The Good The Kyocera DuraMax offers Direct Connect push-to-talk services on Sprint's faster CDMA network. The handset meets military specifications and feels very sturdy.
The Bad Speakerphone volume could be louder. It offers a slow browsing experience. Direct Connect service doesn't work when out of a 3G coverage area.
The Bottom Line The Kyocera DuraMax is a basic but durable handset that offers Direct Connect services over Sprint's faster CDMA network, but a couple of issues will prevent some iDEN customers from making the switch for now.
Kyocera DuraMax (Sprint)
Sprint will be phasing out Nextel's iDEN network in 2013, but that doesn't mean users will be without Direct Connect push-to-talk services or handsets. The carrier is transitioning Direct Connect to its CDMA network, which brings faster data speeds and eventually, broader network coverage. Of course, with the new service, you need compatible devices, and the Kyocera DuraMax is one such device. Available now for $69.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, the DuraMax will feel very familiar to iDEN customers, with its rugged exterior and Direct Connect features, which work just fine. However, it's pretty basic and the speakerphone volume is a bit low. This doesn't make it the best handset for those who work in loud environments, but if you're just looking for a rugged handset, the Kyocera DuraMax certainly fits the bill.
The Kyocera DuraMax doesn't really pull any surprises in the design department. Like many Direct Connect phones before it, the DuraMax is a rugged handset that looks and feels like it can take a beating and keep on ticking. It meets Military Standard 810G, so it's resistant to dust, shock, vibration, humidity, and more.
The phone can also survive being immersed in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, but just to make sure these claims were true, I decided to give it a try. (Hey, it's not often I get to dunk phones in water.) I placed the DuraMax in a glass of water for about 20 minutes, and sure enough, the phone worked just fine after being pulled out of the water. The handset even displayed incoming calls on its external display while under water.
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