sonim xp5 on rock

Complete Review of the Sonim XP5

It’s impossible to talk about rugged phones without the Sonim brand at the center of the conversation. The company has several benchmark devices, and one of them is Sonim XP5.

It’s one of the most popular rugged phones on the market and for several excellent reasons. In this article, we’ll introduce the Sonim XP5 – the epitome of ruggedness.

We’ll cover all the specifications and dive deeper into what makes this rugged phone tough to beat. You’ll learn about a few drawbacks too. Finally, we’ll go over a few similar devices and see how they compare to Sonim XP5.

Quick Summary of Sonim XP5 Review

sonim xp5 front and back view

While some inner workings of Sonim XP5 bear the resemblance of a smart device, this is, in fact, not a smartphone. However, it features 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can still go online.

Users drawn to what Sonim XP5 has to offer are not overly concerned about the software, though. It’s the military-grade ruggedness that makes this mobile phone the absolute star among toughened devices.

It’s a type of phone that will survive the drop on the ground your regular smartphone never could. If you’re working in a loud environment, don’t worry about missing important calls – Sonim XP5 will ring your ears off.

You won’t get to take selfies with this phone, as it doesn’t have a front camera, but you can take it on a rescue mission and be sure that the battery will last longer, and the grime and dirt won’t damage it.

Overall Score: 4.6/5

Pros and Cons of Sonim XP5

scale on a wood desk

Before delving into specific Sonim XP5 features, let’s highlight the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of this device.


  • Dustproof
  • Waterproof
  • Thermal shock resistance
  • Push-to-Talk service
  • Expandable external storage
  • Front-facing speaker (104db)
  • Noise reduction microphone
  • Huge removable battery (25h talk time)
  • 3-year warranty


  • Heavy (8 ounces)
  • Not a smartphone
  • Challenging to write texts

History of Device and Sonim Company

sonim xp5 front and side view

XP5 was manufactured by Sonim Technologies, the only US company that specializes in producing mobile devices for workers in extreme and hazardous environments.

The company is situated in Austin, TX, but Sonim’s rugged phones are sold in 50 countries worldwide.

Over the years, the Sonim brand has become synonymous with the concept of a toughened mobile device. The company introduced Sonim XP5 in June 2015.

While you might consider this to be an old model, the fact is that XP5 could easily fit in 2005. This is by design, though, and not a character flaw.

What Sonim XP5 represents is a mobile phone that does what it’s supposed to every time you need it. It’s your basic phone – but on steroids.

It is the phone you’ll hear ringing no matter the noise around you. It’s also the kind of phone that excels in many situations where other phones would fail.

Sonim XP5 Key Specifications

To get the complete picture of what Sonim XP5 offers to users, here are all the key specs:

  • Phone Functions: speakerphone, vibration, call timer, Push-to-Talk mode, Dual noise reduction
  • Messaging and Internet: SMS, MMS, Gmail, IMAP4, POP3
  • Communications: EDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, 4G LTE Band, Bluetooth, 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Display: 2.4-inch, color support, 320 x 240 pixels
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz MSM8926 QUALCOMM Quad-Core
  • Camera: 5MB rear camera
  • Battery: 3180mAh Li-Ion
  • Storage: 4GB internal and expandable up to 64GB external
  • Ports: Dual Nano Sim-Slots, USB-C, Charging pins
  • Rugged Certifications: IP68, MIL-STD-810G

We’ve covered all the essential features you get with Sonim XP5. From the list above, you might tell that that in terms of specs, it’s not an overwhelming device.

You have everything you could need without actually having a smartphone. Most importantly, you get impressive, sturdy specifications. Keep in mind that the company has specifically designed this phone for “those who serve.”

However, in the following sections, we want to focus on several elements of Sonim XP5. We’ll review them more closely and help you understand if it’s the right phone for you.

Operating System

The Sonim XP5 doesn’t run on Android as most phones do these days. Instead, the company has built a proprietary operating system.

There is no designated app store. In fact, there are no apps you can download at all. You have access to a web browser, Gmail, and Bluetooth. You can also take pictures and videos with a camera, but you have to be mindful about the storage.


