Samsung GT-B2100 Solid Extreme rugged phone
More muscle than multimedia mobile
Review Following on from the original Solid SGH-M110 and the recent B2700 Bound, the GT-B2100 Solid Extreme is the latest in a line of Samsung handsets that show themselves as well ’ard. While designed for harsh outdoor conditions, the Solid Extreme nevertheless touts features we typically expect to find on phones these days, namely a music player, FM radio and a camera.
Tough call: Samsung's GT-B2100 Solid Extreme
However, this model lacks the higher-speed 3G multimedia capabilities of the Bound and misses out on its compass, altimeter and pedometer gimmickry. Its camera is also an entry-level 1.3Mp shooter, so you won’t be getting scintillating shots of the great outdoors either.
Where the Solid Extreme does flex its biceps is in its sheer ruggedness – its raison d’être. Complying with the IEC IP57 standard, the Solid Extreme can take more than the bit of the water-splashing that’s covered by its stablemates’ IP54 accreditation. The IP57 ‘ingress protection’ standard means the Solid Extreme is waterproof, rather than just ‘water-resistant’.
The GT-B2100 can be submerged to a depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes without becoming a damp squib – a level of sealing that also delivers dust- and sand-resistance too. A further beefing up of this Solid’s tough-guy image is reflected in its compliance with US military standard MIL-STD-810F. So if you want to make a call in environments of blowing rain, shock, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, vibration and extreme temperature the phone will be fine even if you’re not, assuming a decent signal, of course.
As with most ruggedised handsets, its not built for looks and slinkiness. Measuring up at 113x49x17.1mm and weighing 103g, it’s reasonably compact for the protection it offers. The 1.8in 128x160 screen is small and rather basic. While OK for the essentials – and unlikely to be a huge issue when using it up a mountain or on a canoe – the low-resolution array isn’t that great for day-to-day use.
A single covered socket handles sync and sound services
The Samsung Solid Extreme feels good to handle, its rubber-feel bodywork grippy enough to give firm purchase for water-soaked or freezing cold hands. The numberpad isn’t absolutely glove-friendly – it’s passable with light gloves, but not that useful with thick snowboarding ones. The central navigation navpad stands just about proud enough from the fascia to allow smooth thumb manoeuvring, although, while perfectly serviceable, the rubber-feel action of the sealed numberpad will be a touch stodgy for fast texters.
Not idiot proof
point being, i had the 2700 version of this, and still managed to brick it within 3 months, only £20 basic phone for me from now on
Great phone lacking ONE feature
Agree with two others above - a phone this rugged NEEDS GPS, especially if that could be integrated into the one predefined SOS message. Just like a DSC VHF radio that is used for marine use to call the Coast Guard and gives a fix to them. And honestly, for many coastal sailors, such a phone would actually be more useful, as so few own pocket VHF radios they can keep with them in an emergency (the radio belowdecks isn't that useful if you fall overboard!).
I was thinking about buying one as I read the article, especially as they are less than £90. But I think I will wait for the GPS version...it has to come. But nice attempt...
N.B. - the GPS version has to have the function to activate the GPS on a periodic basis, to save battery. Perhaps about one fix every 20 minutes, that is then stored in the phone, and then have the GPS turn off. That is what EPRIBs (emergency locator beacons) with GPS do...
Waterproof & Numb hands
Easy to make a phone waterproof. Go a marine chandlers and you can buy a sealable PVC envelope. Better still you can still hear through it. Modern phone with flip-open style or slider won't work too well with this though. This phone would work ok with the PVC envelope as it is a simple keypad job. Might even survive a moderate dive in the PVC sleeve.
If you can't work this in anything other than light gloves then it won't work well for you when you hands are truly numb, as in winter watersports ! Pay attention to the number you are dialling ! Bet you get it wrong first time due to clumsiness. However I commend the strong case and design - more of these designs required. I hope it works in the environment intended.
GPS on this would be good, especially as it is most likely to be used by hillwalkers and climbers. Position fix would be good. 'Oh shit accident, location blah blah, please help'.
If the phone survives a severe impact, where you are really badly hurt, but it enables you to call for help, then it has done it's job.