A suitably bright flashlight is a welcome extra built into the top of the phone, activated by a long press of a side button above the volume controls. These controls all curve nicely outwards too, suiting frosty fingers or damp digits.
Finger friendly, but not ideal for light touch texters
So did we do some dunking? Yes we did. And the Samsung Solid Extreme stood up to the task, handling total immersion for the specified 30 minutes and beyond. We didn’t feel inclined to test it to destruction, but it came thorough unscathed from an hour underwater.
Whether you’d want to take a phone swimming is a moot point, but the handset’s waterproofing does mean it’ll handle water-based sports and outdoors leisure activities far better than other mainstream mobiles currently on the market. A few bounces around the place seemed to inflict no lasting damage to its working capability either. However, it’s not built for sustained heavy punishment so that sort of stuff will scuff and damage the casing, so we’d advise against it just to impress.
The Samsung Solid Extreme’s watertight bodywork includes a sealable back panel, which is released by a screw lock. It’s reassuringly tricky to lever the back off to get at the battery pack or memory card. Samsung has buried the phone’s Micro SD memory card slot under the battery – something we’d normally gripe about, but it’s forgivable here. Covered by a plastic bung, there’s only one connector on the side, a regular Samsung multi-connector for charger, headset and USB.
A screw lock prevents seal compromises in those challenging environments
Ruggedness aside, the Samsung Solid Extreme is a modestly spec’d handset. Getting around the features is conventionally straightforward, the four-way navpad offering user-definable shortcuts to features, plus a quick access select button for the Wap browser. The grid and list-based menu system presented on the low-res display is regular lower-range Samsung. It’s zippy to navigate and effective enough.
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.
"So if you want to make a call in...
...environments of blowing rain, shock, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, vibration and extreme temperature..."
Finally - a phone that will work in my server room!
If your going to shell-out for a functionally cut down handset, surely it has to be rated to at least ip65?