Hands on review: Huawei Discovery phone review – the Mud & Bath test

I got back to my office to find a courier’s bag on my desk and inside was the much anticipated Huawei Discovery phone !

Right, there goes any productivity for the rest of the day…its playing time….

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I unboxed the phone and it comes with a charger, a USB cable, a headset and even a special sleeve to keep your phone in and strap it to your arm/ bag/ lifejacket/ parachute etc. Think iPod arm band sleeve just for a phone. This is getting interesting.

When I first saw this phone at AfricaCom in Cape Town I fell in love immediately. Could this be the answer to all those people who have an active life on weekends and seem to destroy phones ?  A phone at AfricaCom was dunked in water and sand so it had to be a “dummy phone” ie a phone that looks and feels like a real phone only to be made out of plastic with no electronics whatsoever. Thinking about my own lifestyle and how I “abuse” my poor phone on the weekend I knew I had to test this.

The background is that Huawei teamed up with Discovery Communications to create this rugged phone Discovery-Expedition Phone. “The phone would provide outdoor enthusiasts with a device that can support their communications and active lifestyle needs,” Victor Xu, Huawei Device’s chief marketing officer confirms and said that the partnership “will allow Huawei to leverage Discovery’s robust marketing channels to consumers around the world.”

hmmm…Ok enough of the background chatter already – lets get testing !

The M&B Test:

First thing after charging it had to be the M&B test. No, not Mugg & Bean but the Mud & Bath test !

I placed the phone in a muddy part of my garden (it just rained). It still worked. So I stepped it up a notch and really rubbed it up and down in the mud. Still worked.

But now it was dirty so there is only one way to clean this phone – water. I dunked it into a mug of cold water and then rinsed it under the tap. The phone was on during this entire ordeal and still works without missing a beat !

Dont believe me ? here is proof of my mud, wash and rain test:

did you note the constant disclaimer of not doing this with any other phone ???

a closer look at the phone:

The phone is a “bar phone” with a a simple, easy to read and access keyboard. I managed to dial a number even whilst wearing gloves.

Discovery phone - review

The screen is a cool LCD 2.0″ TFT, QVGA(240*320) and is crystal clear and easy to read in direct sunlight AND even underwater !

Discovery phone - the back

The back of the phone has a 2mb camera and a speaker all enclosed in protective casing. Awesome to take pics under a waterfall or in the pool without stressing.

Discovery phone - the sideDiscovery phone - the side

The case is rubberised all around and everything is protected. The sides of the phone have raised rubber arrow-like shapes so that you can grip the phone even when it is wet. The orange colour ensures that you will not loose the phone or leave it behind on a rock somewhere.

On the one side are two buttons mainly used for Volume up and Volume down, however if you hold the Volume down button it switches on the built in torch. Nice and simple without fussing with the software to switch on the backlight.

Discovery phone - the bottomDiscovery phone - the top

On the top of the phone is the Micro USB and 3.5mm headphone jack. On the bottom is the charger jack (if you don’t use the usb). All these openings are covered with strong plastic covering to keep out any dirt & water.

Keeping water and dirt out is important especially when you do this :

Discovery phone - the water dunk testDiscovery phone - the water dunk testDiscovery phone - the water dunk testDiscovery phone - the water dunk test

What else do we need to know ?

The phone comes preinstalled with Twitter and Facebook apps so you can share these glorious experiences with everyone at a touch of a button.

It comes with a GPS, Digital compass, Weather forecast, SOS button, FM radio, MP3 player, MP4 player for your videos, Torch and even games when you are bored of checking out that scenery on top of Mount Kilimanjaro (or you need something to do whilst on the toilet wondering what the heck you are doing up here)

Other info – Techie specs:

The phone runs on the GSM/GPRS/EDGE:900/1800/1900 MHz networks
The platform is Qualcomm QSC6270, BREW OS
The size is 114.5*50.5*16mm
It has 128MB ROM/64MB RAM, support TF card up to 8G
Support Java, MMS, WAP
Battery capacity is 1000mAh which means standby time: 470 hours if you are in 3G mode or 450hours if you are in 2G mode. Talk time is 5hours in 3G mode and obviously depends on what you use on the phone such as MP3 music etc.

So in summary:

So far so wow. It has taken everything I have thrown at it and made it through unscathed. The next test it a practical test outdoors. How will it preform in real situation in the wild…and by “wild” I mean of course the outdoor of the Vaal river where I will be taking the Discovery phone to a new testing level and putting it through its paces…

watch this space for more fun and games from the Huawei discovery phone !

Check out part 2 of the test Huawei Discovery phone goes Wakeboarding !

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