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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.