It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Kyocera smartphone for the US market, and if you’ll recall, its previous two attempts — the Milano and Echo — didn’t manage to sway many consumers. Today, the company is adding two new Android handsets to the deck: the Hydro and Rise. True to its name, the Hydro plays off of Kyocera’s experience in the waterproof segment, and while it’s not mil-spec, the phone’s able to withstand submersion at depths of up to one meter for a half-hour. The Hydro is a CDMA handset, although Kyocera is keeping the carrier close to its chest.
The Hydro will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, and we’re pleased to report that the interface is largely unmolested, save for Kyocera’s app to conserve battery life — whether the carrier dictates future changes remains to be seen. Beyond the OS and the waterproof aspect, however, it’s rather humdrum in the spec department. It features a Qualcomm MSM8655 SoC with a 1GHz CPU, a 3.5-inch, 480 x 320 display, a 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash and a 1,500 mAh battery. Because the screen is an IPS LCD, the quality is definitely a step-above your run-of-the-mill TFT-LCD mainstays, although it’s hard to ignore the low-res image quality. The Hydro also offers 512MB of RAM, 2GB of built-in storage and a 2GB microSD card. In terms of connectivity, you’ll find 802.11n (WiFi), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and EV-DO Rev. A. The handset itself is comfortable to hold, though its plasticky build materials reinforce the fact that it’s a low-end handset. While the Hydro doesn’t blaze any new trails, it may very well be suitable for those on a budget who’d like a phone that can handle life’s accidents. Follow the break for our hands-on video.
Terrence O’Brien contributed to this report