From the makers of the Cat smartphones (which we like a lot), comes the Land Rover Explore. It offers the same amount of durability as the Cat phones but provides it in a package that doesn’t look too out of sorts on the boardroom table. Here are three key things about this new rugged smartphone.
1. Battery Life
The Explore is an outdoor phone through and through, but perhaps the most important tick on its scoresheet is the battery. It comes standard with a 4000 mA unit, a fair bit larger than the 3000 mAh found on most higher end smartphones. This means, depending of browsing and YouTube habits, it should last through the night and into the next day.
Now, add to this the included Adventure Pack, which boasts a 3620 mAh battery plus a Ceramic Patch GPS antenna. It snaps onto the back of the phone through magnets and proves its worth out in the bundus without access to power or data towers to help centre your position.
Yes, it does make the phone a fair amount heavier and bulkier, so much so that you can’t really wear this comfortably in your pocket anymore. That’s why the included case and carabiner is so important. This allows you to clip the whole unit onto a belt or backpack, keeping in mind that you’ve now obviously trekked away from the office space and are hiking somewhere without meetings or a water cooler. If you want a massive 7 620 mAh battery, you won’t find it anywhere else except on the Land Rover Explore phone.
2. Landy Looks
The phone isn’t called a Land Rover phone for nothing. Its heritage is evident in the some of the design elements onboard, taking its cue from the Land Rover Discovery. Most obvious is the grill found at the bottom of the screen, with “Land Rover” noticeably positioned below. When looking at the phone, its form and the way it curves certainly reminds one of a Landy, while you also have the roof ‘slits’ present on the back of the phone.
Being a rugged device it’s waterproof and shockproof (MIL SPEC 810G), and of course it comes with a full HD 5” Gorilla Glass screen. The Land Rover Explore is a phone that, much like the Land Rover Discovery, is as comfortable in the city as it is in bush. If you want the ruggedness of the Cat phone, but also want something a bit sleeker, well this is it.
3. Where are the dual cameras?
That said, for a phone that will spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, you want the camera to perform as best as possible for those great landscape shots. The 16 MP camera does a decent job, but with dual-cameras, wide-angles and some pretty amazing imagery coming from Samsung and Huawei, the Land Rover Explore ultimately fell short. With photography playing such a key role in the smartphone market, hopefully getting dual lenses onboard for version two is something the Bullitt group is looking at.
4. And the innards
The Land Rover Explore is no slouch thanks to 4 GB RAM and the MediaTek Deca Core 2.6 GHz Helio X27 chipset running the game. This puts it in upper half of the midrange market, helped along with a decent of 64 GB storage space, with a microSD slot to boot.
On the software side, you do get the Dashboard that brings together things such as altitude, weather info and GPS position, while the ViewRanger mapping app is also available (strong in Europe, not so much locally).
While the Cat phones incorporate an app hub for all things DIY, the Land Rover phone does the same with an Explore Hub that contain loads of relevant outdoor/tracking/activity apps. If you find yourself slightly lost or need info about your position and weather conditions, you can click on the Dashboard app icon. This opens up another hub of sorts, incorporating things like compass, GPS position, current weather and altitude. It’s another way the Land Rover phone makes you feel ready to go and explore.
R13 500 for the Land Rover Explore is not exactly cheap, but you are getting a rugged phone with spiffy looks. Pretty much like any Land Rover we suppose. It’s available from www.ruggedphones.co.za or certain cellular providers.