Sonim XP3 Sentinel review: Man down!

Tired of crushing weak, puny mobile phones in your awesome kung-fu grip? Or just tend to drop your phone in the toilet? Either way, you need the Sonim XP3 Sentinel

Flora Graham
2 min read

Forget cracked screens and pink phones. The Sonim XP3 Sentinel is so tough, just holding it makes our pale, flaccid nerd arms look like the bulging biceps of Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster.

Put aside your weak, crackable iPhone 4s. The XP3 is impervious to dust, impact-proof up to a drop of 2 metres on to concrete, and has a gorilla-glass screen for extreme shock and scratch resistance. It's also submersible up to 1 metre underwater for 30 minutes, and you'd better believe we're making calls down there.

But the XP3 doesn't just survive our dangerous lifestyle -- it rescues us too. The phone's 'man down' feature uses its on-board accelerometer to detect free-fall, impact (including car crashes) and lack of movement for a set time. If you're the man down in question, you can program the phone to call your nearest and dearest, or you can subscribe to a 24-hour monitoring service. 

A no-movement sensor may seem like overkill when we spend every night immobile in front of our laptops, but we still like the idea that we can dial our favourite person by pushing the huge 'red alert' button on the side of the phone -- although our other halves may not appreciate us screaming, "Man down, man down!" in their ears at the start of every call. And a phone that can go in the tub, rather than pack it in at the first breath of a foggy day, sounds awesome.

We took the XP3 Sentinel for a hands-on test drive in Crave towers, a environment where every moment could be your last and only the strong survive. The phone looks appropriately kick-ass in person, while the user interface reminds us of a basic, well-loved Nokia from the old days. The screen was sharper and better looking than previous rugged phones we've seen, such as the Samsung B2100 Solid Extreme.

We were impressed by the phone's ability to sense falling, deceleration and even unexpected tilting -- although since we're not lumberjacks or oil-refinery workers, most of these features would probably only come in handy on a really serious night out.

The XP3 can also track your whereabouts using its GPS receiver, if you activate the feature and subscribe to a service such as trackaphone. For the truly paranoid, you can set it to make an emergency call if you've been out of touch for a set period of time.

We don't yet know how much the XP3 will cost, but we do know it'll be available SIM-free and unlocked from resellers such as Enduromobile (surely the manliest of all phone retailers). Sonim is also working on bringing it to networks so we can pick it up on an intensely macho contract.