Kyocera Hydro Edge and XTRM: Waterproof Androids Make a Splash

Kyocera is expanding its Hydro line of waterproof smartphones with the new Hydro Edge and Hydro XTRM. The handsets, which we checked out at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas, are both rated to survive in up to 3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. To get the full effect, Kyocera encased the two handsets in blocks of ice at the Minus 5 Ice Lounge. We donned some very furry coats to bring you this hands-on. 

Both the Hydro Edge (coming to Sprint and Boost Mobile this summer) and the Hydro XTRM ($29.99 for U.S. Cellular) feature 4-inch displays with a relatively low resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 5-megapixel cameras and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. They also both offer Smart Sonic Receiver technology, which uses tissue conduction to let you hear other callers-without the need for a traditional earpiece. So what are the differences?

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The Edge is a 3G-only phone with a 1-GHz dual-core processor and 1,600 mAh battery, while the XTRM steps up the CPU to 1.2 GHz and the battery capacity to 1,900 mAh. The Edge features capacitive menu buttons, while the XTRM's buttons are in software. The XTRM lives up to its name by providing extra shock resistance to complement its water-proof design. Plus, only the XTRM offers a front-facing camera for video chats.

The Hydro Edge and XTRM follow the Kyocera Hydro for Boost Mobile that we reviewed back in September. We appreciated the water-proof design and Eco Mode for preserving battery life, but we lamented the low-res screen and lack of 4G LTE. Now shoppers will have a choice of true 4G with the XTRM model. Stay tuned for our full reviews.

Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.