I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating
There were two things uttered almost immediately when we opened the box for the newest phone review in the Sprint Ambassador program and saw the Kyocera Hydro Vibe Smartphone --
The first was "Man, I wish we had this when my phone went into the washing machine!"
And the second, "This would be the PERFECT first phone for my tween who drops everything" ;)
Great Smartphone Features for Tweens & Teens
The washing machine accident was actually pretty common -- tween boy gets first cell phone that month, tween boy gets food on shorts and needs them cleaned fast, tween boy tosses shorts directly into washer with cell phone in pocket. Bye bye new cell phone.
Honestly, the washer wasn't even full when he realized what happened but the phone was ruined immediately.
Which is why we love the idea of a waterproof phone!
For tweens who just aren't so careful and are trying to get use to having their first smartphone, it's such a great feature. My daughter is notorious for reaching for our phones when her hands are wet -- at the pool especially -- and like most kids, she tends to drop things quite a bit. Young kids just don't understand the concept of water damage and cracked screens, not to mention the cost to replace a phone if that happens.
What We Love about the Kyocera Hydro Vibe:
I know I already let you know this was a big feature but it's worth mentioning again.
It's a perfect option for taking photos on the beach! In fact, we purchased a waterproof camera this year after a previous beach vacation that had a not-so-great outcome for our video camera. Having the Kyocera Hydro Vibe would be wonderful for photos of the kids playing in the sand, body surfing -- all without the worry that your phone will be damaged.
The Kyocera Hydro Vibe can be fully submerged in up to one meter (about 3 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. (ps. the water in my washing machine is less than 3 feet)
It's a nice manageable size for smaller hands. You can see in the photo that I have the Kyocera Hydro Vibe between a Samsung Galaxy and an HTC One (M8) which we reviewed in May.
You can see that the Kyocera is a smaller unit but still has a great screen size and very clear display. It's a4.5 inch qHD impact-resistant touchscreen display -- did you catch that? Impact-resistant! Another plus in the 'should I trust my tween with an expensive piece of technology' debate ;) My 11 year old can hold it much easier and more comfortably that she can hold my Galaxy.
It also has a great battery that lasts quite a while without recharging. Another great feature for kids since they love to have their phones with them all day but aren't always able to charge them between school and afterschool activities.
So let's talk about the camera. When I first started taking photos with the phone, I commented to my kids that I didn't think it was going to be a great camera phone. I LOVED the camera on the HTC and really like my Galaxy for photos too (honestly, I use the camera feature on my phones more than texting!).
But then I pulled the photos up on my computer and Wow!
I was really surprised at the details and colors in the photos. You can see above where I put a photo from the Kyocera Hydro Vibe next to one from my Galaxy -- both photos are uneditted and I was standing in the same place in the yard when I snapped the pictures of our not-so-willing-to-model dog ;)
The colors in the Kyocera picture are really bright and you are able to see the detail in my cute (but very old) doggie's face so well.
Here's another photo from the night we saw fireworks -- again, uneditted.
Ultimately, the camera gets mixed reviews. One feature we don't care for is that when you take photos in some of the modes, the camera shows you the photo and then you have to press the camera button to get back to picture-taking mode. I'm not a fan of that. And I aslo didn't like that the photos don't look that great on the camera (even though they look really awesome once you upload them to the computer).
A Few More Benefits:
The Kyocera Hydro Vibe runs on the Spring Spark network, which means the phone's LTE service is enhanced and allows for higher quality video to be taken with the phone. That's a big plus if you are a Vine fan or love taking those in-the-moment videos of the kids (you know, when they're acting perfectly and you just have to catch it on camera!)
You can also use swipe texting on the phone too! I don't have this on my current phone but it's a really cool feature and very accurate (a ton more accurate than spell check on my phone!). And a cool feature for the kids to have too.
Overall, we think it would be a great first phone with a ton of features that both tweens and parents would love!