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Long-term Review: Kyocera Brigadier – The Best Android Phone of the Year?

Kyocera went BEAST MODE in building the Brigadier, and they’re only the second company to use Sapphire Crystal for their display. After using the Brigadier for a couple months, let’s chat about the experience of using this rugged little brick…

Shop the Kyocera Brigadier on Amazon.

Real Person Review: Tony Leaves His Blackberry for a Kyocera Brigadier

kyocera brigadier review somegadgetguy front screen[Tony is a retired firefighter, and was kind enough to share his early impressions of his first Android phone, a Kyocera Brigadier on Verizon Wireless.]

How Do You Like the Build Quality?

It’s big and clunky. It reminds me of old school BlackBerry phones. I had a BB 8700 that could take a hit. My more recent Torch, not as much. The Brigadier feels more noticeably more durable. For someone like me who occasionally tests the ballistic quality of hardware, this is the perfect device for me.

From a regular perspective. The sound is good, the picture is good.  I’ve watched video on the (720p) screen. I don’t play games, so I don’t know if it’ll be good for that.

Call quality is good. I had no idea what the term “tissue conduction” meant, but the ear piece is really loud and it’s easy to hear callers.

[The Brigadier screen is actually a large bone conduction surface allowing users to hear calls in loud environments and with ear plugs.]

I’m still unsure about battery life. It’s a little too early to tell if it’ll compare to my BB. My only complaint there is that it does have a built-in internal battery. I liked being able to replace the battery on my Torch. I would carry extras when I knew I was going to be away from a power source. I did buy a portable external battery for the Kyocera, so we’ll see if that is equally practical.

And the Sapphire Screen?

There is a video of a person trying to scratch the screen with a penknife to no avail. I don’t intend to do that on purpose.

In switching to the Brigadier, you also swapped carriers, how has that transition been?

I switched from ATT to Verizon. Verizon has great coverage but I lack 4G LTE coverage inside our condo. It literally works 10’ outside my door. Go figure. What I like about Verizon other than its coverage is that I can turn off that annoying message that tells people to wait for the tone. Like anyone whose been alive during the last 40 years wouldn’t know that. I hate wasting my time and others and all that message did was chew up air time.

Are there Android replacements for your favorite BB features?

kyocera brigadier review somegadgetguy back plateOne thing I miss from my BB is the autotext feature. I liked the ability to type in an acronym and have it expand to the whole word. I didn’t know that on Android those features aren’t in the “OS” but in the keyboard app. I didn’t realize I had more than one keyboard until yesterday. I just started playing with Google Keyboard which can do something similar for shortcut text, but it’s not the same as the BB.

My wife also replaced her BB with a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. It feels like it would snap in a strong wind, but it’s a bit more portable by comparison. We are now officially a BB free household. Too bad, they’ve had some good products over the years but seem to have missed the boat on the smartphone market.

After test driving a Nokia, I knew I was going to get an Android. I use a lot of Google services for contacts, mail, and calendar. I already use Google Drive. I bought extra capacity. It works great, and it’s saved us a lot of grief for syncing info.

Thank you Tony for taking the time to share your experiences! 

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