Aside from rugged good looks, the Torque by Kyocera makes a fine midrange device for Sprint users on a budget. We consider it a plus that it can withstand such brutal conditions, even if we're more likely to drop it while getting out of the car instead of something more exciting, like making calls in the midst of a hurricane.
The Torque is one tough cookie – we definitely wound never put our iPhone 5 through any of the battle testing Kyocera's handset endured for this review, and the black ruggedized exterior is as handsome as it is practical.
Hands-down, our favorite feature is the quality and volume of the speakers, which were the loudest and clearest we've ever come across, although nearly stock Android was a nice plus. The Torque also takes surprisingly decent still images with great contrast and color saturation.
Although the rear-facing camera takes decent photos, the slow shutter speed makes this a half-hearted recommendation, especially for snapping pics of kids or animals. It's also not the best 1080p HD video shooter around.
While it was a pleasant surprise to come powered by a more recent version of Android, by this point Ice Cream Sandwich doesn't quite have the same level of freshness it did a year or two ago. Our only real hardware complaint was that darned Direct Connect button, which is just large enough to accidentally press exactly when you don't mean to.
Bear Gryllis adventures aside, the Kyocera Torque would be a good fit for anyone who works outdoors in noisy environments and tends to be rough on their phones. This would be an ideal work phone for a construction worker, and it costs nothing after a mail-in rebate and two-year agreement.
Kyocera may not be a name normally associated with quality Android handsets, but the manufacturer has found a nice niche with the Torque that's worthy of a look for Sprint customers.