Review: Sonim XP Strike for Sprint
The Strike's screen measures 2 inches across the diagonal and includes 240 x 320 pixels. It's certainly not the worst screen I've seen on a rugged device. It's bright and colorful, and I had no trouble using it outdoors. From an arm's length you can't see individual pixels, but hold the Strike any closer than about 18 inches from your eyes and you can see them start to appear along the edges of icons and letters. It's a good screen for this class of device.
Sprint sent us two Strikes to review and both behaved the same on Sprint's network. The Strike is not an LTE device. It uses Sprint's CDMA EVDO and 1X networks, and includes individual signal meters for each. The Strike performed above average when compared to other Sprint devices. It always held onto the network and was always able to make/receive phone calls. Neither device gave me any network-related trouble whatsoever.
Uh oh, here it comes: the bad news. Normal cellular phone calls with the Strike are absolutely horrible. Volume in both the earpiece and speakerphone is quite good, but volume is no substitute for horrendous quality. The earpiece, in particular, seemed only capable of producing teeth-rattling screeches that were incomprehensible. People with whom I spoke didn't have any trouble hearing me, however, and said I sounded fine in their device. The quality of calls improved only a little bit when routed to the speakerphone. Switching to PTT doesn't make much of an improvement. Walkie-talkie conversations were slightly less awful, but still of astoundingly poor quality. Ringers and alerts are incredibly loud, and the vibrate alert could rouse a bear from hibernation. Both review units exhibited these behaviors. It's a challenge to protect a speaker from the elements without muffling the sound, but most other rugged phones do a better job than this.
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In a word, the battery life is amazing. Three days was the least battery life I got with the Strike. The Strike packs a massive battery and the feature phone operating system sips power conservatively. You can easily wait a day or two in between charges.
The Strike can handle blowing rain, salt fog, vibration, shock, and dust. According to Sonim, it can also withstand 6-foot drops to concrete, as well as a 30-minute bath in water that's two meters deep. I took it sledding and snowshoeing over the weekend and it didn't mind sitting in the snow for a while. I had it in my front pocket when I rocketed off the top of a ramp, lost my sled, and came crashing down on top of it (it was an epic wipe out). I kicked it around my driveway, threw it down the street, put it in the sink when I washed my hands, and subjected it to all sorts of other abuse. It's still working just fine. It lives up to is tough image.
Dec 19, 2012
Sprint today announced the Sonim XP Strike, a ruggedized handset that's compatible with its push-to-talk service. The Strike is the first Sonim handset to be sold by Sprint.
Mar 10, 2013
Sprint has started selling an intrinsically safe (IS) version of it Sonim XP Strike rugged Direct Connect phone. IS devices are designed for environments with flammable gasses or dust.
Jan 7, 2020
Kyocera is at CES this year showing off mock-ups of 5G devices under development, including their next rugged smartphone for the US, which will have 5G. Kyocera's Product Planning Manager Curtis Wick confirmed to Phone Scoop that the company is still actively developing rugged smartphones for the US market, similar to the DuraForce Pro 2 that is currently offered by AT&T and Verizon.
Kyocera's US phone lineup is down to just rugged phones these days, where they compete with Sonim. Kyocera's been at this for a while, though, so the DuraForce Pro 2 is building on quite a bit of experience.
The LG X venture is a rugged, waterproof handset sold by AT&T. It packs mid-range specs, such as a 5.2-inch display, a Snapdragon 435 processor, and a 16-megapixel camera, into a fairly compact form factor for a hardy handset.