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Sprint's Kyocera DuraMax and DuraCore: Hands on from CTIA

We check out Sprint's latest push-to-talk phones at CTIA.

Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt's career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
Kyocera DuraMax
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

They're tough, they've got rock-hard bodies, and they can communicate. We're talking about the Kyocera DuraCore and DuraMax phones, of course, the first two in Sprint's lineup to use push-to-talk over 3G CDMA.

While not exactly twinsies, the handsets are quite similar, with the DuraCore being the more basic of the two. Both feature phones operate under the Direct Connect platform, which will be replacing Sprint's iDEN network. They also both have 2-inch QVGA internal screens and 1-inch external displays. They're both up to military specifications that protect the delicate internals from heat, cold, dust, shock, wet, and more. They also both disappoint with a 2.5 millimeter headset jack rather than the standard 3.5 millimeter socket.

Kyocera DuraMax (photos)

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They're also both strong, heavy, and grippable, thanks to a textured, rubberized coating. The large, ridged keys promise to give mucky or gloved fingers traction.

Kyocera DuraCore (photos)

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The DuraCore is camera-free (Sprint says this is a nod toward camera-free company policies) but the DuraMax has a 3.2-megapixel camera on its back. It also comes with a 1GB microSD card and takes up to 32GB. It's out now and costs $69.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate. We're still waiting on pricing and availability for the DuraCore.