Hands-on with the Kyocera Hydro EDGE and Hydro XTRM

Two ruggedized mid-range devices destined for Sprint, Boost and U.S. Cellular

Making their appearance as successors to the original Kyocera Hydro, the Hydro EDGE and Hydro XTRM have been unveiled here at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas. Doing what Kyocera does best, the latest two iterations in the Hydro family are mid-range devices that pack a solid feature set with the added bonus of water, shock and dustproofing. First up is the EDGE, which is only officially rated as being waterproof but still sports what feels like a solid case, destined for both Sprint and Boost Mobile. The XTRM (as the name would suggest) is officially certified as resistant to not only water, but also shocks, drops and dust and will arrive instead on U.S. Cellular.

Both devices are decidedly mid-range, with 4-inch WVGA displays, 5MP cameras and dual-core Snapdragon processors. Stick around after the break where we have a bit more information, as well as some hands-on pictures and video to get a better feel for both of these new devices.

Hydro EDGE

The Hydro EDGE will likely be the more attractive device to most people's eyes, and will certainly get the most exposure as it will be heading to both Sprint and Boost Mobile. If you ever saw the original Hydro on Boost you know not to expect much here, but for what it is the EDGE provides a pretty solid experience. The EDGE kicks up the styling considerably from the original, with a nice metal surround that covers the top portion of the back and down along the sides, accented by a hard rubber back plate that is removed to reveal the battery compartment. Instead of a traditional handset speaker on the front of the device, Kyocera has implemented its proprietary "Smart Sonic Receiver" bone conducting technology here, which we found to work well on the Kyocera Torque. The unfortunate missing piece on the EDGE is LTE, which is likely a result of this device being targeted mainly at the prepaid market.

In terms of raw specs, here's your rundown:

  • 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4-inch WVGA (480x800) IPS display
  • 4GB of storage, expandable
  • 5MP camera
  • 1600mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0

On the software side, Kyocera has made some modest changes to the UI in terms of a new launcher and several tweaks targeted at mid-range users that are likely to buy ruggedized devices. Similar to what we found in our Kyocera Torque review, these changes come in handy. Sprint has also elected to keep the bloatware to a minimum on its devices, which is always a preferred experience. The end result is a device running Android 4.1.2 with nothing particularly offensive about the carrier or manufacturer customizations.

The Hydro EDGE will be found at Sprint with a 2-year contract, or at Boost without a contract. While Sprint isn't quite ready to release exact pricing and availability details other than "Summer", you can expect the device to hit both carriers at prices you can easily stomach.

Hydro XTRM

The Hydro XTRM is basically a more stylized and suped-up version of the EDGE, and will arrive exclusively on U.S. Cellular here in the states. In most areas we're looking at the same specs, size and basic design as the EDGE, but with subtle improvements. The casing takes on a bit more of a traditional feel, with a plastic chrome edge around the device and a rubber back plate that spans from top to bottom. The design looks a bit less uninspired than the EDGE, but that's certainly subjective. As a tradeoff for that lackluster styling you get a slight bump in processor power, better resistance to the elements in terms of shocks, drops and dust as well as the addition of LTE networking. You also get on-screen navigation buttons, which is nice for those of us who like to keep things consistent across devices.

Again in terms of some raw specs, the XTRM is very similar to the EDGE:

  • 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4-inch WVGA (480x800) IPS display
  • 4GB of storage, expandable by SDcard
  • 5MP camera
  • 2000mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Software-wise you'll be hard pressed to find any major differences between the EDGE and XTRM. We're still looking at Android 4.1.2 with those Kyocera customizations and tools included, and of course U.S. Cellular will likely include a little of their own flavor as well. The Hydro XTRM will hit U.S. Cellular starting May 24th for $29.99 on-contract, which is a very acceptable price for a device of this kind.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.