For a month now I’ve been in the woods of Washington state, on the beaches of Florida, and on the streets of New Orleans with a Verizon 5G UW (ultra broadband) device in the form of the Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW. It’s the longest time I’ve had with Verizon’s 5G and it has exceeded my expectations.
My engineering job, fly fishing, biking and hiking take me into the elements and it’s nice to have a device that can handle the elements. The new Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G is designed for the harshest environments with a durable, rugged design, powerful rear view cameras and a powerful cellular network to keep you in touch while on the move.
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The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G is the first rugged device to support Verizon’s high-speed 5G network. For those who need a reliable device on site, in the warehouse, or elsewhere, this is a solid one. Kyocera is known for making rugged devices and this device has performed very well.
Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW specifications
- processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
- display: IPS-LCD with a resolution of 5.45 inches and a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels and a sapphire shield
- operating system: Android 10
- R.A.M.: 6 GB LPDDR4
- warehouse: 128 GB with microSD expansion card
- Cameras: 24MP rear f / 1.8 main camera, 16MP f / 2.2 ultra-wide camera (117 degree field of view) and a ToF sensor. 8MP f / 2.0 front camera.
- Connectivity: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS / Galileo / GLONASS, NFC
- durability: IP68 dust / water resistance, MIL-STD 810H
- battery: 4500 mAh non-removable with wireless charging support
- Dimensions: 165 x 75 x 16 mm and 278 grams
The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW is clearly designed to withstand rough handling. It’s not designed to win beauty pageants with twice the thickness of most other modern smartphones and wide bezels that protect the display and encourage use with gloved hands. The most important environmental properties of this rugged smartphone are listed below:
- Military standard 810H: Bubbles of dust and sand, vibration, transit waste of 1.5 m on concrete, functional shock, salt fog, humidity, extreme temperatures, thermal shock, altitude, icing and freezing rain, blowing rain
- IP6X dustproof
- IPX5 / IPX8 waterproof: Immersion in water up to 2 meters for up to 30 minutes
- Haz-Loc: Non-Incendive, Class I Div 2, Group A, B, C, D; T4
- Ambient temperature: -4 ° F to 140 ° F (-20 ° C to 60 ° C)
- Charging temperature: 0 ° C to 45 ° C
- Storage temperature: Less than a month: -20 ° C to 60 ° C More than a month: -20 ° C to 45 ° C
- HAC assessment (Hearing Aid Compatibility): – M4 / T3 and RTT capable
I haven’t tested the phone in all of these locations, but I dumped it in the sand and exposed it to salt spray, used it in the water, made calls in the pouring rain, and it was used in regardless of the surroundings. It held up perfectly as well still works fine.
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The screen is advertised as a Sapphire Shield display, which is wet, glove-touchable, and scratch-resistant at the same time. I would have to use the device for a long period of time to test its scratch resistance, but even after exposing it to fine particles of sand and dust, I haven’t seen any scratches on the display. The display is well lit even in direct Florida sunlight and the fonts are crisp and clear.
There are two front speakers, but they are positioned next to each other under the display where you can see a plastic grill. The speakers are very loud, up to 106dB, so you can hear calls and other audio coming from the speakers in a variety of on-site working conditions. I was impressed with the volume of the audio for calls in the shipyard. A headset loudspeaker is located above the display with the front facing camera to the right of the loudspeaker.
At the top right you will find the power button, which also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. I’m a fan of this design that has your thumb resting lightly when you pick up the phone. Further down on the right side is the SIM / microSD card slot and underneath a programmable camera key. There are also two openings on this side labeled tool anchors for third party accessories.
Another programmable button, colored orange and labeled as the SOS button, is on the top with a 3.5mm audio port and a cover on the top left. The USB-C port and cover are in the middle of the bottom.
On the left there are tactile volume buttons and the third programmable button. By default, this button is set as a Push-to-Talk button.
When you turn the phone over, you will see the time-of-flight sensor and main camera on top. The ultra wide angle camera is centered under these two sensors. There is a double LED flash to the left of the cameras. Further down on the back there are two charging contacts in case you have a charging slot or a car kit that supports this type of charging. The phone also supports standard Qi wireless charging and that has worked very well as my primary means of charging the phone.
The output from these cameras won’t compromise the quality of any flagship phone photos and videos, but they performed well and are likely to meet most people’s needs. The cameras also support AR, which can be important for field use now and in the future.
There are also four microphones on the phone to aid in noise cancellation and high quality phone calls. My test calls sounded great especially when put on speakerphone mode with these loud dual front speakers.
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The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW runs Android 10. While Android 10 is perfectly capable, Android 11 has not been available for many months, and for around $ 900, I expect a phone to have a more recent version of the mobile operating system .
Since there is no UI overlay, it is a very standard version of Android with some Kyocera hardware settings, e.g. B. Options for the three programmable buttons and some Verizon account utilities. It’s nice to see a Carrier branded phone without a ton of games and other unnecessary bloatware. This phone is specially designed to help business users get their jobs done.
By default, the traditional three-button navigation option is enabled. However, I quickly switched to gesture navigation because after months of adapting to this form of user interaction, I find it more user-friendly.
Kyocera also offers an underwater mode that helps you take pictures and videos in fresh water (avoid salt water). The phone has been tested and is designed to be immersed in water for up to 30 minutes to a depth of two meters or less. When underwater mode is on, the touchscreen is disabled so you can use the physical buttons to control the camera. This includes switching between still images and videos, and zooming in or out while using the camera.
Another interesting camera option is called Action Overlay mode. When this mode is activated in the camera, you can take a photo or record a video with the elapsed time, driving distance, speed, G-force, altitude, map or weather in the picture or video. This can be useful while mountain biking, hiking, or other outdoor activities if you want to share some important stats.
Daily usage experiences
The reviewer’s guide provided by Kyocera states that we can take a knife to the display and try scratching it as it has a scratch-resistant Sapphire Shield display and shouldn’t be scratching. I tried keys, coins, and sand without scratching the display. It also survived multiple drops on concrete and immersion in water. I have to say it’s a relief to use a phone that doesn’t break with every drop.
Since T-Mobile is my main provider, I’ve been using 5G with T-Mobile since 2019 and I’m pretty happy with the experience. I took my T-phones and ran speed tests alongside the Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G to see if there was a big difference. I’ve seen double or triple the speed with Verizon repeatedly and haven’t even been to a densely populated area. I read that Verizon’s UWB network was primarily focused on cities, and I understand that the top speeds will be in those areas, but I was pretty impressed with Verizon’s network performance in the suburbs and in the Florida field, Louisiana. and Alabama.
The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW is available now from Verizon for $ 899.99 or $ 37.49 / month for 24 months. If you need a phone that can handle the elements and rough handling on site while also offering fast 5G access, consider this latest model from Kyocera.