Kyocera DuraForce: A sturdy smartphone with long battery life from U.S. Cellular

By Paul Gorski

The Kyocera DuraForce smartphone is built like a brick and has great battery life when in battery saving mode. The one I tested came from U.S. Cellular, which has great voice and data coverage in the Rockford and Winnebago County region.

When I asked to test the DuraForce, quite a long time ago now, my supplier asked why. The DuraForce is not a high-end smartphone, it is not particularly fancy, and there are no special marketing programs for the phone. High-end, fancy glass and metal phones are all the rage, but I wanted to test a phone made for real life. A phone for hikers, campers, construction workers and other people needing a reliable phone that can handle the environments they live and work in. That phone is the DuraForce.

The DuraForce has a 4.5” HD display, so it is not a large phone, but it is somewhat heavy. That weight comes from the sturdy screen and a rugged rubber case. No need for a third-party case. Kyocera claims the DuraForce is “built tough for dust and water immersion” being certified for water immersion up to 30 minutes in six feet of water. Combine that with 16MB of memory and a decent 8MP camera and you have a solid smartphone.

The DuraForce is no speed demon, but the battery life, oh the battery life is good, if not great when in battery saving “eco” mode. In battery saving mode, but still able to receive calls and texts, I left the phone for two weeks after charging it fully; after two weeks it still had 75 percent battery life. Use the phone a bit, and the battery life does not match that performance, but always held out for a normal day of use, usually two or more. I do not sit on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram all day either though. I pretty much use my phones for calls and texts.

As chance may have it, I was at a restaurant while I was testing this phone and a customer next to me had the same phone. I asked him how he liked it, and he said he liked it a lot, but that he was on his second one. Asking why, he explained he lost his phone on the highway while driving and it was run over by a semi-trailer truck. The phone survived, it still worked, the screen intact, but the rubber seals covering some of the ports were torn off and he wanted to replace it to keep it water-tight. He had paid for extra insurance when he bought it, so he received the second phone free.

Run over by a truck and the screen did not break and the phone still worked: that’s DuraForce. Read more reviews and the specifications online at U.S. Cellular’s website:

Paul Gorski ( has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.

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