comScore 11 Things We Did to Break the Sonim Bolt Phone | The Mary Sue

11 Things You Should Never Do to Your Phone (We Did Them All to the Sonim XP5560 Bolt)

Because when a company dares you to break their phone, you accept that challenge.


Sonim Bolt

We all have a pretty good idea of what we should and shouldn’t do with our phones. After all, they’re fragile — right? While most phones crack and break at the slightest nudge, the Sonim XP5560 Bolt is built to take a beating. We know, because Sonim sent us one and asked us to try to break it.

The Bolt doesn’t offer much in the way of features compared to say, the Galaxy Note 3, but that’s not the point. This thing is built to take a beating. The official site says:

Backed by Sonim’s world-class Rugged Performance Standards, that go way beyond MIL-SPEC, and with Corning® Gorilla® Glass that offers the highest levels of shock and scratch resistance, the XP5560 BOLT withstands 6.5 ft. drops from any angle onto concrete, the pressure of a forklift in motion and even 6.5ft underwater submersion. An industry-leading 3-year comprehensive warranty protects even the most active users from accidental damage, for the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry.

Those are some bold claims for a cellphone, so when Sonim asked us to try to break the Bolt, what were we going to do? Say no? Of course not.

Before we got to breaking it, we tried using it as an actual phone. It’s email-capable, but the small screen and physical keypad meant we didn’t want to do any emailing on it. It looks like the kind of phone that would have Snake installed, but it doesn’t. There is a camera, but it’s not great. Here are some photos Dan Van Winkle and I took of each other to test the camera:


Dan, not realizing he's being photographed.

Dan, not realizing he’s being photographed.

Glen, realizing he's being photographed and then making a stupid face.

Glen, realizing he’s being photographed and then making a stupid face.

As far as we can tell, that’s full resolution. Again though, no one is buying this phone because of the camera. It’s just kind of a nice feature to have. The selling point here is that the phone claims to be indestructable.

Check out the various ways in which we tried to destroy this thing, and then we’ll show you what it looks like now.

First, who knows more about breaking electronics than a ten-month-old baby? My daughter’s been playing with the Sonim quite a bit, and it’s held up to baby throws and slobber like a champ.

One of the claims Sonim made is that the phone is water resistant and can withstand extreme cold, so when a snowstorm hit, I decided to leave the Bolt outside overnight.

Sonim Snow

It’s like it never happened.

We also tried a simple drop test.

Not satisfied with simply dropping it, we also chucked it at a brick wall a few times, you know — like people do.

…and threw it down the stairs.

What would happen if we jumped up and down on it a few times?

There was some mild scuffing and it got a little dirty from being on the floor… so we washed it.

It worked perfectly after that, plus it was really clean. What about liquids that aren’t water? Say, for example, a hot cup of chai tea.

Well now it’s all sticky. Better rinse it off, and why not use boiling water to do it?

The description from the Sonim site says it can withstand the pressure of a moving forklift. We don’t have one of those, but my car is pretty small…

Curious what the Sonim Bolt saw from under the car? I turned on its video recorder and ran over it a few more times.

Well now it’s all dirty…

How about a bath, Sonim?

The Sonim held up admirably to all our tests. We’re sure we can come up with some more destructive ideas, and if we finally do break this thing, we’ll update with how we did it. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment. We’re not too worried about breaking it. Sonim has a pretty impressive three year warranty, so if we do kill this thing, they’ll just send us another one.

This was more of a test than a real review. We were more focused on the structural integrity of the Bolt than its service as a phone, but we were impressed with how it held up. If you have a job or live a lifestyle where carrying a fragile piece of electronic glass in your pocket all day isn’t the best idea, and you need something that can take a beating, we’d say go with the Sonim Bolt.

It can’t compete with with smartphones for features, but it’s not trying to, and considering that my Galaxy S3 almost met its end just filming some of these tests, it’s obvious which one we’d rather have with us in a dangerous area.

(via Sonim, images our own)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.