Sonim XP3300 Force rugged mobile phone
Tougher than a Newcastle nightclub bouncer
River deep, mountain high
All this adds up to the perfect phone if you find yourself regularly stuck in the back of beyond or on the side of a mountain worrying about being found frozen stiff next spring. It’s equally handy for those who work knee deep in muck and bullets without convenient access to a power point.
Battery removal needs a screwdriver
As phones go, at 185g and 126 x 60 x 25mm the XP is a bit of a lump but the thickness makes for a very secure grip and allows plenty of room for the two rubber flaps that seal the 3.5mm USB/charger and audio jacks. The battery cover is actually screwed in place so you’ll need a flat-head screwdriver to remove it but thankfully Sonim supplies a tool with a keying attachment along with a 3.5mm-to-micro USB adapter and belt clip.
Visually, the keypad and controls look a little cheap but that’s because aesthetics have been sacrificed in the name of easy use with gloves on. All the controls – including the navigation pad – have extremely positive actions and I even managed to use them while wearing ski gloves. The two large side keys – one for the camera and one to open the Java applications menu – are especially easy to use.
The XP comes with a decent 2Mp camera and a very bright LED flash that doubles up as an emergency torch when you give a long press of the camera shutter key. Though the camera has a handy multi-shoot feature there’s no option to shoot video.
Screen visuals are practical rather than eye candy
In order to hear, and be heard, on noisy building sites or in Force 9 gales, you get a 23mm speaker, capable of chucking out 100dB, and active noise cancellation. To test audio quality I made a few calls from the apron of an airport and can confirm that, telephonically, the XP3300 is very impressive – conversation was easily manageable even against the background roar of four Rolls-Royce Trent turbofans.