If you've been looking for a phone that marries a modern smartphone with a classic candy-bar cellphone, all wrapped in a cocoon of toughness, you'll want to look no further than the Sonim XP6 on AT&T. At first glance you wouldn't think much of it — with its physical number pad, d pad, and call buttons it looks like any other hyper-ruggedized cellphone, complete with a little nub of a vestigal antenna sticking up in the top right corner. But then this black-and-yellow beast is turned on and that screen displays, of all things, Android 4.4 KitKat.
Yep, the Sonim XP6 combines the stylings, buttons, and bulk of an old-school ruggedized cellphone you might have found on on a construction site a decade ago with the tech of an entry-level smartphone. That display above all of those buttons is a 2.64-inch capacitive TFT number with a resolution of 320x432 for a pixel density of 204ppi. That's powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, though there's no indication of expandable storage. It does at least support LTE and mobile hotspot service, and have a 5MP rear camera (there's not one up front).
Inside the XP6's 0.81-inch-thick body you'll find a beastly 4820mAh battery good for a reported 16 hours of talk time or 45 days on standby. Though you'll pay a weight penalty at 9.52oz. That body is at least dust-, water-, and drop-resistant, with IP68, IP69, and MIL-STD 810G certifications. There's also support for push-to-talk on AT&T, with the stub antenna doubling as a housing for a front-facing loudspeaker pumping out 103db (the HTC One M8 only hits 95db with its stereo speakers).
With rugged specs to back up its rugged looks and a marginally-decent Android smartphone inside, the AT&T Sonim XP6 seems like it might find a home on a few work sites. The only qualm might come from the price — it's as low as $17.50 on AT&T's 30-month Next 24 payment plan, a whopping $149.99 up-front with a 2-year contract, or $524.99 off contract. At least it has a 3-year warranty, far longer than most other phones (though in three years you might be hating this phone in comparison to what we'll have in 2017).
We know there's a price to pay for highly-durable tech, but with specs that are borderline for a regular phone half this price off-contract, does the Sonim XP6 seem like it'd be worth the cost, especially when we've got phones like the CAT S50 out there?