Modern smartphones are pretty sweet. They've grown up from their glorified PDA roots to become compelling computing devices that can be taken anywhere. At the same time, however, most models are comically ill-equipped to deal with some of the rigors of everyday use. They're fragile enough that most folks resort to protective cases of some kind, and even then, you don't want to get one wet. Casio's line of ruggedized G'zOne smartphones is much more resilient, and the latest one has me smitten.
The Verge has the goods on the G'zOne Type-L, which wraps contemporary hardware in a much beefier body than typical smartphones. This monster is 62% heavier than the iPhone 5 and just over twice as thick. The case can withstand being sprayed with a pressure washer for three minutes, though, and the whole thing can be dunked under several feet of water for up to half an hour without any ill effects. The Type-L is dust-proof, too, and it should withstand shock better than the average handset.
Under the tank-like exterior sits a Snapdragon-based dually running at 1.5GHz. The 4" display uses an IPS panel, but there's no word on the resolution. The rear-facing camera takes 8MP shots, though, and there's 4G LTE connectivity onboard. Casio also integrates a thermometer and barometer that feed into weather forecasting software. Android appears to be Casio's OS of choice, and the firm is promising over 10 hours of talk time from the unit's 1,800-mAh battery. A version of the Type-L is reportedly destined for Verizon, although there's no timetable for its release.
After having to duck out of the rain several times this past weekend just to use my smartphone, I can definitely see the appeal of ruggedized designs. I might even be willing to live with the Type-L's larger, heavier body if it meant I could use the thing regardless of the weather. It will be interesting to see how much the Type-L costs when it arrives stateside—and whether consumers are interested. I suspect Casio will have more luck in the rainy Pacific Northwest than it will in sunnier locales.