Kyocera’s Brigadier first leaked back in the spring, and at the time, there wasn’t much reason to be excited about it. The phone seemed like it would just be the latest in a long series of ruggedized Androids that may offer exceptional durability, but with little in the way of real stand-out features, nor high-end specs. And so we largely forgot about the phone until it popped back on our radar earlier this week, as a source leaked some Verizon documentation to us that identified the Brigadier as the first Kyocera model to use the company’s Sapphire Shield – its branding for a highly scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire display. It seemed like a launch was due at any moment, and sure enough, Verizon has gone official with the smartphone today.
That leak we brought you is proving to be right on the money, as we can now confirm details like the Brigadier’s 4.5-inch 720p screen, 8MP camera (with 2MP front-facer), 2GB of RAM, and 16GB storage with support for microSD expansion. The phone’s mystery SoC is now identified as a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400, and all those ratings against dust, water, shock, and extreme temperature are present. It even supports Qi wireless charging.
As for that sapphire screen, Verizon says the phone has been tested by independent labs and is “far less likely to break than leading strengthened touch–panel glass.” With test conditions including dropping the phone screen-first onto rocks, that sounds pretty darn durable.
So what’s this sapphire luxury gonna run you? Not that much, as it turns out. On-contract, the Kyocera Brigadier is just about $100, though the full off-contract price is a scant $400. Considering Verizon still sells the 4.3-inch dual-core Kyocera Hydro ELITE for $350, that’s a pretty affordable upgrade.