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Rugged smartphones aren’t something you see on the streets often, but they’re certainly a necessity for field-based professionals. Such devices are not just a means of communication but reliable work companions with an extremely durable build and advanced characteristics. Released back in 2018, Sonim XP8 remains one of the best rugged smartphones on the market.
In this review, we’ll take a detailed look at the features of Sonim XP8 to determine whether it’s worth your investment.
- Quick Summary
- Key Specifications
- History of Sonim Company
- Sonim XP8 Alternatives
- The Ultimate Working Machine for Professionals
Overall, Sonim provides all the features expected of a top-level smartphone along with additional perks dedicated to fieldwork. An ultra-rugged construction, and liquid and dust resistance make this device practically indestructible. Useful extras, such as programmable keys, push-to-talk feature, accelerometer, barometer, and gyro, will be appreciated by professionals in many industries. These include construction, healthcare, the emergency services, delivery firms, and manufacturing. For an average retail price of $700, Sonim XP8 beats all competitors in terms of quality and value.
Our Score: 4.7/5
- Ultra-rugged build
- Two high-resolution cameras
- Programmable buttons and SOS-button
- Push-to-talk, three mics, and ultra-loud speaker
- Accelerometer, barometer, gyro, proximity, and compass
- Powerful removable battery ad Quick Charge support
- Great value
- The RAM and SSD memory could be improved
Now that you know what the Sonim XP8 has to offer, it’s time to take a more detailed look at the key specifications.
Sonim XP8 runs on Android 8.1.0 Oreo and is upgradeable to Android 10. That’s the same Android you’re likely familiar with, used in other smartphones such as Samsung or Sony. Therefore, lengthy training to familiarize employees with the device isn’t necessary. While the icon design and layout differ slightly from Android devices of other brands, the core functionality remains unchanged. Sonim XP8 can’t be upgraded to the latest Android 11, though the Oreo version has its strong sides. The interface is user-friendly and highly customizable. In this respect, Android 10 is similar but provides a smoother, faster response and a better CPU usage optimization.
In addition to a regular Android interface, you can opt for SonimWare software that provides a range of professional tools. These include inventory management, SOS-alarms, device management, cloud storage, and others. You can manage all Sonim devices within your company and view the data from a single user-friendly dashboard.
The device features a Qualcomm Snapdragon SM630 processor along with Octa-Core 2.2 hertz chipset. Whilst not the latest Snapdragon processor version available, it is powerful enough to handle most major software requirements. In comparison, the same processor was in theSony Xperia 8, released at the end of 2019, and Asus Zenfone 5. In other words, at the time Sonim XP8 was released, Snapdragon SM630 was considered the highest industry standard and remains worthy to this day. A potent chipset optimizes the battery usage, extending the device’s lifetime, and helps to cut app loading times.
Like any smartphone, Sonim XP8 was created to keep you connected in the first place. The device has two SIM-card slots. With wide-range LTE, UMTS, CDMA, and GSM connectivity, Sonim XP8 was built to transfer your data in any conditions. Dual-band, five or 2.4-hertz Wi-Fi connectivity enables you to use high-speed internet when possible. Assisted GPS (A-GPS) ensures you’ll find the right route no matter where you go. For quick file transfer, Sonim XP8 features Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and a USB-C 2.0 port.
Field assignments often involve working in scorching hot weather, in wet or dusty conditions, or in extreme temperatures. A 5-inch display of Sonim XP8 was created with harsh environments in mind. It can withstand intense physical pressure, thanks to the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating, and is readable even under direct sunlight. Better still, Sonim XP8 works with gloves or with wet hands. A 16:9 ratios are traditional for modern smartphones and perfect for most purposes, be it watching videos or running software.
The build is what distinguishes the Sonim XP8 from other smartphones on the market. The device is classified as ultra-rugged and holds an IP-69 certificate, so it’s dust and waterproof. Sonim XP8 withstands submersion in liquids, even chemicals, to a depth of up to 1.5 meters for half an hour. Military-grade MILL-STD-810 protection ensures Sonim XP8 can handle drops from four feet height to hard surfaces like concrete without any damage. The device can also withstand extreme temperatures. It’s an ideal device for any field professional, be it firefighter, policeman, or building contractor. Resistance to chemicals makes Sonim XP8 great for healthcare workers. Such characteristics, however, result in above average weight for a smartphone – 335 grams.
Sonim XP8 is a device that keeps you connected at all times, no matter how long your shift. A 4900mAh battery ensures up to 30 hours of talk time and up to 70 hours of multimedia. The standby time is about 720 hours which equals a whole month. Thus, Sonim XP8 is suitable even for expeditions to the farthest ends of our planet. What’s more, the battery is removable and replaceable, extending the potential user time if you have several pieces. The device supports Quick Charge 4 technology and can charge to 50% in about 15 minutes, depending on the charger.
As Sonim XP8 is a professional device designed to handle various software, it features 4 gigabytes of RAM memory. That isn’t the biggest among modern smartphones but it is comparable to iPad Pro 2018, which was also designed as a portable working station. A 64-gigabyte internal SSD memory enables you to store all the necessary files on the device without the need for external disks. That’s important as most external memory disks are vulnerable to bumps, drops, and extreme temperatures, unlike Sonim XP8. The memory card can be replaced with a higher capacity version, up to 128 gigabytes.
Now we’ve come to the most fascinating part about the Sonim XP8. Like any smartphone nowadays, Sonim XP8 features rear and front cameras with 12- and 8-megapixel resolution accordingly. However, the device also offers an accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, and compass, replacing a large part of your professional equipment.
