CAT S50

On the not so bright side of things, the rubberized corner-sporting device is bizarrely rated on-par with the S5 Active for water and dust resistance. IP67 certification is clearly not enough to justify the extravagant price tag, so it’s perhaps wiser to hold off for discounts. They’re definitely coming.

Kyocera Torque XT – $50 with Sprint service agreements

Well, well, well, what do we have here? A slightly tweaked version of the OG Kyocera Torque, available, like its predecessor, squarely on Sprint. Just as robust and unflinching in the face of danger as the original, the Torque XT offers 20 GB internal storage space (say what?), and improved battery life.

Also, pre-installed Android 4.4 KitKat software goodies. And sure, it’s disappointing to see it pack dual-core processing power and tout a sub-par 4-inch WVGA panel, but that’s perhaps for the best.

kyocera-torque-xt

If Kyocera were to increase screen resolution and size, they’d need to adapt with a different design and possibly mess the perfect indestructibility of the MIL-STD-810G-compliant Torque. There’s also the question of unrivaled pricing.

And if you want to save an extra buck or two, the OG Torque can be had at a penny with contracts, and $107 outright.

Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro – $1 with AT&T pacts; $200 unlocked

The first of our three veterans still standing is a classic. It almost needs no introduction, and right now it’s mighty affordable. For crying out loud, it’s dropped a whopping $250 outright in six months. Remember, the Rugby Pro continues to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (damn it, Sammy), and handle anything you throw at it, from dust to rain to solar radiation to thermal shock.

Galaxy Rugby Pro

NEC Terrain – $85 unlocked

This retro Alpha male wasn’t treated with the same discounts as the Rugby Pro, chiefly because it was dirt-cheap right off the bat. And it’s dirt-cheap these days too, plus it’s the only rugged smartphone aimed at elders.

NEC Terrain

Or just text messaging nuts who can’t wrap their heads around touchscreens and on-screen keyboards. IP67 certified for short, shallow water immersions, the Terrain of course adheres to military standards, and is thus usable on any sort of terrain, wink, wink.

Casio G’Zone Commando 4G LTE – $300, no contracts needed

The key selling point of Verizon’s latest G’Zone Commando? It’s in the name of the gizmo. 4G LTE connectivity, which is a pretty big deal at $300. Of course, the technically discontinued 4 incher cuts a number of corners in various areas, such as screen resolution (800 x 480), processing power (dual-core 1.5 GHz), or battery capacity (1,800 mAh).

Casio GZone Commando 4G LTE

Not camera performance, though, as an 8 megapixel sensor is fairly neat for this price range, and certainly not rugged features. You have water resistance, a shock and drop shield, incredible opposition to extreme temperatures, the whole nine yards.

That’s a wrap, gentlemen and… gentlemen, and now it’s time to take your pick. Will you go for affordability, power and good looks or maybe a retro feel in your hands? Let us know in the comments section below, and feel free to add any other rugged contenders we may have forgotten to mention. Let’s see some teamwork, mmkay?

Kyocera Brigadier could be the first phone to pack a sapphire glass display

Kyocera Brigadier

Kyocera Brigadier

The term sapphire glass is commonplace in Apple forums and fan sites since the past several months as the iPhone 6 vows to be the first handset in the world to sport the ultra durable glass technology. However, a leak reveals that the company might not be the first after all with Kyocera reportedly looking to launch a handset with sapphire glass called the Brigadier.

According to an image accessed by the folks over at Pocketnow, the smartphone could break cover anytime soon. The device is reportedly destined towards Verizon and the press image even shows 26 July as the date, so we might have an announcement very soon.

The Kyocera Brigadier is expected to pack midrange hardware underneath its sturdy exterior. It is said that the handset will come with a 4.5 inch 720p display, a 1.4 GHz quad core SoC, 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, 2GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera.

The press image reveals white status bar icons, so we’re guessing it runs Kitkat by default. The device is believed to be IP68 certified for lasting in extreme conditions, which is quite evident from the looks. The screenshot also reveals the existence of 4G LTE, which is good news for Verizon customers. Hopefully, we’ll hear more about the smartphone in the coming days.

Source: Pocketnow

Via: Cult of Android

Kyocera Brigadier Photo Leaks Out, Headed For Verizon

Early this month @evleaks announced on Twitter that the Kyocera Brigadier would be arriving on Verizon. No further details were given about the device and it was not known then if this would be a featurephone or a smartphone. What’s known is that this will be another rugged phone just like the other offerings of the company which will be able to withstand water and dust.

Kyocera Brigadier

A fresh Twitter post of @evleaks now shows the front and back photo of the Kyocera Brigadier which we can now say is an Android device. It looks pretty tough and has a hard shell enclosure that protects the device from the environment.

The specs of the Kyocera Brigadier are not listed but judging from the photo it looks like it is running on Android 4.4 KitKat. There’s a front camera and a rear camera with LED flash. Judging from its logo at the back the device will be able to connect to 4G LTE. The 4G network notification can also be seen from its front photo. There are three physical buttons below the display and below the buttons there also appears to be a front speaker.

Verizon hasn’t made any announcements yet regarding this device but since @evleaks posted about it then it’s almost certain to arrive. The question that remains right now is when will it arrive and how much is it going to cost.

via @evleaks