As unusually muscular and robust as rugged handhelds might look at a first glance, rarely do they stick with most mobile consumers for more than a few days after their formal announcements, catering to a very finite number of people that want specific devices to handle specific needs.
The AT&T-exclusive Kyocera DuraForce XD was probably no exception to the 15 minutes of fame rule, escaping all your minds shortly after its mid-October introduction. But for some reason, the unbreakable phablet will only go on sale this Friday, January 8, getting a second release at CES in Vegas, with a price tag finally attached to its name.
If you opt for a lengthy two-year contract, you can score the 4G LTE-ready, IP68 and MIL-STD-810G-certified 5.7-incher at a measly $50. Alternatively, you can pay $15 a month on Next 24 agreements, which means outright, the DuraForce XD costs $450.
A little steep for a decidedly nichey product? Perhaps, but you’re covered against everything from long, deep water immersion to drops, shocks, solar radiation, extreme temperatures and low pressure, plus you get a few mainstream high-end goodies like quad-core processing power and 3,700 mAh battery juice.
Besides, if you want to save a buck, there’s always the Kyocera Hydro View alternative at Cricket, with slightly inferior IP57 water and dust rating, no protection to hard impacts, but of course, a slimmer profile, LTE connectivity, respectable 5-inch screen, and pre-installed Android 5.1 Lollipop software.
The launch date is also January 8, and the prepaid, no-contract price $80. Lastly, if you don’t really need “smart” features beyond a 5MP camera, GPS support, and basic web access, AT&T will also sell the “dumb” Kyocera DuraXE starting Friday, at $50 on-contract or $270 outright, with the same extreme ruggedized aspect as the Android-powered DuraForce XD.