- Older Android version (4.4.2)
- No microSD support
- Proprietary charge cord
- Lackluster display
If your daily routine often involves outdoor adventures or high-impact work environment, you probably leave your sleek and shiny phone at home. It only takes a few drops or bumps to add a phone replacement to the cost of your day.
Sonim thinks they’ve fixed this problem by combining a full-featured smartphone with a rugged design built to handle tough environments. They even offer a three-year warranty with accidental damage coverage!
But if you’ve used a ruggedized phone, you’ve probably experienced the tradeoffs typically involved. Does the Sonim XP7 actually deliver a great phone experience and can it stand up to the durability claims?
Let’s see what the reviews are saying!
Every review was quick to point out the heft of the phone. The word “brick” was used often. The phone is wrapped in a rubber case with added protection on the corners and hardware buttons in place of the capacitive options on many handsets. PC Magazine notes, “This is not pocket friendly. This phone is designed to be kept in a coat pocket or on a belt clip.”
To put dimension in perspective, at 22mm thick, you could stack two of 2016’s flagship phones on top of each other and still not reach the thickness of the XP7. Phonescoop used the phone for a few days and noted, “I didn't have any trouble holding or using the phone, but the weight does get to you after prolonged use.”
The rugged design is IP68/IP69 rated for resistance to dirt and dust and submersion in water up to 6 feet for 30 minutes. It achieves part of this through a proprietary magnetic charge port. So don’t expect to use your usual USB cables with this phone. Reviews on the charger were positive, though you might have trouble sourcing a spare if you lose yours.
Coming around the front of the device, you’ll find a 4-inch LCD running at 800-by-480 pixels. Reviews of the screen were average. Android Authority summed up opinions well, saying, “The screen is functional, but in this day and age is quite a poor looking panel. Apart from the low resolution, colors are washed out, with a lot of color shifting when viewing off axis, which doesn't make for a very good gaming or media consumption experience.”
Keeping things moving at a snappy pace, the phone is powered by a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 processor. While reviews were quick to point out this isn’t a gaming phone, none had any major complaints about performance. PC Magazine said, “Android productivity app performance was decent in my tests, but only decent. High-end games like Beach Buggy Racing have less than optimal frame rates. This is true for all midrange, Snapdragon 400 phones; there's nothing out of place here.” You’ll also find 16GB of internal storage to bring your favorite apps, movies and music along for the ride.
Part of the reason the phone is so thick and heavy is the 4800mAh battery. As the number suggests, reviews show this leads to some beastly battery life. PC Magazine said, “This is definitely a two-day phone—maybe even three.” ZDNet took their phone for a 12-mile Mudder and declared, “Battery life has been absolutely stunning. I actually had to check to make sure everything was running properly because I just couldn't believe there was still plenty of power remaining days after I started using it regularly.”
While the phone won’t take pictures you’ll frame and hang, the 8MP rear camera and 1MP front-facing lens received decent reviews. Android Authority tested the camera and said, “The picture quality is just about average in this case, but is certainly better than what I expected and offers a decent amount of color and detail.”
Overall, reviews of the device were positive--though most reviews agreed that this phone serves a specific market. Gigoam said, “For outdoor workers and those with very active lifestyles, I doubt you’ll find a more rugged Android phone than the Sonim XP7.” CNet summed up reviews well, stating, “The XP7 says ‘don't worry.’ It's a tool, and can be treated as one. And while it didn't prove indestructible (glass is glass), it took concentrated buffoonery to wear it down.”