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Kyocera DuraForce PRO Review (Verizon) – An Incredibly Rugged Phone That’s Priced Right

We beat up the Kyocera DuraForce PRO smartphone and it lived to tell the tale.

The Kyocera DuraForce PRO is a rugged smartphone built like a brick, and we mean that in a good way. The phone measures 5.8″ x 2.9″ x .5″ and weighs 8.1 ounces, which is on the heavy side. But where it lacks for being svelte, it makes up in hardiness — this phone is designed to withstand drops, freezing rain, shocks, and temperature extremes.

We tested Verizon’s version of the Kyocera DuraForce PRO, which comes with an exclusive 5″ Sapphire Shield Display. For some reference, sapphire is second in mineral hardness only to diamonds, which makes the display on the phone virtually scratch-proof. The phone is also IP68 waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and it meets HazLoc protection standards.

So needless to say, the DuraForce PRO is tough as nails — so much so that our reviewers kit came with keys and tools to test the display with! We took the challenge head on and tried scratching up the display, and had no luck. In addition, we submerged the phone in a jar of water and it kept on ticking. While more and more smartphones are becoming water resistant, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO ups the ante by being able to be submerged in water up to 6.5 feet deep for up to 30 minutes. Plus, even while being submerged, the DuraForce PRO can still take photos if you use the phone’s dedicated camera buttons. Speaking of buttons, the phone has eight dedicated buttons to make it easier to navigate while wearing gloves or when the phone is wet. The bottom phone also has a lanyard attachment loop.

Despite being tough, the DuraForce PRO’s 5″ 1080p IPS 441 ppi display is solid with sharp, pretty vibrant colors and good viewing angles. So while the display isn’t quite as stunning as most flagship models out there, it’s overall a very good display. Perhaps most importantly, the display does really well outdoors.

The DuraForce PRO also packs in wireless charging, Quick Charge 2.0 support, a side button for PTT+, and a super loud 100+ dB dual front speaker. The power button on the DuraForce PRO doubles as a biometric fingerprint sensor, which is generally responsive. In addition, the phone display is able to respond to both glove and wet touch, making it suitable for all sorts of working environments.

The phone comes with a 5 MP front-facing camera. On the rear, there are two 13 MP cameras, one of which is a super wide view HD action camera designed with action shots and sports in mind. The optics aren’t nearly as good as the pricier Samsung Galaxy S7 Active, but they are solid. In general outdoor photos are pretty good, but the phone struggles in low-light conditions and has a difficult time focusing. In our opinion, what really stands out with the phone’s camera is the ability to shoot underwater using the phone’s dedicated buttons.

The phone also supports Verizon LTE Advanced, but when we tested around the (generally congested) area of midtown Manhattan we saw somewhat sluggish speeds of 32 Mbps down and 13 Mbps up on Verizon’s network. The phone also has support for dual-band Wi-FI and NFC. The 3,240 mAh capacity battery inside the DuraForce PRO is solid and lasts nearly all day long with moderate use.

When it comes to performance, the phone comes running Android 6 and is powered by 3 GB of RAM with a 617 Snapdragon SoC. That’s a mid-range chipset, but offers capable performance for most users. The phone came up with a somewhat mediocre AnTuTu benchmark score of 31315 and a PCMark Work 2.0 score of 3635, but day to day performance is good and it can handle most tasks well.

Read on for the verdict…

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