Johannesburg - Now you can get a phone that’s just as tough as your Land Rover; the new Land Rover Explore outdoor phone, developed by British tech company Bullitt in collaboration with Land Rover at Solihull, is now available in South Africa.

The Explore takes subtle design cues from the Discovery - from the grille (check out the microphone housing at the bottom of the screen) to the headlight architecture and even the knurled finish of the interior dials. It's being marketed via major cellular operators and directly from the Rugged Phones website, www.ruggedphones.co.za, at R12 075, which includes the Adventure pack - more about that later. 

This is one tough phone: It has a metal frame and factory-fitted Gorilla Glass screen protector on the high-definition five inch display - and it’s water resistant to IP68 rating. Land Rover promises it will withstand a drop of 1.8 metres onto a hard surface, and survive being dunked in water up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes.

But what’s just as important for a phone that’s intended to go way off-grid is battery life, and that’s where this phone gets really interesting. It has a 4000mAh battery, which should keep you going all day and then some, even with your GPS going full-time.

Then there's the Adventure pack, which clips magnetically onto the back of the phone and adds a second, 3600mAh battery as well as a 25 x 25mm ceramic patch GPS antenna that improves the reliability and accuracy of the GPS with topographic mapping and Skyline augmented reality, courtesy of ViewRanger.

The phone is built round a Deca-core 2.6GHz 64-bit MTK Helio X27 chipset and runs on the Android Nougat operating system, with a promised future upgrade to Oreo. Internal hardware includes 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM plus, of course a microSD slot, a 16MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera, each with four-times digital zoom.

The dashboard is customisable for outdoor stuff such as weather information, wind, tides, a compass and SOS light; more importantly, the touchscreen can be operated with gloves on or with wet fingers, and there's a red filter mode that reduces screen glare so you don't lose your night vision when you're out in the dark.

IOL Motoring