When I started shopping around for a new cell phone there were a couple of things that I wanted and a couple of things that I needed. There is a difference between the two. I prefer a full keyboard to make texting easier and I need something with a flexible plan. I text a lot more than I talk so getting a package that offers that is usually the deal breaker.

The Kyocera Hydro is advertised as being a waterproof phone; that is really pushing the definition of the word though. There are limits to the depth of the water and the exposure time so it is not waterproof but rather water-resistant. Drop it in the sink, no problem. Drop it in a swimming pool, you might be in trouble.

Prices on the Hydro have dropped and that is usually a sign that whatever technology it had to offer is almost outdated. It is a smartphone and most companies will make you pay extra for their plan if they charge five or ten dollars more for a smartphone activation but for people who simply want something that is a step up from a flip phone, this is a decent pick in the $70.00 range.

I've had a lot of Kyocera phones in the past and have had minor problems with them but nothing that would make me jump ship. It works when I need it and when I am sweating I know that it isn't going to cause a short or need to dry out for 24 hours. The Kyocera Lingo that I had would have software issues or just not work. Then there were times when I could make calls but both screens would be blank. Thankfully the Hydro hasn't shown any of those issues.

The Kyocera Rise is a step up from the Hydro because of the pop out keyboard; the prices are in the hundred dollar range for that and it has all of the same features as the Hydro but you are getting a nicer way to send text messages via the QWERTY keyboard. Prepaid phone companies like Cricket and Boost are pushing both models heavily but if you aren't sure if either is right for you, keep shopping until you find a phone that you absolutely love.

Photo: Kyocera