sonim xp7 all sides

Complete Review of the Sonim XP7

Most modern phones feature sleek and thin designs we all appreciate. That comes at a cost, however, as our phones are not fit for extreme conditions, nor they can survive being dropped from a roof. However, if you’re searching for a virtually indestructible phone, Sonim XP7 is more than a worthy contender. It’s not sleek or thin, but bulky and heavy, and that’s precisely what we like about it.

This is a phone made for firefighters, construction workers, extreme athletes, and anyone who needs a phone with military-grade ruggedness. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Sonim XP7 and even talk about a few similar devices.

A Quick Look at Sonim XP7

sonim xp7 front view

Sonim XP7 is not a phone for a casual user. It’s a very niche product meant for physically demanding jobs and those with a highly active lifestyle.

While it is a smartphone – you can use it for browsing, video calling, and even playing games; its primary purpose is to serve the user when other phones would fail.

Sonim XP7 can withstand extreme pressure and will repel all kinds of chemicals and oils. It has a hard rubberized exterior which makes it nearly indestructible. The ruggedness is the number one quality of this phone. The other exceptional feature is the battery.

You can fully charge your Sonim XP7 and take it on a three-day trip without worrying about access to outlets. However, it’s not a pant pocket-friendly phone, but it’s perfect for coat pockets and belt clips.

Overall score: 4.9/5

The Pros and Cons of Sonim XP7

sonim xp7 tilted front view

Before we explore all the details and specifications of Sonim XP7, let’s take a look at the major pros and cons of buying this device.

Pros:

  • Military-grade ruggedness
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Strong and durable battery
  • Very visible notification light
  • Glove-friendly screen
  • Rubber door headphone jack
  • Screwed-shut SIM card slot
  • Dedicated buttons

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Limited storage

History of Device and Sonim Company

sonim xp7 front and back view

The Sonim brand comes to mind anytime someone talks about toughened mobile devices. With the headquarters in Austin, TX, the company is the only US-based company that manufacturers rugged devices.

It’s not just about making somewhat “tougher” mobile phones and tablets. Sonim focuses on the needs of those working in harsh or hazardous environments. If you want a rugged phone – get a Sonim device. Their XP7 model was released in November 2014 and has been sold around the world ever since.

This device has been around for a while and continues to be one of their more popular options. If you can remember the early days of smartphones, holding the XP7 will make you reminisce about an era past.

It operates in the same manner newer phones do, but the screen is not as big, and the software doesn’t run on the latest update.

However, those are not the first things anyone notices on Sonim XP7. The first impression of this phone is that it looks like it could survive an apocalypse, and that’s exactly what makes it unique.

Sonim XP7 – General Specifications

Sonim xp7 backview

The Sonim XP7 deserves a closer examination, and each of the elements is reviewed separately. But first, let’s focus on key specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.8 x 0.78 inches
  • Weight: 10.2oz
  • Colors: Black & yellow
  • Battery: 480mAh, non-removable Li-Ion
  • Screen size: 4 inches
  • Operating System: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz MSM8926 QUALCOMM Quad-Core
  • Internal memory: 16GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, HSPA, LTE, Bluetooth, NFC
  • SIM card: Micro-Sim

As you can see, Sonim XP7 is mid-range when it comes to most specs, especially in terms of operating system and internal memory. That’s not where the attention of most people who are interested in this type of phone will hold, though.

Still, to get the absolute best evaluation of this device, the review should be categorized. Therefore, here are Sonim XP7 specs in more detail.

Physical Features and Ruggedness

We’re starting off with the Sonim XP7 dominant feature. Many people think that rugged phones are either flip phones or the so-called candy bar phones.

On the contrary, most ultra-rugged phones these days are toughened smartphones. Sonim XP7 is in the mid-range category in terms of size, so it’s neither big nor small.

It’s definitely not the phone you can put in your pocket, though, unless we’re talking about an oversized coat. The Sonim XP7 exterior is covered with highly bouncy rubber.

If you were to drop this device on a corner, it would likely fly six inches into the air. The phone’s back has a few small triangular cutouts, which you can pry out to discover external antenna ports.

The headphone jack is protected with a rubber door, so that’s great! If you want to change SIM cards on your Sonim XP7, you’ll need a screwdriver as the SIM card slot is screwed shut.

If you’re wondering how it holds up underwater and in an extremely dirty environment, the IP68 and IP69 certifications promise excellent performance.

This phone can withstand a whole metric ton of pressure, will not be damaged by solvents, and will survive a six-foot fall into concrete. It is not your Average Joe’s phone.

Call Quality of the Sonim XP7

If you need a phone you can use in loud settings; you’ll be pleased to learn that Sonim XP7’s earpiece is quite loud. It’s sharp, and you’ll likely be able to make out what the person on the other end is saying regardless of the noise.

Although, you might need to strain your ears a little bit if you find yourself on a super loud construction site.

Connectivity

With Sonim XP7, you get LTE Band 12 and standard Wi-Fi performance with dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/r. You’ll need a Micro-SIM card for this device, regardless of the carrier you choose.

You also get a GPS feature, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity. The phone also has a micro USB 2.0 port and a headphone jack.

Operating System and Multimedia

The Sonim XP7 relies on completely stock Android 4.4.2 and a Snapdragon 400 chipset processor with 1GB RAM. You have access to Google Play but without a plethora of options.

You can use the built-in music player or play the FM radio. Given that this is a slightly older phone without an updated operating system, you can’t expect it to perform as modern smartphones do. However, with the software it has, Sonim XP7 offers exceptionally reliable performance.

