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Verizon upgrades rugged G'zOne series with LTE model

The Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE is largely the same as its immediate predecessor, while adding support for the carrier's high-speed data network.

Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless today expanded its rugged smartphone lineup by announcing the Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE.

An update to 2011's Casio G'zOne Commando, the Commando 4G LTE has largely the same design as its predecessor. Clad in black with a few red accents, the handset packs rubber sidings for protection, and top and bottom ends that almost come to a point.

More importantly, it meets the expected military standards (under the MIL-STD-810G certification) for shock immersion, dust, vibration, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, low pressure, and high and low temperature. What's more, the touch screen, which is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 2, is usable even when you're wearing gloves. So in other words, this device should be able to take quite a beating.

Running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a 1.5GHz processor, the Commando 4G LTE delivers a starter smartphone experience with NFC, Bluetooth, an FM radio, an 8-megaixel camera, a second 1.3-megapixel shooter around front, 16GB of storage, and a microSD slot for cards up to 64GB. Quad-band GSM support means that you can use the Commando 4G LTE when roaming outside North America, and, of course, the phone connects with Verizon's 4G LTE network.

Not surprisingly, the handset also brings a few offbeat features akin to its durable image. These include a barometer, a compass, a walking counter, a tide calculator, a thermometer, and a star chart (the stars in the sky, I mean).

The Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE will go on sale online and in Verizon beginning Thursday for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a new two-year contract. Check CNET soon for a full review.