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Super tough, sapphire screened Kyocera Brigadier marches on to the Verizon network

Kyocera has gone upmarket with its new rugged smartphone, announced this week with Verizon, by fitting it with a sapphire crystal screen. The phone is called the Brigadier, and Kyocera has branded its ultra-strong screen as a Sapphire Shield, answering the questions we had about the name after seeing it in a recently released teaser video.

Sapphire crystal displays are big news this year, thanks to better phones from sapphire experts Vertu, and the promise of a similar screen on the next Apple iPhone. Kyocera says its Sapphire Shield is “virtually scratch proof,” and that the screen won’t break even if it’s dropped face first on to rocks. The Brigadier also conforms to IP68 standards, making it water and dust resistant, plus it has a military spec toughened body shell to resist knocks and scrapes, along with extreme temperatures and environments.

Kyocera Brigadier FrontThe Brigadier’s specs are decent too. Under the Sapphire Shield is a 4.5-inch, 720p touchscreen, and the device is powered by a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, with a very helpful 2GB of RAM. On the rear is an 8-megapixel camera that can also shoot 1080p video, while a 2-megapixel cam takes care of any building site selfies you may want to snap.

There’s built-in wireless charging, NFC, 4G LTE connectivity, and a clever audio system which makes it possible to hear conversations even while wearing a safety hat. Finally, Android 4.4 KitKat is installed, and there is 16GB of internal storage space to fill up, plus a MicroSD card slot if you run out of room.

Kyocera’s Brigadier is available only on the Verizon network, where it costs $400 without a contract. Sign up for two years and you’ll only need to hand over $100 on the day, while choosing Verizon Edge will see you pay $20 per month over 20 months, but with the option to upgrade early.

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