NEWS

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Hands On with the new Crosscall Trekker X2 Rugged Smartphone

 

After losing not one but two! regular mobile phones on the same day due to water damage (including one very popular consumer device which claimed to be IP57 water resistant) I was given the opportunity to test the new rugged Crosscall Trekker X2 smartphone for a week as my main phone (does every cloud has a silver lining?).

French manufacturer Crosscall currently produce 3 Android rugged smartphones and the Crosscall Trekker X2 is the middle-of-the-road version but from the outset the X2 clearly defines what you’d expect to see in a fully rugged drop tested IP67 phone. It’s form factor is "big". This is not only expected for a rugged unit but useful in harsher conditions when you need to wear gloves to operate the screen but still be able to hold unit comfortably. This not only gives added additional protection to the screen and its internals but also allows the unit to have a larger battery capacity for longer operation.

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Display – Bright enough for outdoor use with solid finger touch input and responsive. The display is not as bright as some but it does perform well in high natural light, even in direct sunshine I can easily navigate the OS without issue. Gorilla Glass is quite common on smartphones these days and even present on the Crosscall M1 but the X2 features specialised toughened glass dubbed “Dragontrail” which not only is super tough but adds wet touch to the display. Being mid-summer in the UK I got to test the wet touch feature on the first day and it works very well. The display is responsive and due to the rugged build of the phone it’s very difficult to accidently hit the screen due to the oversized bezel.

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Battery life – Outstanding, full two days on a single charge. This was one of my main likes about the X2, the battery life is amazing. I’ve been managing a full two days on one charge with my standard use including the original set-up. My daily use includes Bluetooth for music/podcasts, WiFi for internet browsing and emails, google maps on my hourly commute to and from work and calls to the office and personal. The battery life will vary per user but if you’re looking for a guaranteed solid days’ work then you’re in the right area.

OS – From factory setting the X2 utilises the Android set-up procedure, if you have an existing google account and settings on another phone you have the option to transfer all settings and applications and the unit will set itself up autonomously. If your new to Android or setting up a new account (personal or work) then the OS will take you through the process. The Android OS is full of shortcuts and quick gestures so although you will be ready to go almost instantly Android will take a little bit of time learning all manner of shortcuts to applications and tricks to speed up your interactions, the majority of these are intuitive.

Ports – Excellent. The rubber I/O port seals are very tightly fit giving confidence when using in the rain or overly dusty areas. In fact, the ports seem to be over designed, which actually gives me added confidence in holding back any unwanted liquids from spills or drops. The ports also look like they will last the course instead of covers which are held on with thin strips of rubber which eventually end up snapping, plus they’re user replaceable.

GPS – Very accurate and very fast to gather satellite signals. My commute involves being able to avoid traffic, so I generally have google maps with live traffic running continuously so I can avoid the inevitable traffic jams. With constant updated traffic status, the GPS assisted navigation re-routing works well, at least better than the UK road network.

Sound quality – Great. Callers can be heard clearly in high winds and by the side of a busy road as the speaker volume on the X2 delivers not just high pitch but the body of the unit gives a mid-bass sound which helps with clarity. Ring tones are crisp and incoming email notifications are prompt.

Size – As mentioned above, the Crosscall Trekker X2 takes a little to get used to but all in all gives a great feel of security in a rugged device. The chassis is built to last and only serves to protect the inner components. It’s streets away from a consumer device in terms of ultra thin, slimline design but for a rugged device it’s actually reassuring to be continously reminded the phone in hand is built to survive drops and downpours.

Camera – 13MP, performs average. With default settings I’ve not been overly satisfied with the camera but it does serve its purpose. I noticed an update before handing the device back at the end of the week so maybe this added new features but the resolution detail of the final picture leaves a little to be desired. I’ve used lower mega-pixel cameras which produce a far better image so perhaps my settings were incorrect or maybe the way forward would be to install the update and spend a little more time in the settings. As an example I’ve snapped the below image using the Trekker X2’s built-in camera with no post editing effects:

RawView full image here

Conclusion - The Crosscall Trekker X2 would be my main choice if I were looking for a device that’s intended to be used daily and for field work. It’s not actually been designed for the consumer market, unless you’re into extreme activities, so apart from my issues with the camera I’m happy to report it performs everyday tasks excellently. One thing to keep in mind is the cost. It would be wrong to compare against current top-of-the-line superphones as the X2 is designed to be rugged at a fraction of the entry level price. This gives it an attractive angle when choosing devices for your mobile workforce and coupled with the sheer ruggedness of the X2 it would be tough to recommend a better rugged smartphone for 2016.

More details and full pricing can be found here

 

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