Review: Kyocera DuraXT for Sprint
The DuraXT is nearly identical to the DuraMAX. The only outward difference in appearance is the design of the speaker grill on the front of the phone. Otherwise, it would be difficult to tell them apart. The chock-a-block shape and dark gray plastics look almost futuristic.
The DuraXT has plenty of right angles forming its edges and sides, which amplify the brick effect. It's a thick phone, not too heavy, but tough to wrap your hand all the way around. It's just a hair under one inch thick. It will not be comfortable to carry around in the pocket of a pair of tight jeans. The DuraXT is meant to be carried in either a phone pouch (such as on a messenger back) or a holster.
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The hinge of the DuraXT is rock solid. It has no side-to-side movement when closed or open, and feels as though it could survive the worst type of abuse. It's very strong, but still flips open easily with spring assistance.
The microUSB port is situated on the left edge of the DuraXT, and is covered by a sturdy rubber hatch. The hatch seals snugly so the DuraXT can be splashed with liquids or submerged a while without danger. The volume toggle is above the hatch, and it protrudes nicely from the side of the phone. The button works well, though it might be difficult to use when wearing gloves because it is a short button. The dedicated PTT button has the same nice feel, and is easier to find with gloves on. Travel and feedback is much improved over the DuraMAX .
The 2.5mm headset jack is on the right side of the DuraXT, near the top corner. It, too, is protected by a sturdy hatch, which seals tight when pushed back into place. The speakerphone button and mute button are both on top. These rectangular buttons are small, but still easy to find and use.
The buttons making up the DuraXT's keypad are fairly large and well spaced. The keys have a soft-touch feel to them, but I didn't like the travel and feedback much. They're a bit mushy. The navigation cluster centers around a large d-pad, with a golf-ball-dimpled center button. The d-pad feels great to use when navigating menus and options across the screen. The soft keys and send/end keys are a good size and shape, as are the dedicated Back and Camera keys.
In order to achieve its mil-spec rating, the DuraXT's battery cover needs to be watertight. There's a large switch positioned close to the bottom of the battery cover. Slide it over to unlock the cover. Only then will you be able to pry it off. Unfortunately, you'll also have to remove the battery itself if you want to get at the microSD card slot, which is hidden beneath.
The DuraXT doesn't break any new ground in terms of design or ruggedization. Instead, it treads the same well-worn path in sturdy boots that will get you where you need to go reliably day in and day out.