San Diego — Kyocera is launching the latest smartphone in its Hydro series of waterproof smartphones through Sprint and Sprint’s Virgin Mobile prepaid brand.
The Hydro Vibe joins four other Hydro phones marketed by Kyocera in the U.S. They are the Hydro, Hydro XTRM, Hydro Elite and Hydro Edge.
The new model will be the first Hydro-series phone sold by Virgin and the first LTE-equipped Hydro sold by Sprint. In the Virgin lineup, it will join just one other waterproof phone, the ZTE-made Reef, which Virgin launched last year.
The Vibe, like the ZTE Reef, withstands immersion in up to 3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
Sprint will offer the Hydro Vibe starting May 9. On a Sprint Easy Pay plan, qualified buyers can purchase an unsubsidized Hydro Vibe for $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $9.59. The phone with subsidy and two-year service agreement is $29 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
Virgin Mobile USA will offer the Android device without contract beginning May 27 at $149.
The Vibe features Sprint Spark LTE technology, which delivers LTE speeds over three bands (800MHz in the old Nextel band, 1900MHz, and 2.5GHz) and 3G cellular and data over the 1900MHz band and, for domestic roaming, over the non-Nextel 800MHz band.
Both the original Hydro and Hydro Edge are 3G devices, and the Hydro XTRM and Hydro Elite are 4G LTE devices sold for other carriers’ networks.
Sprint continues to offer the Kyocera Hydro Edge, and compared with it, the Vibe adds LTE, 2,000 mAh battery vs. Edge’s 1,600 mAh battery, a 4.5-inch qHD display vs. Edge’s 4-inch display, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera vs. Edge’s 5-megapixel camera, and Android 4.3 OS vs. Edge’s Android 4.1. Vibe also adds a 1.2GHz quad-core process vs. Edge’s 1GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM instead of 1GB RAM, and 8GB storage vs. 4GB.
Both phones feature Smart Sonic audio technology, which consists of a ceramic actuator that replaces the phone’s speaker so users hear conversations more clearly in noisy environments.
Other Vibe features include NFC file sharing and wireless PMA charging.