Monday, January 7, 2013

Gadget Review - Sonim XP3400 Armor Cell Phone

A few weeks ago, the day after Christmas to be precise, I stopped by my local wireless provider's store to look at phones and ask a few questions. I had been thinking of getting a new phone for a few months, because the battery of my old phone wasn't holding charge like I'd like. I actually bought a replacement battery, hoping it would solve the problem, but it didn't seem to help very much. I don't like replacing items when they are still working, but since I had owned the phone for three years I didn't feel too bad about the idea of replacing it.

The phone I wanted to look at was the Sonim XP3400 Armor. I originally heard about it from the wireless provider's web site. Since this phone was one of only two non-smart phones they had listed, I started doing some research and decided that it might be a good fit for me. While at the store I had a chance to hold the phone in my hand, and really liked the feel. Once I found out I could get a discount on the phone by switching to a lower priced, non-contract plan, like I was already planning to do, I decided to go ahead and make the purchase.

The first thing that one notices about this phone is the size. This is a big phone, likely the biggest phone I've owned in my 12+ years of using cell phones. Based on the manufacturer's stated specs, the phone measures 5" x 2.3" x 1" and weighs 6.5 ounces. Most people will likely find the phone to be much too bulky. I, however, love the size. It feels right in my large hands, and the weight makes it feel sturdy and substantial. My previous phone, the Motorola Quantico, wasn't a bad fit for me, but compared to the Sonim it almost feels cheap.

The XP3400 is suppose to be one of the toughest phones available, and I'm inclined to believe it. Features include dust-proofing, being water-submersible (to depths of 6.5 ft for up to an hour), scratch proof glass, and most impressive of all, a 3 year warranty.

The real reason, however, that I decided to buy this phone was the advertised battery life. The specs list the battery life at 9.5 hours of talk time, or 850 hours of standby time. Of course those numbers are meaningless in real world situations, but when compared to other phones, they are impressive. I've actually been waiting to do this review until after the phone died for the first time, so that I could provide some info on the battery life. After the first full charge, the phone lasted nine full days. During that time I talked on the phone for 12 minutes, used the alarm a few times, and added several numbers to the contact list. For the most part, however, the phone was in standby mode. One thing worth noting, however, is that at night, the phone isn't able to get a signal, due to its location by my bed, which means it uses additional battery life searching for a signal. I probably should just leave the phone on the edge of my desk where it does have signal, but then I wouldn't be able to use it as easily as an alarm and clock at night.

The phone seems to get at least as good of reception as my previous phone. I'm often in areas with limited connectivity, but I haven't had any problems yet. Calls are nice and clear, and I've been told the same is true for those I'm talking to. The XP3400 has a noise cancelling microphone, which is intended to improve clarity when talking in noisy environments. I haven't had a chance to test that feature yet, but it really isn't something that comes up often for me.

I have found that, due to its size, the phone isn't as comfortable in my pants pocket as other phones. Usually this isn't a big problem for me, though. When I'm outside working, I just throw the phone into the cup holder of the RTV. The back and sides of the phone are covered in rubber, which seems like it would help to prevent the phone from sliding around if it were placed on the dash of the truck or similar surface.

All in all I'm very happy with the phone. The battery life meets my expectations, and that was my number one priority. The ruggedness of the phone was also a consideration. Its too early to know how the phone will work out in the long run, but after a couple of weeks I am impressed and would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a basic phone, with a long battery life, and that can stand up to the elements and a bit of abuse.

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