Sonim XP7 Extreme ReviewEven though I’m an Apple die-hard, I do have an Android tablet and Chromebook — both of which I quite like — so my devotion isn’t quite at the expense of all others. I love my iPhone, but I won’t argue that it is the most durable (or inexpensive) smartphone on the market. In fact, the glass is fairly fragile, and I really don’t want to pay full-freight to replace a completely broken iPhone.An excellent argument can be made that motorcyclists need a more durable phone than the average person, and that means a bike-only device may be in order. Billed as “the world’s most rugged unlocked LTE/WiFi/Android smartphone” by Sonim — with a serious three-year warranty — we put the Sonim XP7 Extreme through the wringer. The good news is that it came out the other side unscathed.
To check its resistance to vibration, we put it in the glove compartment of a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide we were testing, where it would shake all day long. After our trip was over, the XP7 was no worse for wear. Even more impressive, with the Glympse GPS-based program running all day, the battery prevailed — that’s something the iPhone can’t do.We had a snowstorm while out test riding a Yamaha YZ250FX in the mountains. The temperature was in the 20s, which didn’t phase it. We dropped it in the snow, and picked it up, and it was still fully functional with our Fly Racing 907 Cold Weather gloves on.After the snow melted, it was time for some serious mud on a Husqvarna FE 501 S. This time, the XP7 got tossed into the muck, stepped on by Sidi Crossfire boots, retrieved, and put to the test. As if it had been safely ensconced in my truck’s center console, the XP7 worked without a hitch, even with motorcycle gloves on.This isn’t a personal watercraft magazine, so the toughest waterproofing challenge came from the bathtub. There, the XP7 was subjected to a flood of running water before it was left submerged for a while — Sonim says it’s good for 30 minutes in 6.5 feet of water. You guessed it — no problem.Claiming to be resistant to dropping, we tossed it over our shoulder onto concrete. There were no ill effects. Keep the drops under 6.5 feet, Sonim advises.As a smartphone, the Sonim XP7 Extreme works like any other Android device. With a 1.2 GHz Quad core processor and an 800 x 480 pixel resolution display, it’s a pleasure to use. LTE performance is strong, as is its multiband WiFi.The 8-megapixel camera (1 MP for selfies) performed well in the field, especially considering the beating the phone was taking. There is some in-phone processing to images that can make them look better or worse, depending on your taste. The XP7 also takes nice 1080p HD videos, even under less than ideal conditions.Weighing over 10 ounces and physically large, the Sonim XP7 Extreme might not be your everyday smartphone. But, if you ride in challenging conditions, it is a superb durable, high- performance option.For additional information, visit Sonim.Review from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.