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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.

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.

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.

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.