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Monday, January 28, 2013

Sonim XP3400 Armor reviewed

When you first open the box that holds the Sonim XP3400 Armor phone, you’re greeted with the phrase: “Sonim: Built for Life.”  

I’ll admit, when I first glanced at that phrase, I was skeptical and passed it off as just another exaggerated marketing tactic. And like most corporate slogans or mottos, I just glossed over it and didn’t give it much thought.

However, after a few weeks of handling the Sonim XP3400 on the nTelos Wireless network, I can see that a lot of research and effort have been put into making a phone that will last a long time. 

I’ve been reviewing phones now for a few years, and while I’m always amazed at how far phones have advanced technologically in the past decade or so, I’m also somewhat disappointed in the lack of variety in most of today’s mobile phones. After using the Sonim XP3400 Armor phone, however, that’s no longer the case.

This is not your average mobile phone. This thing is tough. The first thing you’ll notice is that the phone looks nothing like today’s mobile phones. It’s thick, heavy and has a tough outer shell that serves to protect the electronics inside. These external elements give the phone a very classic look, akin to phones of the early 2000s. 

On the back of the phone are two screws that hold part of the hard plastic and rubber battery case to the phone, which gives you a sense of just how rugged this phone is.

How rugged is it?

Well, you can try throwing just about anything at it and it won’t skip a beat. Since this was a loaner phone, I was a little hesitant to throw it in the Ohio River or run it over with my truck, but something tells me that it probably would not have hurt it. 

The phone is rated to withstand water continuously or for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 2 meters, or about 6 feet. 

The list of elements the Sonim XP3400 can resist is impressive: dust, water, shock, falls, vibrations, extreme temperatures, pressure and crushing, punctures and petroleum oil, just to name a few. 

Because of its unique qualities, the Sonim phone is probably not for everyone. It’s obvious the manufacturer was targeting the tough crowd with this phone. The rugged, durable qualities of the Sonim are best suited for the blue-collar crowd, such as construction workers, laborers or anyone who does a lot of work outdoors or around lots of water.

And while the phone’s processing power can’t really compare to an iPhone or Galaxy S III, it does come with enough basic features to make this serve as your only phone. One of the most impressive features is its battery life, which is rated at 24 hours of talk time or 8,000 hours of standby time. I went about two weeks without having to charge the phone, which was a nice change of pace considering I have to charge my iPhone almost every day.

The phone’s audio quality was clear and loud over the nTelos Wireless network. And the volume of the phone’s built-in speaker was impressive. 

For capturing quick snapshots, the Sonim also comes with a 2 megapixel camera and LED flash. The camera was a little slow, but I was pleased with the sample photos I shot. There’s also a camcorder mode as well. And up to 8 GB of photos and videos can be stored on a microSD card in the phone.

Other features of the Sonim XP3400 include an FM radio, built-in GPS, Internet access, a very loud built-in speaker, accessible keypad, a 240 X 320 display, and what may be the most impressive feature of all: a three-year comprehensive warranty. Any company that would stand by its product with a three-year warranty must feel pretty confident about that product. And as a consumer, that makes me feel pretty good.