Review: Kyocera DuraMax for Sprint
The DuraMax's diminutive 2-inch display left me wanting more. It packs in 240 x 320 pixels, which means that text, graphics and icons look good and sharp, for such a small screen. Brightness is also very good. There's no need to use a flashlight app; this inner screen easily lit up a dark hallway in my powerless house during Snowtober. The one problem is that the text and menus on the DuraMax are extremely small. The indicators at the top of the screen are so small as to be nearly invisible. The screen is readable outdoors, though.
The external display is a monochrome affair that offers only alerts, the time, and basic indicators. It, too, is fairly bright, but it's not quite as easy to read outdoors as the inner display.
Running on Sprint's CDMA network, the DuraMax performed on par with other Sprint devices tested in the NYC metro region. It held onto two bars in my office, but lost the network completely in my basement (for comparison's sake, an iDEN phone would still have connected to the network in my basement). Outdoors, the DuraMax mostly displayed four bars. In practical terms, the DuraMax connected all but one of my calls on the first try, and it dropped only one.
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As for data, it was pretty good for an EVDO 3G phone. Mobile-optimized web pages loaded in 10 to 20 seconds pretty regularly. The DuraMax didn't offer the strongest signal performance around, but it was far from awful.
Call quality with the DuraMax was surprisingly good. I thought most conversations sounded clean and were free of hiss or static. There was a slight "digital" effect present during some (not all) calls, but it was not intrusive. As for volume, well, we have a problem, Houston. The earpiece is anemic at best, and conversations can be difficult to hear even in the quietest environs, let alone noisy ones. I'd suggest using the speakerphone when possible, as it is much easier to hear conversations with the speaker blaring. Calls via the speakerphone are good, with respect to quality, though I wish even the speakerphone were louder. The vibrate alert is strong enough to cause most anyone to jump out of their skin.
The DuraMax's battery does a good job. It easily lasted through two whole days, with some life left to spare the third morning. Using the navigation services reduced battery life a bit, but otherwise nothing seemed to phase it. Weekend adventurers can probably count on the DuraMax to deliver the performance they need when out and about without worrying about when they'll juice up next.
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