Is anyone still buying bulky, nichey rugged gadgets when so many mainstream featherweights resist water immersion, some even taking a good deal of abuse without flinching? Well, if priced correctly, and loaded with enough compelling selling points, why wouldn’t something like the Kyocera DuraForce PRO deserve a chance?

But if AT&T and Sprint failed to pique your interest with this muscular 5-incher’s IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certifications, ingenious trio of cameras including a “Super-Wide-View” 1080p action snapper, 2GB RAM, and 3,240mAh battery, maybe Verizon can do a better job.

Arriving late to the phone’s US launch party unexpectedly gives Big Red the edge, with a carrier-exclusive Sapphire Shield display, as well as upgraded 3GB RAM. The screen, likely still sporting more than respectable 1080p resolution, is now made of “pure sapphire crystal”, rated second only to diamonds in mineral hardness, and thus guaranteeing a virtually scratch-prproof device, protected even against tough falls, rocks, keys, coins and other abrasions that Verizon claims would damage “most” smartphone displays.

What’s most pleasing (and surprising) is Verizon’s reasonable $408 charge for this roided-up Kyocera DuraForce PRO model, which you can always split in 24 monthly installments of $17 each. Oh, and you also get LTE Advanced speeds, push-to-talk capabilities, 32GB internal storage, microSD support, a Snapdragon 617 SoC, and alas, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, all squeezed into an overweight 230-gram package measuring around 13mm thick.

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