With SonimWare software, an industry-leading inventory management tool, you can turn the Sonim XP8 into a proper barcode scanner. It enables the device to scan up to 45 barcodes a minute, a result not even specifically dedicated devices can achieve. Sonim XP8 recognizes both 1D and 2D barcodes and can scan multiple barcodes in a row. Due to this feature, the device is ideal for utilization in the manufacturing, delivery, and healthcare industries.
Sonim XP8 comes with a built-in SonimWare Scout software for device configuration and management and SOS feature. Other tools, such as SonimWare Scan and Cloud, must be installed separately.
Sonim XP8’s microphone provides excellent noise cancellation with three mics and over 100-decibel speaker output, solving a common issue of working in the field. The push-to-talk button converts the smartphone into a real walkie-talkie. Programmable keys on the side enable you to quickly access the most-used features. Finally, the device has an SOS-key to ensure your safety at all times.
When it comes to fieldwork, compatibility with accessories and their availability is an important aspect. Sonim offers a wide range of native accessories for the XP8, such as:
- Remote speakers and microphones
- Holsters and protectors
- Replaceable batteries
- Car and wall chargers
- Wired and wireless headsets
None of the accessories are included in the set.
The manufacturer recommended retail price of Sonim XP8 is $700. The device comes with a three-year comprehensive warranty. Being an official Sonim distributor, Energy Electronics offers the best prices for bulk orders. Contact us for more information or a quote if you wish to invest in Sonim XP8.
History of Sonim Company
Based in Austin, Texas, Sonim leads the US market in producing ultra-rugged mobile devices. All Sonim products are dedicated to meeting the needs of professionals working in demanding, extreme environments. Sonim’s core objective is to provide a variety of communication and connectivity tools critical to both industrial enterprises and public sector workers. The company’s clients include professionals involved in construction, energy, utility, hospitality, logistics, manufacturing, public safety, and other industries.
Sonim’s products fall under three categories: ultra-rugged mobile devices, industrial-grade accessories, and cloud-based software. The SonimWare barcode scanning software is one of the top-rated inventory management tools available.
Sonim XP8 Alternatives
Any device must be evaluated in comparison with its competitors to get an accurate understanding of its quality. Below, we’ll list the best alternatives to Sonim XP8:
1. Cat S60
Caterpillar is another widely-known brand specializing in field equipment, including mobile devices. Priced in the same bracket as Sonim XP8, Cat S60 features MIL-STD-810 and IP-68 compliance. In terms of build, therefore, the devices are twins. However, Cat S60 has a lower-capacity internal memory of 32 gigabytes and no barcode scanner or programmable keys. The push-to-talk feature also isn’t supported. The good news is, Cat S60 has an accelerometer, proximity, and compass. The battery is also slightly weaker, 3800 mAh as opposed to Sonim’s 4900mAh, with an older version of Quick Charge 2 support. Finally, Cat S60 runs on an older Android version, 6.0 Marshmallow, and has a weaker processor – Snapdragon 617.
2. Sonim XP7
Sonim XP7, XP8’s predecessor, is currently significantly cheaper and may be a tempting alternative. While the build is just as strong, Sonim XP7 loses in all other specifications. Running on an outdated Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, it can’t compete with Sonim XP8 in speed and interface convenience. One-gigabyte RAM memory is four times lower than that offered by Sonim XP8. The SSD memory capacity is only 16 gigabytes with no possibility to expand it. The good thing is, the battery is just as long-lasting, ensuring up to 40 hours of talk time and up to 1,000 hours of standby. Although the XP7 features an accelerometer and proximity, it lacks a barometer and gyro.
To conclude, no price can justify such a significant difference in characteristics. With the XP8, Sonim has improved on just about everything while keeping the device affordable. Thus, the Sonim XP8 is a clear winner.
3. Kyocera Duraforce XD
Kyocera Duraforce XD is priced on the same level as Sonim XP7. It’s MIL-STD-810 and IP-68 compliant, features an accelerometer, barometer, gyro, proximity, and compass, and great connectivity options, including NFC and Bluetooth 4.1. However, here’s where the similarities with the Sonim XP8 end.
Kyocera Duraforce XD has a 3700mAh battery providing up to 23 hours of talk time and no Quick Charge support. The rear and front cameras have 8- and 2-megapixel resolution accordingly as opposed to Sonim’s 12 and 8. Running on an outdated Android 5.1 Lollipop and Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, Kyocera Duraforce XD isn’t nearly as fast and powerful. Finally, there’s no barcode scanner. As scanners are costly, by saving on mobile devices, you’ll likely need to invest even more in additional equipment.
The Ultimate Working Machine for Professionals
As our detailed feature overview shows, Sonim XP8 offers the best value on the market, providing both advanced technical and physical features. Combined with SonimWare software, this device is the ultimate working machine for professionals in a wide range of industries. The built-in barcode scanner eliminates the need to purchase additional equipment, making Sonim XP8 a smart investment. Finally, Sonim XP8’s main competitors, although produced by industry-leading companies, lose in nearly every category.
If you’re looking for an even more advanced device for your business, take a look at new Sonim devices, the RS60 and RS80. Both running on Android 10 and upgradeable to newer versions, these devices utilize one of the most powerful current processors, Qualcomm MSM8953 Pro. With the same ultra-rugged build, connectivity possibilities, and scanning software, Sonim RS60 and RS80 have even better batteries of 8000 and 8200 mAh accordingly.Energy Electronics is a certified retailer of Sonim products. Contact us for more information on devices or a quote on bulk orders. We strive to always offer the most competitive prices and personalized customer service.