Video settings for the rear shooter include six video sizes (ranging from a 30-second MMS to 1080p HD), digital zoom, a flash, time lapse, and the same white balance, color effects, geotagging, and auto exposure settings. Recording options for the 1.3-megapixel camera are the same, except there are only three video sizes (from MMS to VGA), and there's no flash.
Photo quality was respectable, but mediocre. Though you'll have no problem capturing your main image or a general scene, photos aren't as focused and clear, especially in dimmer lighting. And despite colors being true-to-life, dark hues are hard to distinguish from one another, edges aren't very well-defined, and you'll see some digital noise with your photographs.
Fortunately, recording video on 1080p yielded better results. Audio cam in clearly, and images were adequately sharp. Moving objects, like passing cars, remained in focus and colors were accurate. In addition, there was little lag between my moving of the camera and the feedback I saw on the viewfinder.
I tested the Kyocera Hydro XTRM in our San Francisco offices. Unfortunately, call quality was poor. Though none of my calls dropped and audio didn't clip in and out, throughout my calls, I could hear a continuous high-pitched tone. I could hear this sound while someone talked and during times of absolute silence. Voices also came off scratchy, and I was told I sounded muffled and staticky as well. And while audio speaker sounded great and full of depth with music, phone calls sounded a bit harsh and tinny.
Kyocera Hydro XTRM (U.S. Cellular) call quality sample
Because we don't have U.S. Cellular's 4G LTE coverage here, I browsed the Internet using the carrier's 3G roaming network. On average, data speeds were glacial. CNET's mobile site loaded in a minute and 38 seconds and our desktop site, oddly, took less time, a minute and 20 seconds. The New York Times' mobile site took about 27 seconds, while its desktop version took 2 minutes and 30 seconds. ESPN's mobile site took 34 seconds, and its full site loaded in a minute and 52 seconds. Ookla's Speedtest app showed me an average of 0.1Mbps down and 0.13Mbps up. It took a whopping 30 minutes and 32 seconds to download the 32.41MB game Temple Run 2.
|Kyocera Hydro XTRM||Performance testing|
|Average 3G download speed||0.1Mpbs|
|Average 3G upload speed||0.13Mbps|
|App download (Temple Run 2)||32.41MB in 30 minutes and 32 seconds|
|CNET mobile site load||1 minute and 38 seconds|
|CNET desktop site load||1 minute and 20 seconds|
|Restart time||48 seconds|
|Camera boot time||1.66 seconds|
The device is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon 1.2GHz processor. At times, it can be slow. It takes a few moments for it to switch from landscape to portrait mode and vice versa, and for it to unlock the home screen. In general, however, it has no problem carrying out daily but necessary tasks like opening up simple apps, returning to the home pages, or scrolling through Web sites. On average, it took about 48 seconds to reboot the phone, and 1.66 seconds to launch the camera.
As for its water resistance, the handset is certainly waterproof, and it can reportedly be submerged in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Our review unit survived multiple dunkings, 30 minutes completely submerged in a shallow bowl, and sitting inside a running shower for 20 minutes. Furthermore, I knocked it down a flight of cement stairs a few times. While that resulted in a lot of scuffs and scratches, the handset itself still kept on ticking and the touch screen didn't crack.
During our battery drain test, the device lasted 5.53 hours for continuous video playback. Anecdotally, it has a decent battery life. It has a reported talk time of up to 12.4 hours. Though it couldn't last the weekend on standby, with minimal usage, it can survive a workday without a charge. According to FCC radiation standards, it has a digital SAR rating of 1.27W/kg.
Currently, the Kyocera Hydro XTRM is U.S. Cellular's only waterproof handset. So if you want absolute peace of mind the next time you're at the beach or a pool party, the phone will surely survive any splashes coming its way. In addition, compared with the water-resistant Alcatel One Touch Shockwave and the Motorola Defy XT, it has 4G LTE, more internal storage, and a more powerful processor -- all at a reasonable $30 contract price.
However, if having a waterproof device isn't a priority, consider the carrier's more higher-tiered devices like the reliable LG Optimus F7 (which is only $20 more), or the stylish Motorla Electrify M. The M only has a water-resistant screen, but it has a bigger, more vivid display and a longer battery life.
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