Sonim XP1

February 1st, 2009 Desktop, Mobile Computing, Tech

Price: $449

The Simon XP1 is just a phone. There, we’ve been waiting years to say that (see the Samsung U900 review). When every other mobile device is a music player, organiser, Internet and email device and more, it’s almost impossible to find an affordable but well-performing mobile phone that doesn’t have $500 worth of bells and whistles you neither need nor want.

The Sonim XP1 — bought to Australia by Crazy John’s and available outright or on a $29 a month plan — is the ideal device for one of two working environments. The first is if you nodded knowingly at the above — you aren’t a big mobile user and rarely make calls when you’re on the road but need to be in touch when clients or colleagues need you. For that sort of user it’s easy to operate and comfortable to carry without even mentioning how striking the black and yellow colour combination is.

The colours hint at the second ideal home for the XP1. Like a rash of products coming to market recently, it’s built for tough conditions of the sort Australia’s known for. It’s shock resistant, water resistant, virtually scratch proof and the press release that accompanied it told us it had been shot with Glock and Remington firearms, put in an oven, strapped to a rocket, used as a hockey puck and a hammer, kicked, dragged behind a boat and driven over by a multi-ton truck.

Without any of those tools close at hand, we opted for the simpler challenge — as Sonim CEO Bob Plaschke says in the marketing, ‘we challenge anyone to try and break it’. Take your current mobile in both hands and twist it in different directions like a Chinese burn. Long before you get tired you’ll hear a sickening series of pops and cracks (a disclaimer — you will break your mobile). Now try the same with the XP1. Straining and twisting as hard as we could, there wasn’t even a creak.

Not that you have to be a miner or surf lifesaver — as anyone who’s ever dropped a phone in the street knows, they’re not built for toughness. But the XP1 will take anything you can throw at it. If you do manage to break it there’s a three-year, no questions asked replacement guarantee.

Operationally, the phone is very simple. It runs on a familiar Phillips operating system that allows for basic functions like ring-tones and a phone book, but it has Bluetooth and everything else you need for functionality rather than fashion or multimedia. It has GPRS network connectivity — nowhere near the breakneck speeds of 3G but more than adequate. If you’re a heavy on-the-road web user you’ll want an iPhone or something similar (just watch those bills).

Apart from anything else — and getting a little subjective for a moment — the Sonim XP1 has a personality the likes of which you haven’t seen in a long time. Where many mobile devices seem ‘female’ (for want of a better term) with their designed curves and captivating lights, this invokes visions of dirt bikes, monster trucks and toy guns. How cool’s that?

Sonimtech.com


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