Sonim XP8 Review: Still Good in 2021? [Comprehensive Review]

A Comprehensive Review on Sonim XP8.

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A lot of people believe Sonim XP8 to be one of the toughest smartphones out there. But, before you make a buying decision, you probably want to know if this is true or just another marketing gimmick.  In this guide, we will review Sonim XP8 in detail so you can make an informed decision. We’ll take a look at:

  • How Sonim XP8 is different than other phones
  • Build & Durability
  • Unique Features
  • Specifications
  • Pros and Cons
  • Criticism
  • Where you can get the Sonim XP8
  • And what are some good alternatives

Let’s get started!

How is Sonim XP8 Different Compared to Other Smartphones?

While most smartphones are designed for everyday users, rugged phones like Sonim XP8 are specifically designed for a particular user in mind. Sonim XP8 is an excellent example of a smartphone designed for extreme circumstances, the ones that emergency and military workers encounter every day. It can also be effectively used by contractors, mountain climbers, and people who need a rugged, waterproof phone.

The average phones designed for casual users are quite delicate, and hence, prone to breaking. But, this is not the case with Sonim XP8.  because its design and hardware are constructed to handle everything you can throw at it. 

When checking for its water-proofing capabilities, Sonim XP8 was submerged in three-foot deep water for 15 minutes, and to our surprise, the phone came out undamaged. 

But does it prove that Sonim XP8 is tough? Absolutely not. So we looked at a drop test from a height of 6 feet. It turns out that the Sonim XP8 survived that as well. Pretty impressive.

So, it’s evident that Sonim XP8 is much more durable and waterproof than other ordinary smartphones like the Samsung S21, which is habitual of breaking in drop tests. 

Let’s take a look at the device’s features in detail below.

1. Build & Durability – Strong But Not Indestructible

The Sonim XP8 is an excellent example of sturdiness in smartphones. It can resist water, high temperatures, dust, and impact without being damaged.

The device has an endurance rating of IP-68 and IP-69 against dust and water. The digits in the rating define the level of endurance against dust and water.

The Sonim XP8’s rating against military-grade equipment stands at MIL 810G. It means that while other smartphones could only endure the drop test to plywood over concrete from 4 feet, Sonim went a step further and conducted a drop test from 6 feet and survived.

Besides being drop-proof, the XP8 can withstand vibrations from 5Hz to 500Hz and shocks of up to 30G.

Lastly, it has non-incendive Class I, II, and III div 2 ratings. This indicates that the device was tested in hazardous environment locations and came out undamaged.

2. Unique Features

What makes the Sonim XP8 stand out among other smartphones is its unique design and features.

Design

The overall design of Sonim XP8 resembles a walkie-talkie. The phone weighs 335 grams and is currently only available in black color.

There is a unique combination of dedicated keys like the SOS Red Alert and PTT key. You can use these keys during unforeseen circumstances, such as triggering emergency calls and sending notifications to contacts with a single press of a button.

The device also houses five ports. You can find the USB Type-C charging port at the bottom of the phone, along with a rubber covering. The phone also has a Sonim Secure Audio Connector that connects the speaker and remote mic.

Camera

The device features one front-facing and one rear camera.

The rear camera offers 12MP and is accompanied by a flash. In addition to this, there is a Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) as well. This feature provides an automatic focus on a subject.

On the front side, the Sonim XP8 comes with a decent 8MP camera but doesn’t have a flash. Both the rear and the front camera can record videos at 1080p.

Display

The Sonim XP8 houses a relatively small display screen of 5 inches and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, a total of 441 pixels per inch. Moreover, the display screen has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection which is quite average.

Sensors

The phone optimizes different sensors to make it as responsive as possible. These include:

  • Proximity sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Compass 
  • Barometer

While the accelerometer and gyroscope work together to detect movements, the proximity sensor detects when the phone is near the face while the user is on a call. It then turns off the display to stop keypad presses.

The ambient sensor detects light, and the barometer detects the surroundings, such as the altitudes and the weather. Lastly, the compass detects the geographical location of the user.

Audio

The ultra-rugged mobile phone features front-facing speakers and noise cancellation technology with an output of more than 100db.

3. Specifications

Processor

The device is equipped with an Octa-core chipset capable of running at a 2.2GHz clock speed. In addition to this, it has a RAM of 4GB and powered by Android 10 or Android OREO (8.1.0) operating system, depending on where you get your phone.

Battery

The Sonim XP8 supports a 4900mAh battery that can be removed as well. It has a standby time of up to 720 hours and extensive 30 hours of talk time. As the phone is geared up with Qualcomm Quick Charger 4, the latest Qualcomm charger, it maximizes the device’s charging speed.

Storage

The phone has an internal memory of 64GB, out of which only 45 GB is available to the users. That’s because pre-installed apps are taking up the phone’s memory. But, there is a microSD card slot in the phone as well. This gives the option to extend the memory by up to 128GB.

Connectivity

The phone can get coverage from different networks such as UMTS or 4G LTE. Each network is capable of achieving multiple connection bands. The phone lets the users insert dual SIM cards. However, the SIM cards need to be in Nano type (the smallest) for the connection to be activated.

The users can connect to the public safety network with the help of B14 and FirstNet. Additionally, Bluetooth 5.0 allows wireless transfers, and the Wi-Fi enables the users to connect to a hotspot.