Sonim XP7 Battery

This device’s battery was built to last much longer than what you’re used to with your average smartphone. We’re dealing with a non-removable 4800mAh Li-Ion battery on Sonim XP7.

The battery life is nothing short of spectacular! You get over 12 hours of continuous video streaming or browsing.

The durable battery coupled with a processor that doesn’t have to push too many pixels makes the battery Sonim XP7’s powerful asset. In fact, if you have struggled with battery life on your phones before, this feature alone makes XP7 worthy of your attention.

Sound

We’ve touched on the call quality, but what about the speakers? The first time you look at the Sonim XP7, you might think that it has a front-facing external antenna at the top.

It sure looks like it, but that’s not actually an antenna – it’s a speaker; a very loud and robust speaker. The design perhaps is not ideal and, again, not pocket-friendly, but it ensures you never miss a call.

It’s so loud that even if you were to stand directly under a jet, you’d hear it blaring from your belt. This level of thunder-loud speakers might not be ideal when you’re trying to watch a video, but for receiving calls in noisy environments, it’s perfect.

Screen

The first and most important thing to say about Sonim XP’s screen is that it’s glove-friendly. You don’t have to stop, take a glove off, put it in your pocket or over the shoulder, and then check your phone.

The four-inch screen features 480 x 800-pixel resolution far from impressive but saves battery power and is quite decent.

The Sonim XP7’s screen is bigger than many other Sonim devices because they typically have a physical keyboard. However, this device has Gorilla Glass 2 screen protection which is premium in the world of rugged phones.

Dedicated Keys

At the front, Sonim XP7 has three physical keys, with the ‘’Home’’ button at the center. On the side of the phone, you will find three dedicated keys. You can press the camera button to grab a quick photo.

The SOS button is red and calls your emergency contact. The third button activates the Push-to-Talk service, which is incredibly important in places such as construction sites. Keep in mind that these services, while an option, need to be activated by your carrier first.

Cameras

What we love about Sonim XP7 is that it comes with both rear and front-facing cameras. Even though this is not the phone anyone purchases for taking HD photos, it’s still remarkable that the manufacturer included 8MP quality for the rear camera. The front camera is only 1MP but will do the trick during a video call.

Storage in the Sonim XP7

Finally, we reach Sonim XP7’s weakest point. We’re not saying that 16GB of internal memory is insufficient. It’s likely going to be more than enough for the average user who needs a super-rugged phone.

However, only 12.5GB of internal storage is actually available. Plus, when you consider that the device doesn’t support a MicroSD slot and you can’t expand the storage externally, that can sound disappointing.

This might not be an oversight at all from Sonim, as overburdening this device with apps, pictures, and videos would likely slow it down.

A Few Other Options

multiple colorful home phones

Those looking for a ruggedized smartphone with a reasonable price tag might find it difficult to see any flaws in Sonim XP7. Indeed, there aren’t that many.

However, if it’s a little too bulky for you or you’re not after a smartphone at all, here are three similar but sufficiently different options.

1. Sonim XP5 Ultra-Rugged

sonim xp5 tilted front view

If you like everything about Sonim XP7 except that it’s a smartphone, consider Sonim XP5 ultra-rugged. It doesn’t run on Android OS, but Sonim’s proprietary software.

In many ways, it looks like your old Nokia phone from the early 2000s, but it’s so much more durable. You get 4GB internal memory with the MicroSD slot if you want to expand it (up to 64GB.)

The phone has a physical keyboard and a screen with 240 x 320 resolution. Like XP7, it has a powerful battery and IP68 certification. It’s waterproof and dustproof and one of the best phones to take to work in a loud or hazardous environment.

2. Kyocera DuraForce Pro

kyocera duraforce pro front view

For those looking at the brands outside of Sonim, Kyocera has an excellent selection of rugged smartphones. The Kyocera DuraForce Pro is a popular model as it can withstand all kinds of tasks in various demanding environments.

The phone has MIL-STD 810G and IP68 certification, which means you can take it anywhere with you. Internal memory is 32GB, and external memory is expandable up to 256GB.

The cameras are pretty great too. The rear camera features 13MP, and the front-facing camera is 5MP. The five-inch screen has 1080 x 1920 pix resolution, so you will enjoy watching YouTube videos or streaming.

3. LG X Venture

lg x venture front view

LG X Venture can’t compare to Sonim or Kyocera devices on the ruggedness scale, but it goes much further than your standard smartphone does.

This type of smartphone is best suited for people who might not be working tough jobs but staying active outdoors and having their phone on hand. LG is a very reliable brand, and this device, in particular, runs on Android 7, has 32GB internal memory and a MicroSD slot if you choose to add more.

The rear camera is 16MP which is excellent, and the front-facing camera is 5MP which is more than decent. In terms of ruggedness, the LG X Venture is IP68 compliant and has a Gorilla Glass screen protector.

Final Thoughts on the Sonim XP7

sonim xp7 tilted right front view

For people who require a rugged smartphone that doesn’t flinch when looking at the face of danger – Sonim XP7 is a perfect choice. Imagine dropping the traditional smartphone on the concrete.

You likely shiver at the mere thought. In fact, one of the most significant stresses related to being a smartphone owner is the constant fear of a screen-shattering fall.

None of that is a concern with Sonim XP7. You also can’t scratch it, nor will an accidental drop in the lake kill it. Performance-wise, this phone has everything within reason and a little bit extra. However, if you want a more sophisticated device with equal ruggedness, check out Sonim RS60 or RS80 and experience the latest wonder from Sonim.

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