On test: New “mountainproof” Quechua smartphone
Decathlon have brought out what they claim to be the world’s first mountainproof smartphone, the Quechua 5” android phone. We take a look. If there’s one essential walker’s item that always feel the most vulnerable it’s a smartphone. These days a mobile phone is a vital piece of walking kit. It can serve as a GPS and navigation device and also as a lifeline contact in emergencies. Many people also use their smartphone for taking photographs and video, too. But how many times have you worried – or experienced – a drowned or smashed smartphone when walking or cycling? I’ve destroyed two phones over the years. Once, due to a rainstorm while walking, and the other because of excessive sweat leaking through to the back pocket of my cycling jersey. To keep a phone safe, you can buy a wide selection of waterproof cases. We have written reviews on waterproof cases and dry bags and How to Keep Valuable Dry on Holiday. But now there is the ultimate rugged smartphone: A Decathlon Quechua 5” “mountainproof” android phone. Claimed as the world’s first such phone, the Quechua 5” will “guard against rain, snow, sand, mud, cold and the occasional drop.” It also boasts a battery life offering 22 hours of talk time (so there is far less need for a portable recharger, such as many people find they require with other smartphones). Quechua, a French brand created by Decathlon, has teamed up with French electronics company Archos, to design the five-inch handset, packing Android 4.1, a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor and 4GB of internal storage with a MicroSD slot. It also has a five megapixel camera for snapping shots of the great outdoors. Alongside its IP54 certification, it also packs a whopping 3,500mAh battery unit, which it promises will survive 22 hours of call time. One drawback is that it doesn’t have 4G but this means the price is kept to a more reasonable £199.99.
What’s the Quechua 5" phone like?The phone feels robust and substantial. This doesn’t mean it’s as big as a brick but it is heavier and larger than an iPhone 4 or 5. I don’t mind this, however, because once I have added a waterproof and drop-proof case to my iPhone 5 there is little difference in weight. The 5-inch touch screen actually makes reading a map much easier. As well as coping well in rain and dust, the phone has been optimised to be clear to read in bright sunlight (this is one of the features so often overlooked by other smartphone brands). The phone feels reassuringly durable. There are also rainproof covers and buttons for all the usual features, such as on-off button, volume and headphones. The phone runs on the Android platform (I do prefer Apple but many people are not with me on this!) and there are thousands of apps available via Google Play, as well as a number of pre-installed apps designed to help you enjoy the outdoors. The phone is unlocked so it will run on any network via a micro-SIM card. It comes with a one-year warranty. The Quechua 5” smartphone is being sold by Decathlon. Find them on-line and in a growing number of UK towns and cities.
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