Retail giant Decathlon has partnered with the established French electronics company Archos to create the Phone 5 for its in-house Quechua brand.
Highs: Tough, cheaper than the opposition
Lows: Camera quality not great; storage
Top of the phone’s feature list is its ‘mountainproofness’, which consists of IP54 certification and its ability to survive being dropped from 80cm onto a road surface. A rubberised outer edge, covered ports and an armoured back are bolstered by a steel plate that protects the chassis. It works too.
We’ve dropped it in a pond, thrown it onto the road and generally abused it – it’s still working and the screen is scratch-free. Decathlon claims that it’s also resistant to both extreme cold and extreme heat. This toughness means that at 246g it is heavier than a standard smartphone and it’s a big unit too, though we could still stuff it into a jersey pocket.
It runs on Android 4.1.2, which we’ve found stable and easy to use. GPS pick-up is as quick as an iPhone’s, and it also has a built-in barometric altimeter, though this can be affected by altitude and the weather. Its 4GB of storage will quickly fill up if you take lots of photos or video but is expandable to 32GB using a Micro SD card. And though its tablet-like 5in touchscreen isn’t as hi-res as in the latest phones, its impressive backlight makes it easy to read in bright sunshine.
Run-time is good, its large capacity battery giving us nearly four days on standby, although using it to navigate reduces this to around five hours – long enough for a decent ride. The cameras aren’t great – one is just for selfies – but better (free) photo app software is available than that which comes bundled with the phone.
This is not only a tough outdoor phone, it’s also inexpensive compared with the opposition. A toughened case for your existing phone might come close to matching it though…