Kyocera has made a name for itself by selling splash-friendly smartphones that are able to hold up to daily life's inevitable mishaps. The new Hydro Life (available on Boost Mobile and T-Mobile's prepaid services) won't win many headlines with its forgettable performance and camera, but its affordable price tag and waterproofing are definitely worth considering for those looking for a durable, rugged Android phone.
The Hydro Life is a rugged, dust proof smartphone that's certified to meet Military Standard 810G for protection against shocks and drops. It can also handle a dunk in water up to 1 meter (3.28 feet) for 30 minutes, so it passed my water-exposure test with flying colors. It's also easy to clean, thanks to the water-tight cap for its MicroUSB port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
It has a 4.3-inch 720p display and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Like most prepaid phones, it has a limited amount of on-board storage, but the included Micro SD slot allows you to expand the memory up to 64GB.
The Elite's 8-megapixel camera takes acceptable photos, but the image quality could be better. Colors are often overexposed, and details appear flat. Its 2,100-mAh battery lasts just 4 hours and 26 minutes on a charge, which is two hours shorter than the smartphone average and the LG Lucid 2's much longer 7:55. For a more reliable battery, we recommend purchasing a spare battery. It comes with the same suite of Google apps found on other Android 4.2 devices, as well as a handful of branded apps from Boost Mobile, such as BoostZone and TeleNav GPS Navigation.