A smart phone for dirty jobs

Chunky, ruggedised phones have always been an obvious choice for miners and tradies, but now with advent of smartphones, many people want style as well as substance.

Of course, the stylish slimline smartphones are notoriously delicate, and don’t stand up well to the kind of environment you encounter on a minesite, one of rock and dust and damp, but Samsung has finally taken a step in the right direction.

Supersceding the popular Galaxy S4, the freshly released Galaxy S5 represents a new approach to phone versatility for the Korean company, incorporating dust and water proofing for the first time.

The charger input and headphone jack are both sealed from the elements, and the back cover of the phone incorporates a special rubber seal that will keep water out of the phone’s sensitive components.

The S5 is rated to IP67, Ingress Protection, which enables it to withstand water to a depth of one metre for approximately half an hour (the second highest IP water rating), and is completely dustproof, meaning that it can withstand nearly any material that gets into your pockets, including your own sweat.

Basically, if the handset winds up covered in rock dust or worse yet, muddy drill sample, you can simply rinse it off in a bucket of water.

Rather cunningly, the phone can even tell you if any of the covers aren't properly sealed, warning you to check the phone and potentially saving you from any water-related mishaps.

The back cover of the phone has been practically textured to make it easy to grip in your hand, and the software also features a ‘one-handed operation’ feature, which at a quick swipe will reduce the screen size allowing you to easily reach the other side of the displayed screen with your thumb.

But how does the S5 actually perform?

At time of writing, I have so far only charged my demo phone once, when I took it out of the box on Thursday, and now it’s Sunday and it’s still going strong with 18 per cent battery left.

Although I haven’t been using it heavily and it’s too soon to get loaded up with a gamut of annoying background apps, this still represents a significant jump in power longevity over my S4, which at best has only ever given me about two days of use.

Compared to the S4, this phone appears to browse the internet and download much quicker than the predecessor.

This is an improvement that I would consider a necessity to make it worth upgrading the perfectly serviceable S4, as the handset itself is not very different apart from a few extra millimetres of screen space and sharper corners, so if you were expecting a new look for the handset you might be disappointed.

But it doesn’t seem to be about the look for the phone for Samsung, who have produced a fast operating phone with practical weatherproofing, one that is very easy to recommend to anyone working in a harsh, dusty environment that might soon wreck a lesser phone.

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