- Nate Ralph , Cnet
The Kyocera Hydro Icon might be inexpensive and waterproof, but a general lack of noteworthy features and a rather poor camera make this one tough to recommend.
- Smooth processor performance
- Certified waterproof and shock resistant
- Good screen angles and decent sharpness
- Scratchy and static-y call quality
- Very poor video recording quality
- Small amount of onboard storage
Once again Kyocera offers a budget waterproof phone, but as part of the Hydro line, the Icon also features military grade shock protection. While it is a certified rugged phone, it is fairly slim at 0.43-inches and weighs only 144 grams. If this were a normal smartphone, the weight and thickness might make the phone a bit chunky, but reviewers consider it quite svelte for a rugged device.
At the forefront of the device is a 4.5-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 540 pixels. While not full HD, experts were relatively happy with the overall crispness of the screen and viewing angles. They did have some problems with glare under bright lighting and direct sunlight, but also note that in other circumstances the screen was generally legible.
Behind the display sites the 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM. The combination of the two gave critics a relatively smooth performance throughout usage, although it isn't as fast as true flagship phones. It is good enough to get through basic tasks and even some hardware-intensive games without a hitch. It also comes equipped with only 8GB of internal storage, though due to the OS and Kyocera apps the actual available storage is more like 4GB. Luckily the Icon does support up to 32GB microSD cards. The slow is located behind the 2,000mAh battery. According to expert tests, the battery lasted a full day of lighter usage and comes with the perk of wireless charging.
One of the biggest downfalls of the Icon is call quality. On the calling and receiving end, experts noticed that the voices often sounded very distant and ran into instances of static and scratchiness. The other downfall is its 8MP rear camera. It wasn't camera mode that turned experts off as they were able to produce decent shots when the lighting was good. It was the video mode. While not all consumers will use their phones to capture video, a large majority do. Unfortunately, reviewers call the video on the Icon a "lost cause" as it produces slow and juddery videos when recording 1080p. Although they note that it does get better at lower resolutions they still consider it a rather disappointing experience.
Overall, reviewers were not impressed with the Hydro Icon despite its rugged rating. CNet states, "Unless tumbling into approximately 3 feet of water is a recurring ordeal for you, there actually isn't that much to recommend."
Reviews (3/10 Avg. rating)
Waterproof Icon fails to make a splash
The Kyocera Hydro Icon joins a long line of phones locked in a constant struggle for relevance. It won't cost you very much, and if you live in the a 4G coverage area you'll even see decent network speeds. But unless tumbling into approximately 3 feet of water is a recurring ordeal for you, there...More
The Kyocera Hydro Icon joins a long line of phones locked in a constant struggle for relevance. It won't cost you very much, and if you live in the a 4G coverage area you'll even see decent network speeds. But unless tumbling into approximately 3 feet of water is a recurring ordeal for you, there actually isn't all that much to recommend here. Performance is fine, though you'll need to make some concessions in more demanding mobile games. The camera disappoints, but if you only need to take the occasional outdoor snapshot, it'll do in a pinch. The phone isn't bulky -- especially considering its sturdy build -- and it isn't unsightly either. It's your run-of-the-mill, 4.5-inch smartphone, with a neat trick you can show off at (wading) pool parties. That makes things a little boring.Read full review
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