Sonim XP1 review: Toughest of phones

Toughest of phones

GSMArena team, 14 August 2008.

User Interface: as simple as it gets

Impressive enough on the outside, Sonim XP1 holds no fancy stuff inside. The Spartan user interface is pretty much on par with the most basic of low-enders out there.

The main menu displays as a 3 x 3 grid of icons with corresponding alphanumeric key shortcuts. Deeper level submenus don't have keypad shortcuts and are only navigated with the D-pad. The low display resolution renders each pixel clearly visible, yet the icons do not look that coarse. The light-heeled and responsive user interface feels quite at home in this heavy-duty no-nonsense phone.

Sonim XP1
The main menu is simple

The home screen is pretty modest too. The basic status readings are all there, such as signal strength, service provider, time, battery status and the two soft key functions. Additional icons also get displayed to indicate home network/roaming, missed events, silent/vibrate mode, alarm on, etc. The home screen can use different wallpapers or one of the four predefined types: Digital, Analog, Month view and Universal time.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Different home screen views

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Sonim XP1 also has tree color themes to choose from

One of the best things about the interface is the wide range of assignable shortcuts in standby on alphanumeric keys and the D-pad. The D-pad even accommodates 8 of them, as each of its direction keys has a short press/long press action.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Shortcuts galore

Regular phonebook

The phonebook stores up to 500 entries with a total of 2500 phone number fields available. You can choose whether the SIM contacts or the phone contacts should be default for the phonebook. Displaying both lists simultaneously is impossible. Pressing the phonebook icon from the menu or on a shortcut does not open the phonebook itself, but the options menu, which is quite an odd decision. "View contacts list" is not even the first option on the list.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
The phonebook icon in the menu brings up options, instead of the actual contact list

There is only one name field for a contact. If you're importing contacts with two name fields via Bluetooth, the names will be merged in the Sonim XP1 phonebook. Contact searching is quite rudimentary - there's no gradual typing and you have to enter the exact name or part of it, then press OK key and only then will the contact be displayed.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Calling our friend Johnny • Creating/editing a contact

Creating a new contact you can enter one name, up to five different numbers, email, postal code, postal address and notes. There is no way to add new fields or change field labels. Caller groups and speed dial are available.

Among the call management extras is the call filter with dedicated black and white list.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
The Call filter • some other call settings

All calls are there

The Call log is divided into three different lists: Outgoing, Received, and Missed. When there are several calls made to a single contact, only the last one gets displayed. Selecting such an entry though will display the individual call times on separate rows.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
The Call list menus

The loudspeaker performance is really impressive: Sonim is the second loudest phone we've ever tested. It's deafening, especially with the preinstalled monophonic ringtones. Here is how the Sonim XP1 stacks up against some of the other handsets we've measured in our speakerphone loudness test.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Nokia N8270.261.265.9Below Average
Nokia 3500 classic65.965.775.7Average
Samsung F110 Adidas68.965.873.5Good
Nokia 6500 slide74.272.878.2Very Good
Sony Ericsson C70275.875.782.7Excellent
Sonim XP181.876.282.7Excellent

You can find more info about our loudspeaker test, as well as the results of other tested devices here.

Messaging is a thousand strong

Messaging just couldn't have been simpler with Sonim XP1. There's no email client aboard, all you get is SMS. Storage is impressive though, with 1000 texts a respective count by all means.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Simple messaging and impressive storage of up to 1000 entries

When composing a message, a character counter displays the number left to the 160-character limit. Predictive typing is available. Those who don't use T9 will have to turn it off each time a new message is being created.

A nice option is adding a "signature" to each new message, quite surprising to find in a phone like this one.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
The Signature option in the settings menu

Short on applications

To get it straight, don't be looking for fancy stuff in Sonim XP1. There's no video and MP3 player (there's still support for MP3 ringtones), only a basic file manager and some standard organizer applications.

The file manager, actually called "My Files", contains two folders - Pictures and Sounds. Pictures are listed as text links, which open the image in the only available full screen mode. No zoom in on images or slideshows here.

Music files don't open in a separate window but are directly played in the file manager folder.

The available applications in Sonim XP1 are placed under Tools. They include an organizer, alarm clock, calculator, audio recorder, Bluetooth, stopwatch, countdown timer and universal time.

Sonim XP1
The Tools menu contain most of the applications of XP1

The simple Organizer has Month and Week view modes. Scheduling a new meeting or memo is quite basic, options boil down to setting a date, start and end time and adding text.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
The organizer • creating a new event

The Alarm clock is very simple. An alarm can be set to go off once, everyday, on weekdays, and everyday except Sunday. Setting the alarm tone is available in the settings menu.

Sonim XP1
The Alarm clock

The calculator, audio recorder, stopwatch, count-down timer and universal time are the features that complete the basic PIM list.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
Calculator • Audio recorder and Stopwatch apps

Finally, the basic web browser is doing fine with WAP optimized sites.

Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1 Sonim XP1
The basic WAP browser failed with

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!