Washing Dishes with Dark Android: The Kyocera DIGNO rafre
Hell of a title, huh? Well, perhaps for the first time (that has been officially announced, anyway) you can now clean your Dark Android device with soap! That’s if you buy Japanese electronics giant Kyocera’s new phone; The DIGNO rafre (don’t ask me how to pronounce that).
Yes, this phone is being marketed as able to get washing with soap. Having an IPX5/8 equivalent rating, this is actually a very, very tough little phone. That rating means its waterproof, dustproof, seriously shock resistant, and now “soap proof”.
I’ve had the Kyocera Hydro Vibe in the past, which was a ridiculously inexpensive phone (I think paid $50 for it off plan), and the DIGNO rafre will likely be in the same price range (Retail $200 USD, on the shelf much cheaper however). The Hydro Vibe was my first (and only) waterproof phone that I’ve owned, and I’ll admit that–again, especially for the price range–it delivers a pretty wild experience. While granted the touchscreen becomes useless once a mobile device is underwater, the Hydro Vibe had a dedicated physical button for taking photos so that you can take underwater pictures (which was all the rage for a while), and it appears the DIGNO rafre can do the same. Also, the overall comfort that the smartphone you are carrying around and often rely upon is practically indestructible even if you get pushed into a pool or some other affair occurs…well, that’s a special peace of mind to enjoy that you don’t think about until you actually own a waterproof phone.
Not to say that I’m whole-heartedly recommending the DIGNO rafre (though my Kyocera Hydro Vibe did serve me well for over a year). One of the major issues with lesser-brand devices (not to say that Kyocera is lesser as a company, they’re actually a tech giant in Japan that has an impressive story and an impressive CEO, just in smartphone land they’re certainly not Samsung) is that they don’t often get a lot of software upgrade support, nor do they get a lot of third-party ROM support from the likes of CyanogenMod and others. This makes them troublesome if you’re trying to create a Dark Android-styled device. It’s also concerning that your phone will likely not get updated to the latest versions of Android, and so by default you’re buying a device that won’t be able to take advantage of the latest security improvements for the platform (and that is a serious concern). But if you’re just wanting a fun phone with fair specs that you can run Signal or Telegram on and do some other unique Android app matters on, the Kyocera DIGNO rafre could be the cheap, fun, waterproof phone for you. Take a look at the specs:
Not bad. Not terribly great, but not bad. At least it has Android 5.1 on it (even though the better devices today are upgrading to Android 6.0.1), but don’t ever expect an upgrade from that version. Also, the MicroSD card slot is a necessary feature for any smartphone, in my opinion (unless you really want the Nexus 6P), and I’m not 100% certain but it may also have a removable battery which is a welcome–and very rare, these days–feature that it would share with its predecessor, the Kyocera Hydro Vibe. Not that you’re going to be able to buy a ZeroLemon expanded battery for the DIGNO rafre since, again, Kyocera is a lesser brand in the smartphone space, but being able to switch batteries or even just be sure your device is powered down is definitely a feature some find useful.
Again, not the best phone for the Dark Android Project, but if you are budget conscious, you could do a lot worse. Yes, the whole “you can wash this with soap!” gimmick is just that, a gimmick (and there’s no proof that other waterproof phones aren’t “soapproof” already, anyway, they just don’t bother to mention it). But honestly, that’s just the kind of wacky Japanese marketing that I like to see. It’s over the top. It’s ridiculous. But dammit, it’s funny, eye-catching, and you likely would have never thought of it. And seriously, it might even appeal to germaphobes.
On a last serious note, though, I love waterproof devices (it’s my only grip with my beloved ASUS Zenfone 2). I can’t wait for technologies like Apple’s “Force Touch” on their Macbook’s (including future Force Touch keyboards) and Intel’s fanless processors to allow for full-on waterpoof laptops. You may ask why someone would want waterproof devices, but it’s really something that’s difficult to understand until you have one, then suddenly it all becomes clear. From going tubing down the river with a beautiful woman and comfortably taking the pictures to prove it, to doing live episodes of my tech podcast Sovryn Tech while taking a shower…all kinds of wild opportunities and ideas come to mind when you enter the “realm of waterproof electronics”.
So while the Kyocera DIGNO rafre may not be as great a choice as the 2015 Moto G (a real Dark Android device), it’s certainly doesn’t appear to be a terrible one, either. As long as it gets to markets outside of Japan…and if it does…they really should just call it the “Kyocera Soap”.