Sonim XP1 review: Toughest of phones

Toughest of phones

GSMArena team, 14 August 2008.


In the world of mobile phones it's all about diversity, and just about everyone has their favorite. We've seen enough of brand loyalty taken to extremes but it's for the first time we come across a phone that might deal with anything you can throw at it (or better yet - anything that you throw it at). Sonim XP1 is said to survive just about anything.

This ultra-durable bloke can take some impressive abuse and the worst weather extremities. The XP1 may be somewhat under the weather featurewise but hardly any other phone can put up with what this soldier can endure. If you are just as curious as we are, join us as we take the Sonim XP on a really rough ride.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Official photos of Sonim XP1

XP1 model designation has nothing to do with either Micro, or Soft. It stands for Xtreme Performance, simple as that. Sonim XP1 is officially proof against a stream of water, near 1.7-meter-high drop to concrete, and has an operational range from -20C to 60C. We've seen it tossed and kicked around, run over by cars, treaded on by elephants, dropped in a cement mixer. Meet the survivor form factor.

The Sonim XP1 (also known as JCB Toughphone in some markets and the Chuck Norris phone in our office) was created for the most challenging of environments and activities. Hardened rubber is molded to the durable non-porous casing, keypad buttons are tested to 500,000 pushes, the screen has a scratch-resistant coating. Finally, the USB port, ear jack and external antenna port are sealed with plastic caps so moist and dirt are kept away from those vulnerable points.

Key features:

  • Shock, water and dust resistant (after all, we're talking the closest a phone has ever got to a weapon)
  • Scratch resistant display
  • Philips Nexperia 6120 platform
  • Push-to-Talk
  • Bluetooth v1.2 (Object Push and Headset profiles only)
  • Tri-band GSM/GPRS phone
  • 1000 SMS storage
  • MP3 and WAV ringtones
  • Very loud speakerphone
  • 10 MB flash memory
  • 2.5 mm audio jack
  • Nice battery performance thanks to the Li-Ion 1100 mAh battery
  • No-questions-asked 3 year warranty

Main disadvantages

  • Featurewise on-par with the cheapest phones out there
  • Chubby and unsightly, though that may as well be a benefit
  • Poor screen resolution, basic user interface
  • Compatible with only a slim number Bluetooth headsets
  • Quite expensive at nearly 300 EUR
  • FM radio could have been a nice add-on
  • No extra features such as a compass or a flashlight

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Sonim XP1 live photos

Technically, Sonim XP1 is not alone in its class, but the competition is barely up to par when it comes to the most important point: durability. The XP1 redefines ruggedized and scoffs in the face of Sony Ericsson C702, Nokia 5500 Sport and Samsung M110. That's well reflected in the price too: the XP1 is the most expensive of the lot. Don't bother guessing the cost of GPS, built-in camera, MP3 player, quad-band GSM and 3.5G. Indestructible costs and you'll just have to have Sonim's word on that.

Now, here's one for you. You're reviewing cars and you're well on top of things. You get them sedans, estates and coupes inside out, you peek under the hood, you rev them up, you push them hard, you love'm, you hate'm, and you're so in control. Then suddenly, a monster truck falls in your lap. What do you do? We, for one, would put a helmet and go car smashing. No, seriously, we didn't do any nasty experiments to the Sonim XP1, but we've prepared a nice video compilation of such tricks so that you can see that the Sonim XP1 is built to last.

Enough of that babbling, let's get to some real tough work - reviewing the Sonim XP1 ultra durable GSM phone. Take this jump to continue.

Reader comments

  • wjk

Im using my jcb for the last 2 years under extreme curcumstances. What a phone!! After 2years my speaker is in bad shape. Is it still repairable by you. I would like to use it again because its the best soldier in the world and no other phone falls i...

  • hurricanecrab

I'm really interested in this phone, given that most phones only survive me for less than a year. I don't care about features much -- I want a tougher-than-me phone. Can I buy one that is unlocked, such that I can use it with the local LIME syste...

  • Anonymous

The phone lasted 2 month. I had to immediately purchase a replacement. I sent Sonim an Email requesting a refund and they did not reply. Don't buy SONIM phones. The phones and customer service suck!