We’ve reviewed many things on this site, mainly snowboards, once a car, and then a slew of other snowboard related products. A cell phone might seem a bit out of the ordinary and not something we would focus on, yet here we are staring at the Sonim XP7, a cell phone that its makers are claiming is great for snowboarders. What makes it so great for snowboarders? Why should you even care? This review aims to point out the pros and cons of this piece of technology.
If you’re an iPhone person then you should probably stop reading now, this thing is a Droid. Rather than go into the debate of which operating system is better, I’ll just state that I prefer Apple products and believe Droid to be the hell spawn of some sadistic Satan worshiping programmer. With that out of the way if you like Droid, bam this phone might be for you, if you don’t stick with your iPhone. Now that we have that out of the way lets delve into the actual phone and why this might work for certain snowboarders.
I say certain snowboarders, because not everyone will want this brick. Yes, it is a brick it weighs probably three times of an iPhone 4s (what I personally use). That’s a heavy chunk of technology in your palm. It’s this weight that will deter the average everyday recreational rider from it. Unless of course you’re going to use it to beat off a rampaging tundra Wookiee, then by all means get it and use it to beat that rabid creature to death. Now this weight for a backcountry/touring rider or someone pushing the boundaries of their snow travel it won’t matter.
Yes, this phone is burly. They claim it will survive being dropped from 6.5 feet or less. Well guess what? I chucked this thing off a second story balcony and it survived. I also decided to see if it could survive a temper tantrum and threw it at a wall. It’s still in one piece, although the wall has looked better. So much for that security deposit! There’s not a doubt in my mind this would survive being dropped off a chairlift and still work. Although if this were to happen and someone were impacted by it you might be charged with involuntary manslaughter due to the sheer weight of this brute.
But what about the battery life? Well I would love to make a joke about the battery life here, I can’t. This battery is better than an Energizer Bunny who just smoked some Walter White blue meth and decided to run a marathon. We all know from being out in the cold that our cell phones battery life diminishes. That’s not the case with this bad boy. I put it outside in negative 10 degree Fahrenheit for a 24 hour period without any apps or programs running. It lost 5% of its battery. After realizing how that didn’t kill the battery I decided to crank the testing up to eleven and see what would happen if I turned on every app, the Internet, and the flashlight. In a 12 hour period in negative 10 degree Fahrenheit it used about 75% of its battery. Flashlight apps on phones drain battery like no other, so seeing how long this took was amazing.
The camera isn’t anything special. It’s 8MP and does shoot 1080p. There’s other phones out there with better cameras.
The audio quality is about what you would expect from a new phone. It’s there, it does its thing, can’t say it’s anything special or that it sucks.
This phone has its own proprietary charging system. Sure some will say Apple does that, but with the availability of Apple products on the market finding a charger isn’t an issue. This could potentially cause problems with finding a charger. Not a bad thing, just something that for such a niche product seems odd.
I will say it’s weird to see that the loudspeaker is located at the top of the phone almost like a signal booster. This protrusion makes the shape stick out. While if you have it in a pack this won’t be noticeable, but putting it in a front pant pocket, you definitely feel it.
In short is this phone the best option for the average snowboarder? No. Why do I say that? Because this thing is built for someone that is either on the front lines of an incursion into some country, working on the skeleton of a sky scraper, or traveling to the furthest reaches of the earth. For the person braving the lines of the food court or trying to access the resort slackcountry it’s overkill. Just get an Otterbox or Lifeproof case for your current phone.