Tagged: rugged

Bell launches world's toughest phone: The Sonim Bolt XP5520

You’ve got to love yellow and black when they’re used together. No other colour combination says “I’m tough as nails”. Tractors, cranes, front-end loaders – heck just about every serious piece of machinery whether meant for construction  – or destruction  – can be found sporting this eye-catching motif.

So it won’t surprise you to find out that the Sonim Bolt XP5520 (pictured right) is a tough phone.

But what might surprise you is that the Bolt is not only tough, it’s the toughest phone on the planet and Sonim has the Guiness World Record to prove it.

Related: Extreme Tech – Gadgets That Can Survive The Elements

You might also be surprised by some of the other specs on this industrial-strength communicator:

  • PTT (Push-to-talk) capability over 4G networks: This is the walkie-talkie function that lets you chat to one or many other PTT users with just a click on a single button.
  • Super long battery life (up to 12 hours of talk time)
  • 3-year comprehensive warranty (If you manage to break this phone, Sonim will take it back simply to learn how to make their products tougher)
  • Insanely loud ringer and speaker phone: If you work on a job site, there’s no way you’ll hear an iPhone when it rings
  • Dust proof
  • Shock proof
  • Drop proof (and we mean really drop proof)
  • Water proof: You could even take this thing scuba diving
  • Extreme temperature-resistant

When we got word of this supremely heavy duty phone, we were naturally dubious of some of the claims. We suggested that Sonim lend a pair of Bolts to our buddies at Sympatico Autos so they could run a little torture test on the device to see how it fared in real-world conditions. That is if by real-world you mean running over it with a truck, tossing it from the tops of grain silos and dragging it like a rag-doll on a dirt road going 50 km/h.

So how did the Bolt do? Check out the video to find out.

If the Bolt sounds like the phone for you, Bell today announced that they are the exclusive carrier of the super-tough handset, not to mention the first carrier in North America to offer the PTT-over-4G functionality that makes the Bolt such an ideal field-companion. The Sonim Bolt is available for $99 on a 3-year contract.

Disclosure: Sync.ca is owned and operated by Bell Media, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Canada.

CES: Watch a hard drive get zapped with 1,000,000 volts


You have to love the guys from ioSafe. They make what might just be the most durable and disaster-proof drives outside of a military installation.

They also have a penchant for over-the-top demos at the Consumer Electronics Show that go to extreme lengths to prove that their products can take a beating.

Last year, we took pot-shots at their Rugged Portable Hard Drive with 12-gauge shotguns.

This year, ioSafe President Robb Moore and his courageous entourage decided to literally amp-up their show.

To demonstrate to the media just how much of a hit their drives can take, they hired none other than Dr. Megavolt a.k.a Austin Richards, to zap their new Thunderbolt Edition Rugged Portable with 1 million volts of electricity courtesy of a Tesla coil which apparently Dr. Megavolt never leaves home without.

As you can see from the video, the Doctor didn’t disappoint. We were treated to quite the show. And yes, the hard drive survived to tell the tale.

And though there’s no question that ioSafe builds one heck of a tough product, they haven’t actually designed the Rugged Portable to be electrocution-proof per se.

It’s ability to survive such extreme conditions results mostly from its construction: the case is built from a solid billet of aluminium, and the drive’s internals are insulated from direct contact. Because electricity always flows around the outside of an object (even one being subjected to a million volts), the aluminium case acts as a protective conduit for the massive charge, keeping the guts of the drive from being fried.

The demo was impressive to say the least, but Moore was also quick to point out that despite the drive’s ability to divert the flow of a direct-hit from a Tesla coil, a power surge from your home electrical system would be a different matter altogether. That’s because such a surge – even a minor one – travels directly through the cables connected to the drive and thus can reach those sensitive areas that physically store your data.

So while the Rugged Portable might well be able to survive a lightning strike if it happens to be in your pocket at the time, you should still invest in a decent surge protector and UPS for your gear at home.