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printed July 30, 2014
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Review: Casio G'zOne Brigade

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If you want a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard that’s rugged and waterproof, there’s really only one option, so the Casio Brigade benefits from a lack of competition. Even so, the phone gets some essential features right. It has a loud speakerphone for walkie-talkie features on Verizon Wireless’ PTT service. Battery life was also solid, at least for straight chatting, even if it drained a little too fast in mixed use situations.

The keyboard on the Casio Brigade is very easy to use. The rugged build and waterproofing make for large, raised keys and a pleasant typing experience.

Audio quality suffers, but I imagine waterproofing diminishes the microphone’s quality. I had no trouble holding a conversation, but this isn’t a great phone for long, casual chats.

Multimedia features were all sub-par. The music experience was lacking, relying too heavily on the poor V Cast Music Store and music player. Web browsing was about as bad as it gets on a 3G phone these days, a shame considering the Adobe Flash Lite support. But the camera was surprisingly good, especially for a rugged, waterproof device, and I had a great time taking pictures and videos from the chilly depths of my pool.

It’s big, expensive (at launch), and in some ways disappointing, but the Casio Brigade gets it right where it counts, at least for a military spec device. It’s the best Casio G’zOne phone I’ve used, and a solid choice if there’s any chance you’ll want to send a text message on water skis. In fact, it’s probably the only choice.

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