We have a glut of new kit to show you in the coming few days but today’s little smartphone jumped the queue a little bit because it’s just so different and we think will shake the market down a little bit!
The Utano T180 is a new class of Rugged Smartphone that we’re adopting which caters for a whole different type of customer than we normally serve. Now essentially the T180 is a small rugged Android Smartphone, “so whats the difference between buying this and a Motorola Defy” I hear you say. Well let me tell you right here!
Firstly The Utano T180 is rugged. I mean properly rugged and in fact it held the world record for a short while until those pesky Sonim guys broke it back but in my eyes it’s still possibly the most rugged “Smartphone” (Sorry Sonim but “Mobile Phones” have an unfair advantage!) and Guinness back that up! IP 67 allows it to be dropped in water for short bursts, the design, gorilla glass and drop spec are enough to keep the device working through every day use. It’s inherently rugged by design but there’s more….
We repair these right here along side the more established rugged brands we serve. Now whilst the repair and support on the T180 is not quite up to spec on proper rugged data capture kit, it’s far better than you’ll get on any smartphone.
OK, so I’m not going on about the spec here too much. The spec is right here for those wanting more. It’s up to date, not the most expensive components you’ll see in the latest flashy kit but it works and after using it for 2 weeks I’ve had no glitches, no issues or bugs whilst using the Android 2.3.5 OS. We’ve had all the animations on, the screen rotate works really quickly and I wouldn’t be complaining if I had to use this as my every day smartphone, put it that way.
Feature-wise the device has the full complement. 3.75G, WiFi, BT, GPS, Compass and accelerometer are all here, as is a 5MP rear facing camera, front facing camera, Radio chip if you want to listen to the radio while you work and of course the phone is open to install apps from the Android App Market.
It’s small. Really small and the size hides the fact that the screen is still a healthy 3.2″ and sporting a capacitive touch 480 x 320 resolution LCD. It’s way smaller than a Pidion BM170 and even smaller than the Motorola ES400 so I think this will find a home in our marketplace for those seeking something inexpensive, small and Android .
The 2000mAh Li-ION battery gives the device pretty decent performance actually. It’s no show stopper but along with the smaller screen it seems to last for a decent amount of time between charges. I found myself not needing to charge the phone anything like I have to my iPhone. We’ll put it through its paces on that soon and publish the results on our website.
Tricks and USP’s
The Utano T180 does have some tricks up it’s sleeve. OK, OK, so the built in torch might be a slight gimmick but what isn’t is the dual SIM card slot. This not only allows you to insert and use 2 different SIM cards but you can use them totally live. So you can take or make calls on either card without having to reboot or tweak any settings at all. The JCB phone is a re-branded version of the Utano but it doesn;t come with the dual SIM cards because they want to lock it into network sales. The Utano T180 gives us business and solutions folk something far more suitable and less expensive.
In the box
You get a pre-installed LCD protector, USB charge/sync lead. UK USB Power adaptor, Wrist strap with carabina and compass you’ll give to your kids! A headset and a nice manual.
It’s very well priced at £290 right now. This under cuts any of the semi rugged devices we sell in Windows Mobile guise but it’s also cheaper than the Android kit we sell too.
OK, so what are the drawbacks of all this. Well the biggest one is that you are essentially buying a “Smartphone” not a “PDA”. Now to you that might mean nothing but to us its the different between knowing the roadmap and future of a device. Smartphones can come and go as they please, PDA’s have to have a roadmap (Unless you’re Motorola!) and have to have certain parts and repair fulfillment after their life ends. The Utano T180 is being worked on and we do have parts on the shelf but we can’t g’tee these like we can for a £600 rugged PDA. Other than that though it’s hard to fault if a small, rugged smartphone is what you need.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.