It’s built from plastic three millimetres thick and has an external clip that locks it in place and, under the cover, the battery is protected from the ingress of dust and water with another rubber seal.
All of this makes the KX-TCD290 pretty hardy. And though it won’t withstand a dunking, Panasonic claims it is splash proof, dust proof and shock resistant. Now there’s only one way to test these sorts claims, so I set about giving it some real world abuse.
From table height I knocked it onto carpet, lino and concrete. I poured a glass of water on it, I stepped on it and ground it into the dirt. Finally, for good measure, I sprinkled it with a handful of flour to see how dust resistant it really was.
And it came out relatively unscathed. Apart from the odd small scuff mark, which you’d expect after this sort of treatment, the KX-TCD290 looked as good as new once I’d shaken the flour out of the earpiece and dried it off.
Of course it’s not all about being rugged – it wouldn’t be much good if the phone was a pig to use. Luckily that’s not the case here. The KX-TCD290 is extremely well-designed and easy to use, typical of Panasonic DECT phones, with a menu system you can understand without having to consult the manual every time you want to do anything more complicated than answer a call.
And it’s just as well because this phone is stuffed with features. There are fifteen polyphonic ringtones to choose from (including Jingle Bells if you’re feeling festive). You get dual phonebooks – a handset one that will store 200 numbers and a shared one that will store 20 on the base station.