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Kyocera Torque review

This rugged Sprint Android phone is built for business in extreme conditions

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Our Verdict

For

  • Rugged build
  • Loud, clear speakers
  • Mostly stock Android OS
  • Respectable 5MP rear camera

Against

  • Direct Connect button gets in the way
  • Dated version of Android
  • Slow camera shutter
  • Sprint's 4G LTE coverage is lacking

The Torque by Kyocera includes a removable, 2500mAh Lithium Ion battery tucked beneath a ruggedized cover held firmly in place by a large screw above the micro-USB port. Thankfully, a screwdriver isn't required – we were able to open and close the cover easily with a thumbnail.

Sprint rates the Torque talk time at a whopping 18 hours, a claim we're hard-pressed to dispute. The carrier doesn't rate the device for standby, but based on the week we spent with it, the included battery certainly outlasts more expensive competing handsets.

Kyocera Torque review

Underneath the battery is a micro-SIM slot, now required for Sprint 4G LTE devices. A micro-SD slot is also tucked away just below a notch used to eject the battery, capable of up to 32GB of additional, user-provided storage.

The device also includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot connectivity for up to eight devices and stereo Bluetooth 4.0 wireless, all of which performed as expected.

Kyocera Torque review

So just how rugged is the Torque? Kyocera claims the device meets an IP67 rating for dust and water immersion as well as Military Standard 810G for just about any condition you can imagine, including solar radiation (!!), humidity and other temperature extremes.

To test these claims, TechRadar took the Torque on a hike through the woods, tossing it into grass, mud and against trees with no ill effects. A passing thunderstorm also gave us the opportunity to stand out in the pouring rain while engaged in a speakerphone call – unthinkable with any other handset, but the Torque passed the test with flying colors.

Kyocera Torque review

Perhaps the boldest claim Sprint and Kyocera make with the Torque is its ability to withstand 30 minutes of being immersed in up to 3.28 feet (one meter) of water. Naturally, we had to try this for ourselves using a bathtub full of water, even calling the handset from another line just because we could. Once again, the Torque came out no worse for the wear.

Just for good measure, we also gave the Torque a toss onto the lawn. Not only did it keep on ticking, it didn't stop shooting either. Warning, not for the easily dizzied.

Performance

While few would accuse the armored Torque by Kyocera of being a slouch in the durability field, its 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8969 dual-core processor is dated, and you can feel it. The Torque boots up in a poky 40 seconds but once started, we found the processor largely acceptable in daily use.

Kyocera Torque review

As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding: Version 3.3 of the AnTuTu Benchmark app came back with a score of 10521, which again puts it just below the HTC One S (10644), but pales in comparison to a flagship device like the Samsung Galaxy S3 (16301). The processor is aided by a 4GB ROM coupled with 1GB RAM and an equal amount of onboard storage.

Sprint bundles a sprinkling of bloatware with the Torque, including ICE for emergency contacts, Mobile Sync for free, cloud-based contact sync, Polaris Viewer for opening Microsoft Office documents and Sprint Zone for accessing account information, carrier news and even music, movies and TV shows through the Entertain Me portal.

In addition to the aforementioned Sprint ID app, the provider also includes shortcuts to Battery, Direct Connect, LED Flashlight, Eco Mode (battery-saving features) and iZat, Qualcomm's built-in enhanced location technology. All in all, Sprint has shown restraint by not overloading the Torque with unwanted features, but we did miss the traditional built-in Notepad app, a curious omission.