Grab your Gore-Tex and hike up your hiking socks, because we're going where few gadget lovers have gone before: outdoors. The Samsung B2700 Bound is a rugged phone that invites us to take it cycling, rock climbing and trekking in the wild, and has some fun features like an LED torch to help out around camp. But high-end features such as GPS are nowhere to be found, so you won't be too troubled if this candybar phone gets eaten by a bear.
You can pick up the B2700 on 3 from free on a £15-per-month contract, or SIM-free from eXpansys for £182.
The B2700 is 'IP54 certified', which means that it's fairly well-protected against dust, and some splashes of water won't cause it to give up the ghost. It's by no means indestructible, but it's a huge contrast to the prima-donna fancy-pants phones out there, such as the iPhone, which apparently can fail if you hold it in a sweaty hand. This could really come in handy if you're hitting the trails on a wet day, but don't try strapping the phone to the outside of your kayak and doing Eskimo rolls.
To get that damp, dust-free rating, the B2700 has a plastic cover over a socket shared by the USB cable and headphones, and you'll need a coin to pry open the back cover. The whole handset is also covered in a rubbery case that should be able to take some tumbles, although Samsung makes no promises about how many hits it can survive.
The B2700 also has a rubbery keypad that will keep out the dirt, but the buttons are harder to press than a keyboard with independent, separated keys. We found we had to press the keys quite hard to make our intentions known, and you certainly wouldn't be able to type a text with your ski gloves on.
The B2700 has a couple of special features to tempt the nature boy or girl, including a built-in compass with an altimeter. It feels rather basic when compared to the mapping features on a phone such as the HTC Magic, however, which has a compass that works in tandem with Google Maps. Since Google Maps is Web-based, it's not much use outside of network coverage areas, but we would have loved to have seen a sat-nav feature with downloadable maps on this phone.
There is a pedometer built-in, but we didn't find it very accurate. Maybe it's our gazelle-like grace, but it didn't count half of our steps, leaving us without proof of our incredible stamina.
The final treat for the roaming phoner is the B2700's LED torch, which turns on and off with a dedicated button on the side. It's only got one LED, but that little lamp really pumps out the lumens. We thought it would be a great backup when we're stumbling home to the tent after a session of feeding the trees. There's even a sturdy spot to attach a lanyard, so you won't drop it on the way.