Kyocera DuraSport 5G UW review: tough choices

After releasing the tank-like $899.99 DuraForce Extremely 5G UW in April 2021, Kyocera is again with a extra subtly rugged (and extra reasonably priced) telephone — the $579.99 DuraSport 5G UW. In order for you a sub-$600 rugged telephone that works on Verizon’s millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G community, the DuraSport 5G UW is de facto your solely alternative. Roughly the scale of the Google Pixel 5A with 5G, the DuraSport is small however robust: it’s mud, sand, and waterproof in as much as 6.5 ft of water for half-hour (IP68), in addition to MIL 810H-certified to outlive five-foot drops.

Beneath that toughness, the DuraSport is a sub-$300 telephone at coronary heart. It shares comparable specs because the $239.99 OnePlus Nord N200 5G: they each use the identical Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of inside storage. However the DuraSport has a smaller 4,500mAh battery and comes with some distinctive outside apps and digital camera options. This results in the apparent query: is a funds rugged telephone definitely worth the premium, or are you higher off getting an affordable 5G telephone and including a really protecting case round it?

Good Stuff

  • Sturdy construct (MIL 810H-certified for drops as much as 5ft; Gorilla Glass 6)
  • Waterproof in 6.5 ft of water for as much as half-hour (IP68)
  • Uncommon compact funds 5G telephone
  • Good battery life
  • High quality show
  • Two-year producer guarantee

Unhealthy Stuff

  • Efficiency lags
  • Gradual digital camera app
  • Cameras aren’t made for low-light images
  • Outdoor apps requires your location knowledge 24/7 to work

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DuraSport 5G UW Design

At a time when each new funds telephone appears to be over 6.5 inches tall, the DuraSport is surprisingly compact. It’s much like the Google Pixel 5A with 5G however thicker and barely extra slim (6.09 x 2.78 x 0.39-inch or 154.7 x 70.7 x 9.9mm). They even look alike, with the identical rounded corners and fingerprint sensor on the again — useful for unlocking the telephone once you’re carrying a masks. This telephone suits properly in my small fingers, and I can stuff it into most pockets.

For a telephone constructed to outlive the rigorous military-grade assessments for mud, sand, water, and drop safety, the DuraSport’s design doesn’t scream rugged. In contrast to its costlier sibling, the DuraSport has regular dimensions and proportions. But it surely nonetheless obviates the necessity for a separate case: not solely is its display screen protected by Gorilla Glass 6, nevertheless it has bolstered corners, water-tight seams round its buttons, and a Dragontrail Glass over its rear cameras. Regardless of its further bits of engineering, the Kyocera weighs about the identical because the Pixel 5A.

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The DuraSport has some texture on its sides to assist with grip, nevertheless it’s not very comfy to carry.

Whereas the DuraSport’s arduous plastic shell can stand up to a variety of abuse, it’s not probably the most comfy to carry. Kyocera added some mild texture to its again cowl and alongside the perimeters, however they don’t present a lot substantial grip to the system. Not that this telephone wants the additional safety, however a case would make the telephone simpler to carry.

Among the many some ways you’ll be able to customise this telephone, the obvious is the programmable button on the left aspect. You may set it to open the precise digital camera mode you want in a rush (underwater shutter button) or open a selected app when you double-press the button. I saved hitting the programmable button by chance as a result of that’s the place my thumb lands after I maintain the telephone; the precise energy button is a bit too low for my liking.

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The included suite of out of doors apps can present helpful info, however they require fixed entry to your location, even once you’re not utilizing them.

DuraSport 5G UW Efficiency

Regardless of its mid-range price ticket, the DuraSport has low-end inside parts. Its processor is the budget-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 with 4GB of RAM, which makes the DuraSport only a beat slower to open a webpage or swap between portrait and panorama mode when watching a YouTube video. This was significantly evident when taking part in a spherical of Pokémon Unite, the place the center of a battle slowed to such a crawl that I couldn’t transfer my Pokémon out of the best way to dodge an assault. Whereas a sub-$300 telephone can get away with simply 64GB of storage, it’s mismatched to the DuraSport’s almost $600 price ticket, even when it has a microSD card slot for growth.

The DuraSport considerably redeems itself with a 6.1-inch 1080p IPS LCD show that’s fairly shiny (500 nits), making it doable to make use of the display screen at simply 60 % brightness in direct daylight. While you take a look at high-res images like The Verge’s 2021: A Yr in Artwork, the photographs look clean and detailed even once you pixel-peep, because of this display screen’s over 400PPI pixel density. Better of all, the touchscreen is purposeful after I’m carrying gloves or there’s water on the display screen, which is a big assist throughout winter.

