Built to last

The $150 Kyocera Hydro Icon is a 4G-capable smartphone available on Boost Mobile's no-contract service, running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It's a rather humble phone with a 4.5-inch IPS display and a 960x540-pixel resolution, but its waterproof chassis is built to withstand falls and showers.

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A fair performer

A quad-core, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor might not be the fastest CPU on the block, but it's a decent performer that had no problem chugging through many popular apps and games, without complaints.

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Look ma, no speaker

Notice something missing? There's no speaker. Instead, the phone uses Kyocera's Smart Sonic receiver to push vibrations right through the hard cartilage in your ear. You'll be able to hear your conversations in many noisy environments.

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A sluggish shooter

While that is an 8-megapixel camera, the performance is rather disappointing. It's slow to focus, and generally struggled in all but ideal circumstances. Video recording was similarly disappointing, struggling to record 1080p video, and still limited by its sluggish autofocus at lower recording quality levels.

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Take a bath

Don't you just hate it when you hop into the shower, but forget to put down your phone? Kyocera is here to help. The Hydro Icon can withstand being dunked in up to 1 meter (about 3 feet) of water, for up 30 minutes.

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Tough, without all the bulk

The Icon isn't especially bulky, particularly for a phone built to withstand the elements -- it's just 0.43-inch thick.

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Military standards in a relatively light package

The phone weighs just 5.1 ounces, and it meets Military Standard 810G, so it should stand up to a fair bit of abuse.

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Work and play for most of the day

A standard Micro-USB keeps the 2000mAH battery charged. Kyocera claims that the battery will last for 14 hours of talk time. With a few conversations mixed in with heavy Web browsing, video watching and gaming, the phone barely lasted a day. There are plenty of power-saving apps bundled in to help you squeeze a bit more life out of the phone.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET


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