Kyocera Hydro Life is a rugged T-Mobile smartphone for just $124.99, coming to Walmart on August 8th

by: Andrew GrushAugust 4, 2014
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Looking for a low-cost rugged smartphone for those situations where you will need a device that will be able to handle a drop or take on a little water? Kyocera might have exactly what you’re looking for, offering up its Hydro Life exclusively through Walmart for just $124.99 outright (plus taxes, fees). The handset will first arrive for use on T-Mobile’s network starting August 8th, and will also be made available for MetroPCS customers on August 29th.

Related: Best Kyocera Hydro cases

The Hydro Life offers a 4.5-inch impact resistant LCD with a 960×540 resolution, a 5MP rear cam, 2MP front cam, and there’s a 2000 mAh battery. You also get reinforced casing that offers military standard 810G drop and shock protection and IP57 certification for surviving up to 30 minutes in a meter of water. As for the rest of the specs like CPU and RAM? Kyocera’s official press release didn’t give any details, so we can safely assume the handset will offer a lower-end CPU (likely some sort of MediaTeK) and probably just 512MB RAM.

Bottom-line, the Hydro Life will be able to take some hard knocks, but it probably won’t provide the most impressive Android experience either. Then again, at such low pricing this could still be worthwhile as a backup device for those that need a secondary phone for certain work (and play) situations where a little more durability could make a big difference.

Show Press Release

SAN DIEGO – August 4, 2014 – Many of us are suffering from “fragiphoniphobia” without even realizing it. The fear of fragile phones – and worries about drops and spills ruining our smartphones and disrupting our lives – prevents us from using them to their full potential. Enter Kyocera Hydro Life, a waterproof 4G Android™ smartphone that’s also Military Standard 810G drop- and shock-proof.

The ideal smartphone for both active consumers and workers on the job, Hydro Life is available for T-Mobile customers at Wal-Mart starting August 8 for just $124.99 (+taxes & fees) with qualifying service. MetroPCS will also launch the Hydro Life on August 29.

“The Hydro Life is a perfect option for someone who leads an active lifestyle, wants access to the latest technology and apps, but needs a smartphone that can withstand the elements,” said Jason Young, senior vice president of marketing at T-Mobile. “At T-Mobile, we partnered with Kyocera to match a rugged smartphone with the only nationwide network built data strong.”

Hydro Life is IP57 certified for protection against dust and full immersion in water up to a meter (3.28 feet) deep for up to 30 minutes. It is also certified to meet Military Standard 810G for protection against drops and shock. Tested to withstand drops, dunks, and spills, Hydro Life can handle the everyday unexpected.

A recent survey from comScore revealed that 73 percent of consumers surveyed rated drop protection or scratch-proof/shatter-proof screens as the most desirable durability feature, while 62 percent said they expect waterproofing to be a standard feature on their next phones.*

“Many of us have let the fear of fragile phones constrain our lives while many other solutions are either budget busters, too bulky or lack the best Android smartphone experience,” said Eric Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of global sales and marketing at Kyocera Communications Inc. “Hydro Life delivers everyday durability with the right design and feature set; while remaining very economical for cost-conscious households. Combined with fast, affordable 4G from the un-carrier, it’s a big win for on-the-go consumers.”

Hydro Life has an inherently durable design, with a 4.5-inch impact-resistant IPS qHD touchscreen, reinforced housing and non-slip finish, which eliminates the need for bulky and expensive cases. A powerful 2,000 mAh lithium ion battery is assisted by Kyocera’s proprietary Eco Mode and MaxiMZR apps to manage and conserve every last bit of power. Wi-Fi calling support helps manage mobile-network usage. Hydro Life can act as a Wi-Fi Hotspot (additional fee may be required), giving high-speed connectivity to multiple other devices. The phone also features 5.0-megapixel rear-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras.

  • Nick

    Wish the brigadier came gsm unlocked

  • Jayfeather787

    Moto E is around that price I think, and it is probably much better.

    • Andrew Grush

      Yes, but remember this is for folks that need water/dust proofing. Judging by the Moto G, the E can probably handle quite a bit — but it’s not rated for the job and probably won’t be able to stand up the way a ‘true’ rugged phone would. That said, yah, the Mote E will very likely offer a better Android experience overall. :)

  • Kyocera Communications, Inc.

    We think the Android experience is very solid:
    MSM8212, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor with 1.2GHz quad-core CPU
    8GB ROM/1.5GB RAM (5GB of onboard storage)
    MicroSD™ memory card slot (supports up to 32GB)

    • robzilla

      I agree the hardware is very solid at this price point! Update the Jelly Bean android OS to KitKat at least and 5.0 would be expected from a new phone. Remove the bloatware and open the boot loader and you have an unbeatable combination!

    • Curtis Shupe

      We bought one of these brand new thru MetroPCS at Best Buy. Lots of features and apparent value, until it breaks.
      Ours worked for two weeks. Took it back to the big box retailer, they said take it to MetroPCS. At their store, they said we had to send it in directly to Kyocera for evaluation and repair under the one year warranty. “Should take about a week”, they said.
      Here we are eight weeks later (!) and still with no phone. After I paid to ship it to Texas, they took two weeks to evaluate it. The verdict: “unrepairable” due to no fault of ours, and will be replaced, as soon as they have one in stock! Might be two weeks, might be three weeks….well, it’s been three weeks, still no usable phone and no timeframe for receiving one.
      In short, stay away from this brand like the plague. Kyocera customer service is stupid slow and unresponsive. I’ve left three voicemails at corporate ‘customer service’, but no reply. I can’t remember being treated worse by any corporation.

  • robzilla

    Since Kyocera posted here I will comment as I have this phone. Please stop using locked bootloaders. Please open up source code and update the Jelly bean ROM please! For the purchase price listed on this site the phone is worth every penny and for $30 it is a real value! I love this phone but it took considerable time to set it up so that it’s hardware potential is unlocked. Please Kyocera support the open source android community! If you get some good android devs at XDA forums working on your phones you will basically have a free r&d team and a group of testers like me. If none of that is going to happen please remember the most annoying thing to customers is to have old software for no good reason. It does cost anything for any release of android so it should not be difficult for manufacturers to provide at least two years of updates for a phone to keep it current. This would go a long way to build customer loyalty.