The Kyocera DuraPro is U.S. Cellular’s toughest cell phone. It won’t break if you drop it—even in the pool. It offers good sound quality for voice calls, a very loud speaker, and decent battery life. But a dated interface and few features means it’s only an average phone otherwise, and at $149.99, it’s a little pricey for what you get. The DuraPro is worth a look if you need something durable, but if you want any other features, you can do better.
Design, Call Quality, and Direct Connect
Like most of the rugged phones we’ve tested, the DuraPro is built like a brick. It measures 4 by 2.1 by 1.1 inches (HWD) when closed, and is covered in a grippy, scratch-resistant, rubberized casing. It fit into my hand comfortably when flipped open, but felt a little too chunky in my pocket. The headphone jack on the right and power port on the left are both covered with attached rubber stoppers. There’s even a latch on the back cover to make sure it stays locked in place.
The DuraPro meets military specification 810G, so it’s resistant to dust, extreme temperatures, humidity, low pressure, rain, salt fog, shock, solar radiation, and vibration, among other rough conditions. It will even survive in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes. To test it, I dropped the phone on several different surfaces—from the rubberized floor of the PCMag Labs to the concrete street outside—from a height of five feet. The phone managed to flip itself open a couple of times, but didn’t sustain any damage. I then placed it in a pitcher of water for 30 minutes, where it was still able to receive calls and snap photos.
On the face of the phone there’s a 1-inch, monochrome 96-by-64-pixel external display that shows the battery life, missed alerts, reception, and time. Inside, the 2-inch, 320-by-240-pixel LCD looks sharp, though the color scheme is bland and depressing. The default font size is rather small, but you can make it larger. The phone’s keypad, on the other hand, is excellent; the keys are large, raised, and backlit. There’s plenty of space between each key, which should make it possible to dial while wearing gloves.
The DuraPro is a dual-band EV-DO Rev. A (850/1900 MHz) device with no Wi-Fi. In New York where I tested it, U.S. Cellular phones use Sprint’s network. Reception is average and voice quality is quite good. The earpiece gets very loud, and voices sound clear, though a little thin. The speakerphone isn’t deafening, but I was able to hear it loud and clear over the construction going on outside of the PCMag office. Calls made with the phone also sound natural, with good noise cancellation. Calls were fine through a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset, and the Nuance-powered voice dialing worked without a problem. Battery life was solid at 8 hours and 22 minutes of talk time.
Interface and Apps
If you’re looking for lots of apps and features, you’re not going to find them here. The Kyocera DuraPro is a rather bare bones feature phone. As mentioned above, the key word to describe the user interface is drab. From the faded teal color on the home screen, to the black-and-white everywhere else, the DuraPro just looks shabby and dated.
The main menu features a grid with 12 icons. It links to all of your basic settings and functions, from activating Bluetooth, to call history, contacts, settings, and tools. It’s dated, and requires many button presses to perform even the simplest tasks.
As far as apps go, you get the standards like an alarm, calculator, calendar, stopwatch, and world clock. You can also record voice memos. To browse the Web, there’s an Access NetFront 4.1 browser for reading WAP pages; desktop HTML is out. The phone also comes with a voice-enabled GPS courtesy of Navteq’s Your Navigator app.
Multimedia and Conclusions
You get 64MB of free internal memory, as well as a free microSD slot underneath the battery. My 32 and 64GB SanDisk cards worked fine, but you probably won’t need anything that large, since media support is virtually nonexistent. The phone has a nonstandard 2.5mm headphone jack, but comes with a converter to connect a pair of 3.5mm earbuds. Either way, the phone wouldn’t recognize any of my music files. I was able to play MPEG4 video files, at a tiny, blurry maximum resolution of 320-by-240-pixels.
The DuraPro’s 3.2-megapixel camera has an LED flash, but no autofocus. It snaps photos quickly, in about half a second, but then takes a good 2 seconds to save them. Test photos look decent, with acceptable color and detail, though they’re a little dark overall. The camera also records video, but it’s terrible. Video files max out at a minuscule 176-by-144-pixels and play back at a stuttering 10 frames per second indoors and 15 frames per second outside.
Features aside, the Kyocera DuraPro is as rugged as phones come on U.S. Cellular. If you’re looking for something very basic to make occasional voice calls, and you need durability, it’ll work perfectly. But if you’re more interesting in texting and other features, you’re better off with a phone like the $40 Samsung Character. It’s a lot less expensive, has a roomy slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and doubles as a decent music player. Just make sure not to drop it, keep it away from the pool, and you’re good to go.
|Phone Capability / Network||CDMA|
|Screen Resolution||320 x 240 pixels|
|Dimensions||4.0 x 2.1 x 1.12 inches|
|Video Camera Resolution||174 x 144|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||8 hours 22 minutes|
|Available Integrated Storage||0.0625 GB|
|Service Provider||US Cellular|
|Total Integrated Storage||0.0625 GB|
|Screen Size||2 inches|
|High-Speed Data||EVDO Rev A, CDMA 1X|
|Screen Type||TFT LCD|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||200 ppi|
|Form Factor||Flip Phone|
|Bluetooth Version||2.0 + EDR|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc