Kyocera Announces DuraForce Pro, An Action Camera In Your Phone


Kyocera has long been known for its rugged smartphones that offer consumers devices with waterproofing and resistance to a wide array of abuse. It's lineup includes beefy device like the 6-inch DuraForce XD, and smaller handsets like the 4.7-inch Kyocera DuraForce.

The DuraForce Pro is closer to the latter. It's a 5-inch phone that comes with an extra-bright 1080p display, Snapdragon 617 processor, and 2GB of RAM, making it similar to many other midrange phones that have launched this year and a nice jump over its predecessors. However, the big selling point of the Pro is that it's not just another rugged phone—it's also an action camera.

In addition to its 13-megapixel rear-facing sensor, the Pro boasts a Wide View HD camera capable of recording 1080p video with a 135-degree lens. Now, it's no replacement for devices like the GoPro Hero4 Black that can record at 4K, but it does do several things a dedicated action camera can't. The Pro has a 5-inch 1080p display to act as a view-finder for previews and editing, it has dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, Miracast, and LTE connectivity, giving you a range of ways to share and backup video. And it comes with GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors that can be useful for recording.

Like most Kyocera phones, the Pro is IPX5/IPX8 waterproof, allowing it to remain submerged in up to two meters of water for 30 minutes, and IP6X dustproof. The Pro has an Underwater mode that turns on automatically when the phone is submerged (or can be turned on manually). It allows all three of the phone's cameras (13-megapixel rear, 5-megapixel front, and action camera) to be used underwater by disabling the controls on the touchscreen and putting them on the phone's hard buttons. The viewfinder remains on the display.

Aside from its role as an action camera, the Pro also has the hardware to be a capable phone. It comes with Android Marshmallow, 32GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot that can handle cards up to 256GB. It has a large 3,240mAh battery and supports wireless charging as well as Quick Charge 2.0. It includes a fingerprint scanner on the power button, loud front-facing speakers, a programmable Push-to-Talk button, MIL-STD-810G, and a number of enterprise features like Android for Work.

John Chier, director of corporate communications at Kyocera, was keen to point out that while the company envisions a broader scope of users for the device, they're still very much focused on enterprise and business customers—including construction, transportation, public safety, and other workers in need of a rugged device that can survive the job site. That said, he acknowledged that the Pro has a broader appeal than past Kyocera devices and is likely to attract the attention of hikers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who could benefit from a single device that serves as both an action camera and a cell phone.

We don't have any pricing or availability information yet, but based off previous Kyocera devices, we can assume that it will support GSM carriers and be priced competitively to other rugged gadgets. We should have more details for you in the fall, so stay tuned.

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