Sonim have been making extremely rugged phones for several years, but most of these have been feature phones. But the new Sonim XP7 is a fully-featured Android smartphone which can obviously do anything that other smartphones can do, but in much more extreme conditions.
You can tell at first glance that the Sonim XP7 is very rugged, enclosed in a sizable protective housing, it actually looks rather good in a chunky sort of way. The rugged design combined with the monster 4800 mAh battery means that the XP7 comes in at a very hefty 290 grams which is about the weight of a 7" tablet and which we suspect is the heaviest mobile phone since 1998's Nokia 9000 Communicator. Something else that is a bit of a throwback is the external antenna, but the XP7 is likely to spend a lot of time a long way away from mobile base stations.
The Sonim XP7 is designed to withstand a 2 metre drop onto concrete from any angle, it can be submersed in up to 2 metres of water for 30 minutes and is IP68/IP69 certified, it can operate in temperatures from -20C to 55C and the loudspeaker puts out up to 103 decibels which a quick Google search indicates is about the same as a jet flying over at 100 feet. It is chemical and puncture resistant, and the enormous battery gives up to 41 days standby time and 40 hours talktime.
It is easy to forget that this is an Android smartphone rather than a tank. It comes with a 4" 480 x 800 pixel display, comes with an 8 megapixel primary camera capable of 1080p @ 30fps video capture plus a secondary 1 megapixel one on the front, inside is a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU with 1GB of RAM plus 16GB of non-expandable storage. The Sonim XP7 supports most major LTE bands, and it also comes with NFC support and an FM radio. It support PTT (push-to-talk) as well, which can be useful for work sites and other similar environments.
Sonim XP7 This is an Android 4.4.2 device and it comes with all the usual Android features such as GPS and GLONASS, WiFi and access to a wide range of applications that you can combine in interesting ways such as underwater video calling, and because you can use the XP7 while wearing gloves then you can do these things when it is cold too.
Sonim are funding the XP7 through an Indiegogo campaign (we saw the Jolla Tablet doing that last week too) and initial supporters can get the XP7 plus some free accessories for $579. Although the initial launch does seem to be targeting the US, you can get the XP7 sent to other regions too. Sonim offer a three year comprehensive warranty to go with the XP7.
If you want one of these then you will probably already know it, and although it isn't a cheap device it will certainly outlast standard consumer products in harsh environments and should pay for itself quite quickly. You can pre-order the Sonim XP7 on Indiegogo until January with devices scheduled to ship in March 2015 if there are enough supporters (which is looking quite likely).
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
LTE Bands 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 1 / 8 / 12 / 17
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+ + LTE + WiFi
4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
8 megapixels (main)
1 megapixel (sub)
137 x 72 x 20.8mm / 290 grams
1.2 GHz quad-core
Yes (plus GLONASS)
40 hours talk / 41 days standby
(4800 mAh cell)