Sonim XP1 Toughphone - Feature and Performance Testing

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Sonim XP1 Toughphone
Closer Look and Settings
Feature and Performance Testing

Feature and Performance Testing:

Before we jump into testing the durability and toughness of the XP1, I thought that I should test the features and performance of this phone before I set out to try and destroy the phone.  We may or may not end up destroying the phone, but I thought it best to see how it worked before we drove over it and dropped it from an unnecessarily high building.

The ringer volume of the XP1 is ridiculously loud and if you are crazy enough to have it set to “Outdoor” mode in the office, you’re going to get a lot of dirty looks from people.  I had is set to this mode when traveling on a crowded bus in Jamaica and it pretty much scared everyone within 5 rows and pissed everyone off with its loud, shrill ring.  The speaker volume when talking with people is also quite loud.  I had to turn the volume to about 50% when in a call.  The microphone is loud enough for most situations, but I had a couple of complaints that I was a little quiet - of course that is when I was in Jamaica and there’s no guarantee that the connection was very good either.

I live in rural Alberta and my best choice for reception has traditionally been TELUS.  TELUS is certainly not the best choice for a cellular provider as you can see by the way they cheat and lie to their customers, but they offer the best reception out in the country.  I found that the Sonim XP1 registered on the Fido/Rogers network worked pretty well, but it dropped a few more calls in poor areas that are sketchy on the TELUS network.

I was actually surprised that the reception was as good as it was, but I’m not sure if I could bail on TELUS just yet as reception is very important when you’re out in the field at 1:00am and you need to service your agricultural equipment.  With that in mind, Sonim also offers an external accessory antenna which should improve reception and probably would make it just as good or better than my HTC S640 or Samsung U540 on the TELUS network.

General Thoughts:
Sonim claims that the buttons on the phone are good for 500,000 presses and while I can’t confirm that in the time I’ve had the phone, they do remain response even after some of the punishment we put the phone through.  The layout of the keypad is very standard and the volume buttons are located in a traditional spot and also work well.  The phone supports PushToTalk features as well and has a larger button located on the side of the phone just below the volume buttons.  It seems to work well - if your carrier supports this feature.

Overall this phone is very usable and I can’t think of anything major that could be improved and tweaked to make it better.  I’ve been spoiled with a smart phone and a qwerty keyboard so I find SMS a pain on this phone, but the T9 predictive text seems to be fairly robust and knows be better than the iPhone/iPod Touch - which really isn’t all that impressive.


Durability & Toughness Testing:

I’ve done a lot of stuff with this phone that I would even dream of trying with a standard phone.  I’ve showered with it, kicked it, jumped on it, buried it in sand, dropped it, drove over it and even played catch with it.  It did suffer some damage, but still seems to work despite some damage.  Sonim never claimed that it can survive without blemish or spot.

One of the stupid things I did was leave this phone lightly buried in sand on a beach just outside of Ocho Rios.  The temperature of the phone was just over 50C after it had been baking in the sun.  To cool it down, I buried it much deeper and jumped on it for a while.  After I had thoroughly packed all of the keys full of sand, I washed it under a heavy stream of water and got most of the sand out of the keys.  The left soft-key didn’t work very after this test as there were micro-particles of sand jammed under the edge of the key.  I dropped the phone several times on a ceramic tile floor and that helped loosen the sand and the key worked well after that and still continues to work fine.

In the Sand
In the Sand
 Jamaica Sand
Jamaica Sand
Washing Phone
Washing Phone


The whole burying and jumping on the phone caused some scratches, but it still works just fine.  In fact the scratches on my other phones are much worse than the XP1 and I never buried them, drove over them or jumped on them.

Please check out the video clips and pictures below to see all that we put the Sonim XP1 through.  I’ve been impressed at how this phone stood up to the use and abuse we gave it - while it certainly isn’t indestructible; it is by far the toughest phone I’ve ever seen.

For your peace of mind, I'll have you know that I was in fact wearing swimming trunks in the shower - I wasn't au' naturale.

 Post-12ga Side
Post-12ga Side
Post-12ga Top
Post-12ga Top
Post-12ga Front
Post-12ga Front



Final Thoughts:

I didn’t know what to expect from the unlocked GSM Sonim XP1 phone.  I knew it would be tough as demonstrated over at, but I didn’t expect it to take the beating that it actually did.  I tried to do just about everything I could within reason and a little out of reason and still the phone held up very well.  It’s pretty amazing how well it works and took all the abuse, but if you’re looking for a “smart” and tough phone, you’ll find this phone is a little lacking in the brains department.

It’s a very solid, reliable phone that is capable of WAP browsing, SMS, and more but it falls short on the feature list if you’re looking for a phone with a camera and MMS capability.  Overall though, the phone lives us to its claims and is a must have if you’re the guy that is dropping and breaking your phone…or if you just want the experience of showering while talking on your phone.



  • Functional Candy-bar phone
  • Ridiculously tough.
  • Good T9 Predictive Text Capability
  • Unlocked and works around the world
  • Nice tactile feedback on keys
  • Loud ringer and speaker
  • Supports Bluetooth headphones


  • Microphone sometimes quiet
  • No software included for syncing to Outlook Calendar
  • Shotgun can neutralize phone and cause battery to explode




Overall, I’m very impressed with the Sonim XP1 and am excited to see what else Sonim will bring to the table in the future.  We are hoping to have the XP3 in our hands in the near future and will let you know what they show off on the next model.  Perhaps it will be tougher and we can use it as a projectile for hunting ground squirrels.