When given the chance to test a smartphone that claims to be built for abuse, I jumped at the opportunity.
I've seen my sleek new smartphone of the moment being scuffed up from spending time in my purse. I've dropped phones in the sink, spilled liquids on them and have become a pro at trying to resuscitate them -- whether it's with my hairdryer or by placing them in a jar of dry rice.
While many smartphones on the market are about looks and functionality, the maker of the Android-based Kyocera Brigadier is touting its durability. It's an armored tank among other more attractive, aesthetically pleasing phones.
Given my track record of breaking smartphones, I felt pretty confident that if there was ever a person who could inflict some damage on the Brigadier, it would surely be me.
The first torture test I put it through was the scratch test.
The 4.5-inch touch screen is built with Kyocera's Sapphire Shield display, which the company said is second only to diamonds in mineral hardness and is virtually scratch proof. I took a pocket knife to the screen, but wasn't able to inflict any noticeable damage.
The Brigadier can stay in up to 6 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to Kyocera. I dropped it in a bucket of water and walked away for half an hour. When I returned, the phone still worked.
I placed it in the water and fiddled with a few buttons. It appeared the phone was still operational, even when immersed. Kyocera said the phone is not designed to operate in water and recommends that it be dried as quickly as possible when wet.
The Drop Test
Adventurist Bear Grylls tested the Brigadier outdoors, but could it survive abuse in a Manhattan office building? I dropped it from various places and, for good measure, even threw it against the wall. It would not break.
Can It Still Make Calls?
After a series of torture tests, I have decided the Brigadier is like the Terminator of smartphones. It looks durable and virtually indestructible. But what's a smartphone if you can't use it? I put it through one final test to see if it could still make calls.
The Brigadier is heavy -- weighing in at 6.6 ounces. It runs on Android 4.4 KitKat -- however it remained unclear what the future holds for operating system updates.