Kyocera is a go-to brand for phones that can stand up to the elements. The company's latest offering in the Hydro series is a $150 smartphone for Boost Mobile and T-Mobile prepaid subscribers, and it can hold up to being submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes.
The Kyocera Hydro Life looks and feels like a normal phone, with a soft-touch power button on the right side of the device and a volume rocker on the left. The back of the phone is covered in a ribbed black plastic covering, and it's clamped shut with a locking mechanism to keep water out. The battery cover also includes a twist lock to help keep the phone dry.
There are a few special software extras on the Hydro Life, including MaxiMZR and Eco Mode. The former limits certain apps' background data usage, and the latter reduces screen brightness, turns off haptic feedback, and disables GPS and Bluetooth when not in use. Both are useful to help you save on your mobile data plan's monthly limit.
The Hydro Life runs on a version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that's slightly tweaked by Kyocera. We noticed that the phone ran smoothly, and scrolling and swiping were responsive. The device also comes preloaded with Google's suite of apps and a few applications from Boost Mobile, including Boost Zone and TeleNav GPS Navigation. An anti-spy privacy screen protector is also preloaded, which protects your contacts from other users by preventing them from viewing your screen when the display is locked.