We’ve mentioned that XP5 is the ultimate rugged phone and that it was designed to work in the toughest environment. XP5 complies with both IP68 and MIL-810 standards. The first ensures it’s dustproof and can survive submerged in water for 30 minutes.

The second certification refers to all the shock the phone can endure and exposure to extreme temperatures. These military-grade standards ensure that Sonim XP5 stands out from the crowd.


How many times have you taken the phone from your pocket and realized you’d missed three calls? If you’re a firefighter, construction worker, or public safety official, you need a phone you can hear.

With the dual front-facing loudspeakers with an output of 104db, XP5 will get your attention. People who work in quiet environments might find this particular feature frustrating. However, others with hearing impairments will welcome it.

Dedicated Keys

The Sonim XP5 comes with the SOS Red Alert key, but to use it, you have to check if your carrier provides this functionality. The phone features physical keys for texting and making calls.

If you’re wearing gloves at work every day, you’ll appreciate not having to remove them every time you need to use the phone. However, texting with XP5 might prove to be more challenging than expected.

For folks in the field working in proximity to each other, the Push-to-Talk feature is especially important.

It allows you to communicate one-on-one by pressing a big button on the left side of the device. When you’re in a hurry, this is precisely the type of feature that can make a difference.


Users have every right to expect a powerful battery from a super-rugged phone like Sonim XP5. With 3180mAh Li-Ion removable battery, that’s precisely what they get.

If you don’t always have access to power outlets on the job, you need a phone with a durable battery.

Sonim XP5 provides up to 25 hours of talk time, which is more than what you’d get on average with 12-15 hours. In standby mode, the battery will hold up to 25 days.

A Few Other Features

man talking on phone

When searching for the best-rugged phone, Sonim XP5 tends to come up at the top of everyone’s list. However, it’s far from the only option out there.

There are three rugged phones that are very similar to XP5 but offer some different features.

Sonim XP Strike

sonim xp strike front view

If you’re looking for a phone nearly identical to XP5 but with a lower price tag, the XP Strike might be the right choice. You also get a slightly smaller battery capacity, but the military-grade certifications and the ultra-ruggedness are there.

It also has a camera, only 2MB instead of 5MB you get with XP5. The screen is somewhat smaller too. It’s a cool-looking phone you will be able to rely on, regardless of the environment.

Samsung Rugby 4

rugby 4 tilted front view

Are you a fan of the flip phone? Samsung created a fantastic, rugged flip phone and aptly named Rugby. The device is Wi-Fi compatible, has Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3MP camera.

The internal storage isn’t quite as impressive, with only 256MB. The good news is that you can expand it up to 32GM with a Micro SD card. In terms of ruggedness, this is an IP67 standard. That means the phone is dustproof and waterproof for up to 30 minutes submerged in 3 feet of water.

It might not be as hardy as Sonim XP5, but the Rugby 4 will prove incredibly useful in many different settings. This is, without a doubt, one of the best rugged Samsung phones and a rare example of a non-smartphone from the same brand.

Sonim XP6

sonim xp6 tilted front view

If you like the Sonim XP5, but you want to take things a step further – XP6 is up to the task. It has everything XP5 has to offer and delivers 8GB of internal memory, an Android operating system, IP69 compliance, and a unique design.

We also have to mention the impressive battery power that comes with this amazingly rugged phone. The Sonim XP6 has a non-removable 4800mAh Li-Ion battery which means that if you want, you could talk for 40 hours straight or leave the device 45 days on standby.

Overall, this is one of the most rugged phones out there, and like all Sonim devices, it delivers the reliability this brand guarantees.

Final Thoughts

sonim xp5 front view

Rugged phones are a necessity in most physically demanding occupations. There are plenty of options on the market, but in terms of the “straight to business” type of device, Sonim XP5 is the absolute winner.

It’s a basic phone with internet access, powerful battery, super-loud speakers, military-grade ruggedness, and Push-to-Talk service. It has been around for six years, and it’s still highly sought-after. Choosing Sonim XP5 as your rugged phone will almost certainly be a wise choice.

However, if you want the best of what Sonim has to offer, but you also need a smart device? Then consider Sonim RS60 or RS80. These are rugged mobile devices with SmartScanner capabilities and an Android 10 operating system.

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