This ultra-rugged Android phone has every battery feature you can imagine

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

While millions work in offices and remotely in their homes, there are many jobs that require a person to work outside, in warehouses and places that are not always friendly to expensive glass sandwiches. People also spend a lot more time exploring the world around us and don’t want to break their expensive phones or wrap them in bulky protective cases.

Also: What is a rugged phone and which are the best?

the new Kyocera DuraForce Pro 3 Built to withstand the rigors of the world to provide you with a smartphone that will keep going long after others may have given up the ghost. I’ve used rugged smartphones for many years and it’s great to see devices getting slimmer, providing better usability features and improving camera performance so that a single device can be used when working in challenging conditions.


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Kyocera DuraForce Pro 3

The Kyocera DuraForce Pro 3 is built for tough conditions with features that give you the chance to keep going, no matter what’s thrown at you.

A fingerprint sensor/side power button, three custom programmable buttons, four lanyard attachment points, 100dB+ stereo speakers, removable battery, wireless charging and improved rugged build features are provided with DuraForce Pro 3. The programmable lower right button is perfect as a camera trigger and then a camera capture button when holding the phone in landscape orientation. The AI-enhanced speakers are particularly loud, making it easier to hear when working outdoors or in areas with heavy machinery noise and other background noise.

The phone is certified IP68 dust and water resistant and tested MIL-STD-810-H against sand, vibrations, shocks and more. I’ve taken it trail running and dropped it in the woods over and over again, dunked it in water and left it in the blazing sun for a few similar tests, and the phone continues to work perfectly.

DuraForce Pro 3 in water

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A 5.38-inch OLED display that supports gloved hands and use in wet conditions is present with the phone powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor and 6GB of ROM. Wi-Fi 6/6E is included, along with Verizon 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, and dual-SIM support.

also: Why this rugged Android 13 phone reminds me of the good old Nokia days

Three cameras are located at the top of the rear panel behind a protective glass cover with dual LED lights on each side for bright night lighting. The 64MP main camera, 16MP wide-angle camera and 2MP macro camera perform very well and will help you take great photos and 4K video. There are advanced camera modes available including overlay (speed and GPS information captured on the display), multi-camera (great for field work when you want to show yourself and the subject of the discussion), and underwater (touch screen off and custom buttons for camera control). I enjoy taking pictures and videos of the fish I catch while the fish remains in the water, so this underwater mode is much better than trying to use an iPhone with a hard case.

The back panel is securely held in place with a screw near the bottom that also has rear contacts for connecting to accessories for scanning and other functions. Kyocera also provided a A rugged rotating case from Axessorize Experiment with the phone.

DuraForce Pro 3 back open

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

I highly recommend taking the time to configure the single, double, and press/hold options of each of the three programmable buttons so that you can fully optimize the use of the phone with minimal interaction with the display. All those button options to launch apps or perform key actions makes a huge difference when you’re busy trying to do other things with your hands.

also: The best rugged tablets (and what ‘military grade’ means)

It’s rare to find a phone with a removable battery, but the DuraForce Pro 3 has a 4,270 mAh battery under the back cover. This means that if you plan to spend significant time in the field without a charging option available, you can pack extra batteries and stay connected. The removable microSD card means you can also swap external storage cards in and out, so you don’t have to worry about storage limits either.

Side view of Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

In my experience, I was able to get through a full day of work and play with the battery. I also appreciate having wireless charging available to keep the phone handy when I was doing work at a desk next to a wireless charging pad.

Android 13 is installed on the phone and it runs a fairly stock version of Android with some settings available for Kyocera-specific options. The review phone is running the April 1, 2023 Android security update. Looking at previous Kyocera DuraForce phones, quarterly security updates seem fairly standard with a single reasonable firmware upgrade to Android 14 expected on the DuraForce Pro 3.

God Kyocera DuraForce Pro 3 Available now on Verizon for $900 or $25 for 36 months. Kyocera also provides a two-year manufacturer’s warranty on the phone, so it’s built to last.


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