Samsung B2700 Bound rugged mobile phone
In keeping with the rugged theme, the memory card slots in snugly under the battery, rather than into an insecure hot-swap slot. Additional music can be obtained from the RDS-capable FM radio and its dozens of presets - we saved over 30 stations and there was still room for more.
The headphones are a disappointment, not just for their sound quality, which is a little shrill and distinctly lacking in bass, but also the fact that they don't fit as snugly as headphones which are designed specifically for active wear – the kind you'd expect to come with a rugged handset. There's also no 3.5mm plug or even an adaptor to add your own, though you could use wireless ones thanks to the A2DP stereo Bluetooth connection.
Multiple colours to match your Berghaus
The NetFront web browser is on the basic side but manages to be briskly efficient, helped greatly by the phone's 3G connection, though it's without that extra burst of HSDPA speed. Most pages displayed in one-column vertical mode without any problems and renewed quickly, though it sometimes had trouble rendering a few sites, declaring them to be "too large", and we had occasional timeout issues when trying to stream videos from Youtube.
Perhaps surprisingly for a handset so clearly aimed at the great outdoors, there's no GPS on the B2700, though we were able to download Google Maps to find our whereabouts using basestation triangulation, which won't tell you much if you're in the middle of nowhere.
The compass was impressively hassle-free, however. You need to jiggle the handset around to calibrate it, but then it found North painlessly every time. We wouldn't expect the pedometer on a phone to be the height of accuracy and it certainly didn't compare with our dedicated device, but its motion-activated sensor offered a ballpark figure that at least gives you a rough idea of how far you've walked.
Battery-wise, we were alarmed to see the counter drop to near bottom after a little over a day of use. However, it kept on keeping on for another couple of days of moderate use before throwing in the towel – which should be enough to see you comfortably through a long weekend in the wilds.
There are tougher phones out there, such as the buildingsite-centric JCB ToughPhone, but the B2700 Bound offers a fair level of protection for work and play while still providing modern comforts like 3G connectivity, a decent browser, media player and a compass, making it an ideal companion for outward bound trips or in less than pristine work conditions. ®
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