Sonim XP7 Rugged Android Smartphone Review

Sonim XP7

As I have lost a few iPhones in the process of testing waterproof cases, I hesitate every time a new one comes to market. My usual inclination is to leave the phone at home and bring a GoPro instead, but Sonim may just have changed everything. The new XP7 smartphone is not only waterproof, but rugged enough to take a real beating on all your outdoor adventures.

Sonim Technologies normally makes rugged and durable mobile phones for first responders, construction workers, and the military. Aimed at the outdoor enthusiast, the new XP7 is the company’s first Android LTE smartphone.

The Good

  • Full Android smartphone: Those of you who already use the Android operating system will love it. Even as an iPhone user, I quickly grew to appreciate the integration with all my Google apps. The phone features 16GB of memory for your photos and music–not massive but adequate.
  • Long battery life: The 4800 mAh battery lasts for days on standby and even for a good couple of days with regular use.
  • Waterproof up to 6.5 feet for 30 min: You aren’t going to take this phone scuba diving but you can get it wet all you want and even snap underwater photos and video. I left the phone out for an entire day during one of the big storms we had here in San Francisco, took it surfing, SUP, and even snorkeling.
  • Touchscreen works when wet: Even underwater, the touchscreen works perfectly. You can also see the screen in direct sunlight.
  • 8 megapixel camera: Photos and videos come out great.
  • Temp rating: The phone works in super cold conditions without the battery freaking out.
  • Rugged: The XP7 will withstand drops, vibrations, and even direct hits. The phone is also dust proof–a bonus for desert trips or even mountain biking.
  • Unlocked: Use the XP7 on any network you want.
  • 3-year warranty: If the phone somehow fails due to the elements, accidents, being dropped in the toilet, or something else, you get a replacement.
  • Flashlight: Comes in handy.
Sonim XP7
Photo taken with the Sonim XP7

The Tradeoffs

  • Heavy: As rugged as it is, the XP7 is bit of a brick. The phone weighs 0.64 pounds, 290 grams, or 10.2 ounces–over double the weight and bulk of an iPhone 6.
  • SIM installation: You need to tediously remove two tiny screws in order to install or remove the SIM card. This is not a big deal if you plan to use the XP7 as your full time phone or even just once in awhile for a big adventure, but a bit of a pain if you want to swap it out every day.

Bottom Line

The Sonim XP7 makes a great full featured smartphone that will stand up to your crazy outdoor adventures–whether it’s a second phone or a heavy duty primary phone. I have personally chosen to use it as a second adventure-ready phone with it’s own SIM.

While other Sonim smartphones, such as the XP6, are available from your local carrier, the unlocked XP7 is available to order through Indiegogo. For $579, you can order your own XP7, including a Bluetooth headset and prepaid SIM with $49 worth of credit.

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