About a year ago I looked at a novel handset from Samsung, the SGH-M110 Solid. It was a ruggedised handset designed for those who need something that can take a few knocks.
Well, a year later we have what is effectively the follow-up to that phone, the Samsung B2700 Bound. Again designed for anyone whose life involves some tough outdoor scenarios the handset is water and dust resistant to the internationally recognised IP54 standard, and has some 'outdoor features', which amount to an altimeter, compass and pedometer.
Now, one thing about a phone with this particular market in mind is that it is unlikely to be your main handset. Would you want to drag a ruggedised mobile out with you on a daily basis? Probably not. It would be overkill for the daily commute, it would look a bit naff when you get it out of your pocket in the pub, and it wouldn't necessarily offer all the features you'd want from a day-to-day phone. It is a specialised piece of equipment.
Which gives Samsung a bit of a problem. To be a success the Bound has to offer a full range of specialised features for the outdoors type while not loosing sight of mainstays like a good camera, battery life and a music player, and keeping within the kind of budget a second handset would warrant. Quite a tall order.
I didn't think Samsung achieved these things with the Solid, but I think it gets a whole lot closer this time round. At £170 SIM-free, the B2700 Bound is hardly a snip but could be added to the budget of your outdoor kit if you like to buy good quality stuff without paying ridiculous prices.
Battery life is astounding. I did my usual battery rundown test on this phone - fully charge the battery then get the phone to play music for as long as possible. It did this for a very impressive 22 hours. Now, you can't force the screen to stay on during this test which means power is automatically saved, but I reckon you could rely on the Bound for two or three days of usage without mains power. Which is extremely important if you are going to be backpacking in the wilds.
Music playback quality is OK, but the headphones use Samsung's proprietary adaptor - shared with mains power. So if you also have a music player you'll need to carry two pairs, which is a bit of a bind if travelling very light is a goal. Memory-wise there is a microSD card under the backplate. You'll need a card as there is just 26MB on board.