View Count: 127 |  Publish Date: February 24, 2014
Finding a rugged, waterproof Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5
The good: The Galaxy S4 Active has a sporty design, takes strong daylight photos, and has most of Android 4.2s features. It also has a great speakerphone.
The bad: Aqua mode is fixed-focus, low-light shots are weak, and it isnt as durable as its name suggests. The 8-megapixel camera is lower-resolution than the original Galaxy S4s.
The cost: $450 to $640
The bottom line: Choose the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active for its sporty style, fast internals and underwater camera fun, but pass if youre an image snob or seek a truly rugged phone.Kyocera Hydro Elite (Verizon)
Cnet rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
The good: The inexpensive Hydro Elite is a compact, waterproof handset with wireless charging, a decent camera and expandable memory.
The bad: Sluggish internal speeds and mediocre call quality bog down performance.
The cost: Up to $350, depending on contract
The bottom line: Kyoceras Elite will quench Verizon users thirst for a stylish and reasonably priced water-resistant phone, but dont expect it to be a powerful speed demon.Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition
Cnet rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
The good: The Z Ultra squeezes a stunningly bright and colorful display, stock Android 4.4 KitKat and a muscular processor into an extremely thin package. With sealed ports, the water-resistant Z Ultra neednt fear liquid or exposure to dirt and dust.
The bad: Even considering the carrier-unsubsidized status, $649 is an exorbitant amount to pay. The overblown size makes it unwieldy to operate and its camera is disappointing.
The cost: $649
The bottom line: The Sony Z Ultra Google Play Editions insanely large size and stratospheric price make the Nexus 5 and Note 3 better options for pure Android power.Verykool RS90 Vortex
Cnet rating: 3 stars out of 5
The good: The Vortex comes unlocked, its affordable and its tough enough to stand up to dust and water.
The bad: Accessing the battery, SIM and SD card through the waterproof seal takes a lot of effort. The Android 4.0 operating system is outdated.
The cost: $280
The bottom line: At $280, the Vortex is a good deal for a rugged phone, but those looking for a high-end Android phone should look elsewhere.
The following Cnet staff members contributed to this report: associate editors Lynn La and Sarah Mitroff, and senior editors Jessica Dolcourt, Brian Bennett and Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit

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Time: 1:32  |  News Code: 383074  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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