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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kyocera unveils waterproof Hydro Edge (hands-on)



LAS VEGAS--At CTIA 2013, Kyocera unveiled one of the newest members of its waterproofHydro line: the Kyocera Hydro Edge.
Kyocera also introduced its slightly higher-end Hydro XTRM for U.S. Cellular. The Edge, however, will be available through Sprint and the prepaid network, Boost Mobile, and will run on both carrier's 3G network.
DesignThrough exact pricing and availability is unknown, CNET was told by a Kyocera rep that the Edge will most likely have the same initial $129.99 pricing as the original Hydro. It will arrive on both carriers by this summer.
The Edge has a matte grey plastic construction that, while simple, isn't particularly game-changing. However, compared to the Hydro's glossy plastic design, the Edge's build feels a bit more luxurious and chic.
The device measures 4.9-inches tall, 2.5-inches wide, and 0.39 inches thick. It weighs 4.5 ounces and during my brief time with it, it felt sturdy in the hand.
Kyocera Hydro Edge
The Hydro Edge has a 5-megapixel camera and a battery door that's textured with a pimpled, rubber material.
(Credit: Lynn La/CNET)
The back features a pimpled rubber texture, and the top-half of the handset's body is contoured to be thicker than the rest of its body. I felt both these characteristics helped with my grip as I held it.
The right edge houses a shortcut key for the camera, while the left includes a volume rocker, and up top is a sleep/power button.
The handset has a 4-inch IPS touchscreen display, with a 800x480-pixel resolution and 233ppi. Though you won't be able to watch the crispest HD movies on it or anything, text and icons still displayed clearly and smoothly when I looked at it.
On the back you'll find the camera with its LED flash right below it. To the left is a small slit for the audio speaker. To remove the battery door, you'll need to switch the toggle lock at the bottom.
Features
As part of the Hydro family, the Edge is both dust and waterproof. Users can submerge it in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes, and it'll still keep ticking.
Because the Edge uses Smart Sonic Receiver technology, there is no in-ear audio speaker opening above the display. Instead, audio comes through the phone's ceramic transducer, which transmits sound through the cartilage in your ear.
The Torque was Kyocera's first device feature this audio boosting technology, and when I tried it on that phone, audio was indeed loud and clear.
Kyocera Hydro Edge
The device runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and is loaded with your standard Google apps.
(Credit: Lynn La/CNET)
The Edge is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and a 1,600mAh battery. Other hardware features include a 5-megapixel camera, which includes photo editing features such as panoramic and HDR shooting.
I'm pleased to see that the handset runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Considering that the Torque, which was released a few months ago, ran on Ice Cream Sandwich, seeing the more updated OS on the Edge is a welcomed feature.
As for capacity, the device comes with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of ROM, and 32GB of expandable memory.
Outlook
Kyocera is doubling down on its Hydro handset, and all these bumps in specs are wholly welcomed. Not only does the Edge retain all the same waterproof features as the original, but hardware features, like the camera and processor, have improved.
While this device may not be as high-end as the waterproof Sony Xperia Z, it's a promising phone for Sprint and Boost users looking for a mid-tiered handset that they won't have to worry about during the next pool party.
Check back with CNET for all the news unfolding from this week's CTIA 2013 show.
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