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But the real story with the Sonim XP1 is its bullet proof build quality, this is a phone that's designed to survive anything that you throw at it, no matter how rough your lifestyle. As usual when we test a rugged device, we dragged the XP1 kicking and screaming out into the car park for some punishment. The XP1 didn't even blink when we dropped it from shoulder height, and even when we climbed up a flight of stairs and dropped it onto the concrete, it didn't flinch and continued to function perfectly. Even when Hugo stamped on the phone and kicked it across the car park, it continued to work, despite picking up a few scratches in the process.
Taking things to the next level, Andy jumped in his car and we placed the Phone in front of the wheels. Despite the XP1 pleading for a reprieve, evil Andy drove over it with both front and back wheels. Again the XP1 survived the punishment completely intact. But it was when we tested the water resistance that things took a turn for the worse. Placing the XP1 on the ground and pouring water on it didn't seem to bother it at first, but pretty soon the screen was full of condensation and the phone switched itself off. Although the XP1 powered back on, and seemed to work ok for a couple of minutes, it soon shut itself down again.
Unlocking the back cover and whipping it off revealed that the rubber seal protecting the battery and SIM compartment from water ingress hadn't done as good a job as it should have. There were definite traces of water inside the phone, which surely couldn't be a good thing! Drying the inside out as best I could, I put the XP1 back together and turned it on again - this time it stayed switched on, but the centre row of buttons simply refused to respond.
I have to say that of all the punishment we dished out on the XP1, the water spill test was the one that I was least worried about, so it comes as a major surprise that water ingress seems to have caused the phone to fail. I can only assume that this particular unit had faulty seals, since the Sonim site clearly shows an XP1 completely submersed in water without issue. On the plus side, Sonim does claim to offer a three year "unconditional" guarantee on the XP1, so at least a customer who ends up with a wet, dead phone, should be able to get a replacement without too much hassle.
Price wise, you can pickup an XP1 SIM free for around £225, or if you're happy to sign up with a Vodafone contract you can get it for free on a 12 month contract - although that appears to be the non Bluetooth version. The latter will be attractive to any businesses that want to equip their field workers with rugged phones, it just depends on how rugged you need the phone to be.
The Sonim XP1 can definitely survive a lot of abuse, there's no denying that - any phone that can shrug off being run over by a car is tough by anyone's standards! Unfortunately the XP1 didn't turn out to be quite as rugged as I thought it would be - it really didn't like getting wet, which is something of an issue for a rugged device. I can only hope that my review sample was faulty, and I'll be giving Sonim the chance to supply me with a second unit to find out. But in the meantime, if you need a phone that can take a real pounding and a good dousing, I can't really recommend the XP1.
Update: After a couple of days drying out, it appears that the Sonim XP1 is now functioning perfectly. Nevertheless, a second unit is being shipped to TR for more testing, so watch this space for further updates.
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