Review: Kyocera DuraForce for AT&T
The DuraForce's screen measures 4.5 inches across the diagonal and it packs 1280 x 720 pixels. That 720p HD resolution works well with this size screen. The pixel density is good enough that most people won't see pixels unless they hold the phone right up to their eyes. Most on-screen elements look sharp and clean. Colors were nice and bright. Viewing angles are also quite good. The screen offers plenty of brightness. I was able to see the screen clearly even under sunny skies. It's a fine screen that will please most people.
The DuraForce performed superbly on AT&T's LTE network around the metro NYC area. I rarely dropped down to HSPA, and even when it did there was no noticeable difference in the phone's behavior. I was very pleased with call connections and data speeds. I never had any trouble making calls, even under the worst network conditions. Only once did it take two attempts to connect a call; it never dropped or missed any calls while I reviewed it. Data performance was on par with other devices I've tested on AT&T's network in recent months. Speeds were more than adequate to handle browsing the web, uploading photos, and streaming video.
The DuraForce relies on Kyocera's Sonic Smart Receiver for normal phone calls. The Smart Sonic Receiver uses vibrations rather than a standard earpiece to deliver voices directly to your head. I was pleased with the quality of phone calls. They were free of interference and voices had a nice, warm tone to them. In-call volume was good as long as the phone is pressed to your head. I was able to hear calls in most environments. The Smart Sonic Receiver technology also works through helmets, just make sure you press the DuraForce against the outside of the helmet.
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The speakerphone used more traditional technology and is incredibly loud. It pumps out all sorts of volume and can be heard at home, the office, in your car, and pretty anywhere else.
People with whom I conversed through the DuraForce were impressed with the quality of my voice. Ringers and alert tones are extremely loud, too. I never missed a call or message thanks to the noisy notifications. The DuraForce's vibrate alert was acceptable.
The DuraForce has a 3,000 mAh battery buried under its plastic skin. It delivered very good battery life. The DuraForce had no trouble powering through a full day of moderate to heavy usage. I left the Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi radios on at all times and surfed a lot of YouTube while firing off Tweets, emails, and other messages. Most people should be able to get through a day or even a day and a half between charges.
The DuraForce includes Kyocera's Eco Mode to help you extend battery life should you run low. It helps refine the DuraForce's power consumption by shutting down predetermined services once the battery reaches a select percentage. For example, Eco Mode could be used to turn off automatic email fetch once the battery drops below 20%. Eco Mode has a cool home screen widget that makes it a breeze to set up and use.
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