C Spire adds Sonim Armor XP3400

Though Sonim's ultra-durable phones have been around for years, the Armor XP3400 is the first model to land at a U.S. carrier.

Sonim Armor XP3400 C Spire

Perhaps a name change can give a company a new life.

Indeed, that appears to have been the case for C Spire, the wireless carrier formerly known as Cellular South . Though the company wasn't suffering under its old name, its phone lineup wasn't exactly thrilling. But since the identity switch, it has made some bold handset moves.

First C Spire picked up the iPhone 4S and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, and now it is the first U.S. carrier to offer one of Sonim's extremely durable phones--the Armor XP3400.

Clad in an arresting bulky package with an arresting yellow skin, the XP3400 fits in well with Sonim's previous models. Thanks to a tough exterior and a display covered by Corning Gorilla Glass, the XP3400 is built to take a serious beating. You'll be able to submerge in water, subject to extreme cold and heat, drop it from several feet onto a concrete floor, and expose to a full range of elements.

In CNET's experience Sonim's models have held up under torture tests, though not always. Last January, the XP1300 Core kept on ticking after I dunked it in antifreeze, stomped on the display with a boot, and threw it down the stairs. But just a month later, Jessica Dolcourt managed to break the display on the XP3300 Force after throwing the handset in the air. That's a much better record than most cell phones even if it isn't perfect.

Features on the XP3400 include nine hours of talk time, a music player, Bluetooth, an FM radio, voice commands, a 2-megapixel camera with a flash that double as a light, and support for 3G networks. The handset is available now for $49,99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 rebate card.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.


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