I received a Kyocera Brigadier to facilitate this review as part of my Verizon Ambassadorship – @Kyocera #VZWBuzz

Kyocera Brigadier: Rugged Waterproof Smartphone @Kyocera #VZWBuzz - ad

I have been trying to find a smartphone that my husband actually likes. He held on to his first, an iPhone 4, long after most people had upgraded to a 5 and then 6. I was only able to pry it out of his hands when I told him about the new Kyocera Brigadier.

Of course it helped that the brand chose Bear Grylls to be their spokesperson and my husband is a fan of his outlandish outdoor adventure show. I was hoping that the durability and ruggedness of the Brigadier combined with the 4G speed would sell him on the upgrade. Plus this is the only  phone tough enough for my husband’s active life.

About the Kyocera Brigadier

Kyocera is a leader in the tough-phone field and they have 40+ waterproof phones worldwide. The Brigadier was launched a few months ago in those Bear Grylls’ commercials which show him putting the Brigadier to the test. He drives over it, drops it into the sea, and loses it while rock-climbing to prove it’s “tough all over.”

When the phone arrived I’ll admit I was in love. The design is simple and straightforward and it feels great in the hand. I loved setting it up and several times I wished that I hadn’t promised it to him. I set the phone up as simply as possible giving him 1-touch shortcuts to his favorite websites and most used phone numbers. I also added the cool features I thought he’d love and then I gave him the phone and waited to see what happened.

Kyocera Brigadier: Sapphire Shield

The Brigadier gets some of its toughness from its Sapphire Shield screen. It’s so tough the only thing that can scratch it is a diamond. Anything else should buff out with a cleaning cloth. Kyocera is the only manufacturer who offers the Sapphire Shield. It’s also waterproof, dustproof, and darn near unbreakable.

Kyocera Brigadier Dirt Test  - Kyocera Brigadier: Rugged Waterproof Smartphone @Kyocera #VZWBuzz

Kyocera Brigadier: Smart Sonic Receiver Allows You to Hear in Noisy Environments

One of the features I truly appreciate is the Smart Sonic Receiver technology which turns the entire screen into a speaker. It’s perfectly clear and it works even when he’s wearing a knit cap. For someone with hearing loss due to too many years on the fire engine, this is priceless. It’s a proprietary technology and only available from Kyocera.

For users without a hearing loss, but working in noisy environments, it can be a huge plus. Then they can turn the volume down and get better sound in normal environments by moving the volume to the mid-range for the clearest sound.

Kyocera Brigadier: Gloves Are No Problem

The Brigadier also recognizes the difference between your gloved fingers and bare hands. When you’re wearing gloves, it changes to a Dura Grid layout so that icons are larger and easier to use. You can customize the menu with your favorite apps and navigate your phone without taking off your gloves.

Kyocera Glove Test - Kyocera Brigadier: Rugged Waterproof Smartphone @Kyocera #VZWBuzz

Who’s the Right User for a Kyocera Brigadier?

  • 20-30 year olds who enjoy road trips, adventures, and all-night fun. The durable screen can take the bumps.
  • Active Independents & Party Hosts – poolside your phone is protected!
  • Multi-tasking parents – from bath time to the soccer field – you won’t think twice about handing your phone to the kids because it’s so durable.
  • Hard-of-hearing seniors who need a phone that’s easy to use and durable (like my husband).

Kyocera Brigadier: Tough Enough To Take It

This phone is built with a 4.5” screen with 1280×70 resolution, long battery life (365 hours of standby time and 20 talk time), plenty of storage space, Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) operating system, Front/Rear-facing Camera (8MP/2MP), ultra-loud speaker, and Wireless charging capability.

Kyocera Brigadier Drop Test

I knew it was only a matter of time until this happened so I was ready (though not ready enough to turn my phone the right direction – sorry)


The phone is rugged, but don’t challenge the phone. Purposely damaging it can null your warranty and honestly, if you work at it long enough, you can break anything. There are plenty of videos that prove the dependability of the phone on YouTube and there are the Bear Grylls’ Kyocera Brigadier videos as well.

In our own accidental tests (and a few on purpose)  it’s performed beautifully – not a scratch on it. You don’t need a case, but gel cases are available if black isn’t your color because the Brigadier is only available in black.

Kyocera Brigadier Water Test - Kyocera Brigadier: Rugged Waterproof Smartphone @Kyocera #VZWBuzz

Kyocera Brigadier: Does he Love It?

Several weeks later my husband handed the phone to me in a huff of exasperation and said, “Here. I can’t figure this stupid phone out.” Really? It turns out that all those shortcuts which should have made the phone easier for him actually confused him so I wiped them all out and gave him a 1 screen phone with just the basics and now he likes it. I’m beginning to think there isn’t a smartphone that’s right for him because he wants to go back to pagers. Yes pagers. I guess 30 years of wearing one for work has made it harder for him to accept change. But change he must and I remind him the amount of time he spends avoiding technology could be used to learn it and move forward.

This phone really is perfect for him and someday he’ll see that.

Do you have someone in your family as afraid of technology as my husband?