Is Sonim XP8 Still Relevant in 2021?

While the Sonim XP8 was released in April of 2018, it is still quite relevant. That’s because it can still compete with other newer rugged phones such as the Ulefone Armor 10 or the DOOGEE S96 Pro.

One of the most relevant features of the smartphone is its battery which can last for an entire day. Even if your battery dies, the Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 will ensure a speedy charge.

According to a report published in USA Today, smartphones today are seven times dirtier than toilets. While many mobile phones are waterproof these days, this doesn’t mean they can be submerged in a disinfectant as the Sonim XP8 can.

The highest endurance rating makes the aggressive disinfecting and cleaning possible without the phone getting damaged.

While this phone is an older one and compatible with 4G LTE, it can’t handle 5G. If 5G speed is important to you, look for other rugged phones, such as the OUKITEL WP10 or the Ulefone Armor 11

So, Why is Sonim XP8 Different?

The Sonim XP8 can survive many difficult situations where other smartphones would have readily given up.

Sonim XP8 Review: Still Good in 2021? [Comprehensive Review]

This phone definitely comes in handy if you work in harsh environments because of its high endurance rating. The rating of IP-68 and IP-69 can resist dust and water more than any ordinary smartphone.

“We recently had a tourist fish out a Sonim device lost on a Jet Ski patrol in mid-2019. We dried the device off and turned it on to find it fully functioning after a year of being underwater.”

-David Vaughan, South Walton Fire District, Beach Safety Director

The 5-inch display is designed so that gloved hands can access the applications and programmable buttons with ease in any condition. It is also fully operational in extreme weather conditions, such as temperatures ranging from -4° F to 131° F.

This is what makes the device particularly useful for frontline workers, military personnel, construction workers that require immediate communication under harsh conditions. It can also be a good choice for the people who love to stay outdoors, such as hikers and campers.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of the Sonim XP8:

ProsCons
– An outstanding endurance rating
-Water-proof
-Dust-proof
-Shatter-proof
-Expandable storage
-Dual SIM
-Great battery life
-Puncture-resistant glove and wet compatible touchscreen
-Several accessories can be used with the phone
-The phone has a bulky design compared to current smartphones
-Smaller display compared to other smartphones
-Low camera quality

Darker Side of Sonim XP8

Apart from knowing what’s great about the product, it is equally important to consider what sucks about this phone. 

If you have been searching for a rugged phone, you know that most of these phones don’t have 5-star ratings. They seem to miss the mark. And it’s no different with the Sonim XP8.

Some users report that Sonim is not standing behind its 3-year warranty. 

As you know, this phone is not designed for the usual market, and the specifications are also not the most impressive for its price.

It has a screen-to-body percentage of 57.07% and a display screen of 5 inches. We expected the phone with a macho-like appearance to at least have a larger screen. Even some of the low-range phones have a wider display screen than that of the Sonim XP8. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection is also quite average, as we expect Gorilla Glass 5 in some of the other tough smartphones.

While we live in an era of sleek and slim smartphones, the Sonim XP8’s design is quite bulky. It weighs 335g, so it is not the first choice of the common people when buying a smartphone for their daily use.

Where Can I Get the Sonim XP8

You can get this phone from the carriers or on Amazon;

What Are Some Other Good Rugged Phones?

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Before we conclude, let’s check out the most frequently asked questions that people have in mind while searching for Sonim XP8.

Is the Sonim XP8 Waterproof?

Yes, the Sonim XP8 is waterproof. It has received an endurance rating of IP-68 and IP-69 against water and dust, which means it can survive both high and low-temperature water.

Is Sonim XP8 5G Compatible?

No, Sonim XP8 is not 5G compatible. It uses 4G LTE. But, we are expecting Sonim to come up with a 5G version soon.

Does Sonim XP8 have wireless charging?

Yes, the device is capable of supporting wireless charging. But, you must use the original charger and battery to receive optimal battery performance from your device.

Do Sonim phones work with Verizon?

Some Sonim phones work with Verizon. Sonim Technologies recently announced that the Sonim XP8 is among the first few phones approved for Verizon’s new Push-to-Talk Responder solution. Make sure you get a CDMA version, not a GSM version. GSM phones don’t work with Verizon.

Conclusion

Different smartphones are designed keeping in mind their specific audience. The Sonim XP8 is a rugged phone made for frontline workers and people who work in harsh conditions. 

Sonim XP8 can survive the harshest conditions with one of the highest endurance ratings but only up to a specific limit. The battery life is remarkable as well; you can use the battery for an entire day without the battery dying down. However, Sonim needs to make the display size larger and stand behind its warranty and claims.

We hope this guide answers all your concerns regarding the Sonim XP8. If you’re still unsure about something, feel free to ask us in the comments section below.

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Avatar of Khizer Kaleem
Written By
Khizer Kaleem

Khizer is a tech expert and unraveling the tricky tech and gaming questions have become his hobby. This led him to build his own tech website, WornByFit. In his free time, Khizer wades through seas of laptops, phones, and hardware just for the fun of it. He is a true artist when it comes to guiding readers about different notebooks and gaming systems. He brings all his experience to Freedom251 for reviewing and benchmarking products and writing valuable how-to articles.

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