Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Nokia 800 Tough

Nokia builds a feature phone with a durable feature

If you’re someone who doesn’t need a touchscreen or a cool camera, and just wants their phone to survive, well, anything, Nokia’s latest feature phone might just suit.

We’ve come a long way from when phones were, well, phones, but they still fit that purpose. These days, mobile phones can work as phones, but they can also do a lot of other things.

You can message, send emails, take pictures, administer your calendar, play games, surf the web comfortably, and generally avoid using your computer because your phone does all of those things for you.

But what if you don’t care about all of that? What if you want a phone that was just a phone, and your main goal was to have it survive?

By “survive”, we’re actually talking about having it fall and not crack under pressure. It doesn’t take a whole lot of searching to find a phone that has cracked under pressure, and you merely have to glance around while you’re walking about to find broken screens, damaged backs, and a general feeling that smartphones rarely survive a fall of any kind.

So if durability is the main feature you wanted in your phone, as well as using your phone as a phone, what can you do?

HMD Global has released something from Nokia this month, and it’s made just for that, harking back to the good ol’ days when phones were phones and could survive more than just a minor fall.

Released as the Nokia 800 Tough, it’s a phone without a touchscreen and with physical buttons, and yet comes with a ruggedised resistance rating of MIL-STD-810G, what is about as drop-proof and water-resistant as it gets.

There’s an IP68 rating similar to what’s offered on flagship smartphones, and there’s a little bit more than other dumb phones will offer, with Category 4 4G LTE, support for Google Assistant and WhatsApp, plus a torch and a loudspeaker, but you’re not looking at the Nokia 800 Tough if you’re after a phone that can work the same way as an iPhone. No touchscreen means no on-screen keyboard, and that means being comfortable with typing on the physical keyboard, punching away letter after letter that way.

In fact, while you get some of the niceties you might find in a smartphone — Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, a camera — the specs aren’t exactly high-end, either. The WiFi is 802.11a/b/g/n, the camera is a 2 megapixel camera on the back, and there’s only 4GB storage, so don’t expect it to hold much music or anything else.

The main reason to look at the Nokia 800 Tough is durability, with a MIL-STD military spec rating going beyond merely water and dust resistant to be highly drop and temperature resistant, too. It can work in places where it hits as high as 55 Celsius and as low as -20, and with rubberised edges, the phone is built to survive drops from up to 1.8 metres.

HMD has made the Nokia 800 Tough to be just that — tough — but skipping the niceties of the modern smartphone means the price has been kept fairly friendly, too, and locally, Australians will find it for $189 in Harvey Norman stores, as well as online from JB HiFi.

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