Kyocera DuraCore (Sprint) review: Kyocera DuraCore (Sprint)

Flip the DuraCore open on its thick hinge to reveal the 2-inch QVGA TFT display with 240x320-pixel resolution. Below the screen are large, bubbly buttons for soft-key navigation, Web, Back, OK, Talk, Speaker, and End/Power. The buttons surround a large, silver, circular directional pad.

The chunky DuraCore has external buttons for turning on speakerphone and viewing recent calls from the closed position.

Below the screen, which looked bright enough and clear enough for most uses, are the larger alphanumeric keypad buttons. While also bubbly and rising above the surface of the phone, their smooth, rounded edges might not provide quite as much of a distinctive edge for thickly gloved hands. For my bare hands, however, they worked perfectly.

I tested the Kyocera DuraCore in San Francisco using Sprint's service, and call quality was OK. Volume was good on my end, but there was a faint background drone that became increasingly distracting the more aware of it I became. There was also white noise accompanying the speaker's voice, and the voice quality was sometimes a little uneven, almost like the voice shallowly cut in and out. On the other end of the line, callers reported excellent quality, with a pleasantly loud volume and no noticeable distortion, although they could tell I was on a cell phone.

Kyocera DuraCore (Sprint) call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone volume was good when I held the phone at waist level, though the background fuzziness on my end grew louder, and the voice was muffled. In a quiet room, the conversation was intelligible, but if any amount of noise was introduced, speakerphone clarity became a problem. On their end, callers said volume was a little low, but still very clear, and the typical room echo was minimal.

The DuraCore has a rated battery life of up to 8.1 hours of talk time. The Federal Communications Commission's radiation tests measured a digital SAR of 0.72 watt per kilogram.

It's durable, resistant to many elements other than water, and extremely straightforward to use on Sprint's so-far reliable Direct Connect network. This is the type of PTT phone that a company would buy its employees, or that a few outdoorsy folks might like for just making calls. However, with the fuller-featured and even tougher DuraMax also available for Sprint, it's hard to recommend the DuraCore to anyone other than budget-conscious buyers who don't need or want a camera, a microSD card, or dunkability.

Editors' note: This review was updated to mention Sprint's second push-to-talk phone, the Motorola Admiral. It has also been updated to add rated battery life and the FCC's digital SAR measurement.

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Kyocera DuraCore (Sprint)

Part Number: CNETCNETDURACORE Released: Nov 14, 2011
MSRP: $269.99 Low Price: $59.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov 14, 2011
  • Weight 5.1 oz
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X
  • Service Provider Sprint Nextel