Review: Kyocera DuraPlus for Sprint
The DuraPlus has a 2-inch display that has 240 x 320 pixels. The resolution is just high enough that most text, graphics, icons, and images appear to be relatively free of pixelated edges. After staring at smartphone screens measuring 3.5 to 5+ inches for years, it is hard to appreciate the DuraPlus's display, but for the guys used to carrying PTT phones, it does a fine job. It's best feature? It's easily read out under the sun.
As with other, newer PTT-capable phones from Sprint, the DuraPlus uses CDMA-based technology instead of Nextel's old iDEN technology. Its signal performance was on par with other Sprint devices I've tested in the greater New York City area. (In my home office, it held onto two bars. In my basement it lost Sprint's network entirely.) In midtown Manhattan, it held on the network just fine. During my tests, the DuraPlus didn't drop any calls, nor did it miss any. PTT calls went through in an instant, and there were never any delays even under the worst network conditions. Data was reasonably quick over 3G, but if the DuraPlus dropped to 1X, browsing sessions would come to a halt.
The DuraPlus's call performance was very inconsistent. I tested two different phones multiple times across multiple test points. Sometimes call quality was "ok" and sometimes it was poor. In-call volume performance was also inconsistent. Sometimes the earpiece volume was acceptable, other times it was too quiet — even though the volume was set to the maximum. Performance with the speakerphone was similar. At times it was skull-shatteringly loud, and other times it wasn't strong enough to overcome the noise made by strong winds. Kyocera said the DuraPlus was engineered to be extremely loud, and is investigating our devices to see if there is perhaps something wrong with them. It is possible we received units that had hardware or software bugs. Based on the my experience with the device, I'd rate overall cellular call quality at below average, and PTT calls as average. The vibrate alert is plenty strong.
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The DuraPlus, at its core, is a feature phone. Sure, it has some apps that connect to the network from time to time to grab data, but it's nothing like a smartphone. Translation: the battery life of this device is kick-butt. It routinely lasted more than two full days on a single charge. Unless you plan to shine the flashlight all night, this thing will see you through days' worth of use before it needs to be plugged in.
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