As humans, we have an innate curiosity to find out which is the best. Which car is the fastest? Who can eat the most hot dogs? Who can stuff the most number of snakes in their pants?
Here’s something else to pique your interest; What is the world’s toughest phone? According to the Guinness Book of World records, it’s the Sonim XP3300 feature phone which survived a drop from 25m (82ft).
That’s great, but who really wants a feature phone these days? Fortunately, Sonim now has a follow up; the XP7 Smartphone. It's available now on Bell and TELUS for $649.99 or $199 on contract. It may be coming to the US too.
It runs Android and is built with the same design principles as the XP3300. Instead of trying to be the sexiest phone around like the iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4, etc, the XP7 is designed to be as tough as possible.
Let’s check it out.
What about the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active?
Another ruggedized phone on the market right now is the GS5 Active. However, I’d argue that they’re not really competitors. If you’re looking to get the most smartphone for your money and want something rugged, than the Active wins on almost all fronts; the screen is bigger with more resolution and is much better looking. The camera is on a completely different level and the SoC offers more than double the performance along with double the RAM.
The Active is also a pretty tough phone.
That being said, the XP7 takes the durability to a whole new level. It’s a much denser phone and it doesn’t require a cover over its charging port.
As far as battery life goes the XP7’s is 2 or 3 times better than the Active.
Overall though, the GS5 Active has a much broader appeal and in many ways, is a more practical choice. However, the XP7 is a much more focused niche product. If you need its extreme durability and battery life then there is literally nothing else like it on the market.
What about the Cat B15?
On paper, the Cat 15 looks like a real XP7 competitor for half the cost. However, when you dig deeper the XP7 has some significant advantages.
First off, the Sonim supports LTE and the B15 doesn’t.
Secondly, while the XP7’s SoC performance can be described as “adequate”, the word I would use to describe the B15’s Mediatek MT6577 is “glacial”. To say it’s slow would be generous - It’s something you’d find in a sub $100 tablet rather than a $299 phone.
The B15 also has a pretty lousy camera and lousy battery life. You only get 4GB of storage with the B15 (1.54GB usable) vs 16GB (11.8GB usable).
The B15 ships with Android 4.1 while the XP7 comes with 4.4.2.
Both are pretty tough but the XP7 feels more durable. The padding is heavier and there's no removable battery. I also like how you don’t have to open any doors to charge the XP7. Still, the B15 feels tough enough and feels like it will handle anything that could happen to it in everyday usage.
While the B15 costs half what the XP7 does, it’s a pretty outdated phone and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
- 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB Storage (11.8GB usable)
- LTE Cat 3
- WiFi 802.11N, 2.4/5Ghz
- 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash
- 4800mAh battery
- 137 x 72.1 x 20.8mm