Hands on: Kyocera Torque is an Android phone you can drop in the toilet

Check out our full review of the Kyocera Torque rugged smart phone.

There aren’t many things to miss about Nextel phones, except for their durability. Many of those phones could take one hell of a beating. They couldn’t do much else, mind you, but there’s something to be said for a phone you can throw across the room, pick up, and take a call on. With the Kyocera Torque, you can, once again, take your rage out on your phone without fear. In fact, even the more sadistic among you won’t be able to harm the Torque. And, honestly, you may not want to. Nextel phones were often so frustrating that we can understand why you’d want to throw them around the room. The Kyocera Torque for Sprint, on the other hand, might just make a friend out of you. 

Kyocera Torque front

Often, if you want a phone that’s durable, you have to sacrifice having a phone that can do everything you want. Or maybe you have to put up with an incredibly bulky frame. We spent some time with the Kyocera Torque at Mobile World Congress and have to say, it doesn’t appear to have many drawbacks. The Torque is engineered to meet U.S. Military-level standards testing and it has an Ingress Protection rating of 67, which means it’s rated to be completely dust proof and can withstand total immersion in water for a short period of time (30 minutes, a Kyocera rep told us). It does all this without being too bulky or looking too ghastly, as well. It’s not the prettiest girl at the dance, but like the end to any good coming-of-age romantic comedy, the Torque is dancing on its own and loving it.

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Having a phone that you could use to beat someone senseless and then still call 911 on is great, but what’s impressive is how decent the insides are. Sprint and Kyocera have packed in a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal file storage (also a microSD slot), a 4-inch 800×480 pixel screen, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel front camera, Android 4.0, NFC, HD Voice, Push to Talk (if you want it), and an impressive 2,500mAh battery. These aren’t cutting edge hardware specifications (specs) in the least, but they’re good enough that using the Torque isn’t frustrating. 

Sound with no traditional speakers: Did you know that Kyocera stands for Kyoto Ceramics? We didn’t, but it make sense now. The Torque has a unique feature  called a “Smart Sonic Receiver” that uses a durable ceramic actuator to transmit sound as vibrations. You can hear the sound regularly, but it’s designed so that, if you’re in a loud environment, you can press the phone to any part of your face and hear the audio through your head. It’s absolutely nuts, but it works well in practice. In the picture below, DT Mobile writer Andy Boxall is listening to some music through his forehead. Those headphones he’s wearing are sound muffling, but touch the Torque to them and you can hear so clearly it’s like you’re not anyway.

Kyocera Torque Smart Sonic Receiver

For $100 with a 2-year contract, the Kyocera Torque isn’t a bad deal. It shouldn’t give you much trouble as an Android phone, you probably won’t break it, and if you drop it in the toilet, you have a full 30 minutes to gather your courage and pull it out. For the clumsy among you, this is a better solution than buying a durable case. The Torque will be available on Sprint March 8 for $100.

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