The ruggedized smartphone market is small, but not so small that it's ignored. Admirable entries like the Samsung Rugby Smart and the Casio Commando might not have all the bells and whistles of their flagship contemporaries, but they take a licking and keep on ticking. Phone retailer Wirefly decided to put Sprint's Kyocera Torque (Bear Grylls approved!) through its paces via some decidedly extreme tests: a drop from two stories, hibernation in a block of ice, and most dramatically, a trip through a 30-minute washing machine cycle.

The Kyocera Torque made it through all three, proving its worth for those who value durability over all else. The drop test gave it some problems: after being thrown 15 feet onto concrete, the Torque's body was noticeably warped, and the volume buttons ceased to function. (The phone is only rated for a 4-foot drop.) But it still works and kept its data intact. The washing machine test is perhaps the most impressive, and definitely the most fun to watch.

Smartphones are getting tougher all around. Motorola's Kevlar-equipped RAZR line is known to take a beating, CNET performed a similar temperature test on the Galaxy S III (which survived), and Gorilla Glass and upcoming synthetic sapphire are making screens stronger than ever. But for those who need phones that can double as a tiny piece of body armor, it looks like the Torque is a pretty good option. You can watch the full 30-minute washing machine cycle below.

If you're interested, the Torque has a 4-inch WVGA screen, A Snapdragon S4 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, 4G LTE, 4GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot, and Android 4.0. It's IP67/Military Standard 810G rated for resistance to dust, shock, temperature and humidity extremes, and one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. At Sprint it's $99 on-contract, but in deference to their work on these videos, we'll mention that Wirefly has it for $29.99.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Andrew

    Might get one of these for my girlfriend, she just broke her second Galaxy S2 in 4 months.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      Does she really need to use a power drill on it?

    • Simon Belmont

      Or, you know, she could get a case. Better yet, learn not to break the phones and treat them like the expensive miniature computers that they are. :(

      Accidents do happen, though. Perhaps it was just a case of her phone being in the wrong place at the wrong time....twice. ;)

      • Andrew

        The one she broke the other day had a case on it, and it only fell about 2 feet. Cases by no means guarantee a device will survive. She is careful with them, just not careful enough.

      • Paul Keeling

        or manufactures could recognize that people take cell hones EVERYWHERE and that it is highly likely that the phone will be subjected to the same environments as it's owner... but then the current fashion is to make people feel bad if the phone they have is over a month old anyway so who cares if a $600 device only lasts three months...

        • Paul Keeling

          ps, Xperia ZR....

  • http://www.facebook.com/nschiwy Nick Schiwy

    Anyone know of a new (not G'zOne Commando) rugged phone like this that will be coming to Verizon? My brother has a Commando and is looking to upgrade soon. He needs to get something like this again so he can continue to juggle it and accidentally throw it across the room like he does lol The New CAT or Rugged sammy phones look good but I'm not sure if they'll be coming to the states or big red.

    • spunker88

      The Gzone Commando 811, the successor to the original just went through FCC certification about a week ago with a Verizon logo. Imagine it will be out within the next month or so.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nschiwy Nick Schiwy

        Good news, hopefully it won't be as clunky as the last one. Apparently it was full of bloat and slow, but then it was a gingerbread device...

  • onpoint G

    Will it survive a drive by that is the real question

  • Alvin Brinson

    Quite impressive.

    Can it be used to hammer nails?

    Final question: WILL IT BLEND?

    • http://www.facebook.com/PradeepVizz Pradeep Viswanathan R

      lol yeah, will it blend ! it will hopefully :P

  • Paul Keeling

    now do the same tests with the xperia active, xperia go and the xperia zr...