This telephone is preloaded with apps for outside lovers: an Out of doors Portal, Compass, Barometer, Solar&Moon, Climate, Tide (when you fish or have a ship), and Solunar (if you wish to meet or keep away from sure animals). In my case, I skate on an out of doors rink within the winter however am extraordinarily choosy about after I achieve this: the temperature must be a minimum of 32 levels or under the night time earlier than and all through the day, with minimal wind, and after sundown so the ice has an opportunity to harden. I used the Out of doors Portal to observe my native climate and sundown / dawn knowledge somewhat than cycle between a number of apps. Whereas I respect the comfort of getting these apps on my telephone, I used to be not impressed that I needed to give the apps continuous entry to my location, regardless that they mentioned I might simply restrict the info assortment to after I use the apps. For those who don’t care to make use of these apps in any respect, you don’t have to fret in regards to the location monitoring, however they’re a giant a part of the DuraSport’s promoting factors.

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The included outside apps.

Past these outside apps, the DuraSport basically runs an unmodified model of Android 11. As one of many telephones chosen for the Android Enterprise Recommended program, Kyocera is already dedicated to offering quarterly safety updates to the DuraSport till November 2023. This, together with the actual fact Kyocera offers two years of guarantee, in comparison with the trade commonplace of only one 12 months, means this telephone ought to final you just a few years.

The DuraSport’s 4,500mAh battery is definitely fairly energy-efficient and in a position to go with no cost after two days of use — and that’s from utilizing largely 4G LTE. After listening to a few hour-long podcasts, taking some images and movies, posting and scrolling via social media, and studying varied articles, I acquired about 15.5 hours of display screen outing of the DuraSport over two days. Utilizing the included charger, I used to be in a position to recharge the telephone inside 2.5 hours, which isn’t significantly quick. The DuraSport additionally lacks wi-fi charging — it’s important to step as much as the Extremely mannequin if you need that.

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The DuraSport’s digital camera is budget-level, regardless of its mid-range price ticket.

DuraSport 5G UW Digicam

Let’s get this out of the best way: when you’re severe about images, then you definitely received’t just like the cameras on the DuraSport.

The telephone has two cameras on the again, a 48-megapixel fundamental and a 16-megapixel ultrawide, in addition to an 8-megapixel entrance digital camera. The cameras take completely high quality images in good lighting circumstances, however they’re not designed for something difficult like low-light or motion images.

Grid View

Its cameras share the identical issues that plague different sub-$300 telephones. Not solely do the colours differ between the principle and ultrawide digital camera, however the principle digital camera additionally typically has bother focusing and separating the topic from the background in portrait mode. I’ve additionally seen that images from low-light environments look as if there’s vignetting across the edges — whether or not they have been captured with the principle, ultrawide, or selfie digital camera.

The DuraSport tries to make up for its technical deficiencies with some distinctive video interfaces just like the Motion Overlay and wonder filters. (I didn’t have entry to ANT Plus appropriate health sensors, so I couldn’t check the Motion Overlay being linked to my health knowledge in real-time.) Finally, it’s let down by a digital camera app that’s sluggish at switching between cameras and can randomly shut for no purpose, which makes it irritating to take images with it.

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The Kyocera DuraSport 5G UW

There is no such thing as a doubt you’re paying a premium for the rugged design of the $579.99 DuraSport 5G UW — regardless of the actual fact it has low cost parts which are extra widespread in sub-$300 funds telephones. It’s a disgrace it doesn’t use a quicker processor or characteristic higher cameras for a telephone that’s virtually $600.

There are many different, higher telephones on this worth vary, together with Google’s personal Pixel 6. However when you’re searching for a rugged telephone and wish to use Verizon’s quicker mmWave 5G community, the DuraSport is de facto the one funds rugged 5G telephone obtainable.

If having glorious cameras in your telephone is extra essential to you, and you’re prepared to just accept a waterproof (IP67) somewhat than a water-resistant one (IP68), then the $449 Pixel 5A with 5G can be a better option. In any case, they feel and look virtually equivalent to one another, anyway.

The peace of thoughts of getting a telephone that may deal with severe spills and drops while not having to get replaced inside just a few years, because of Kyocera’s two-year guarantee, is worth it, however most of us are higher off simply investing in a sturdy case for an additional telephone.

Images by Gloria Sin / The Verge

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