Land Rover are synonymous with two concepts: style and durability. For decades, they’ve been making vehicles that can drive up mountains, and look good doing it. So when the Land Rover phone was announced, expectations were high.
The phone was launched at the gigantic outdoor industry trade show ISPO (where it bagged an award, no less) earlier this year, and we were fortunate enough to have had a bit of a sneak preview a few days beforehand.
So, were we impressed? Massively. Here’s why.
First and foremost is that toughness. The Land Rover Explorer Phone is very much designed to be a phone used in the outdoors. Its designers, British company Bullitt, have gone above and beyond to make sure it has the fortitude needed to stand up to what nature can throw at a humble mobile.
They've built it to be capable of being dropped onto anything from concrete to steel from a height of almost two metres. When you think about it, that’s still a good distance above the head of the tallest person you know (assuming you don’t spend your weekends with the LA Lakers). The Land Rover Explore Phone is also waterproof, so dropping it in the snow or even in surf isn’t going to be a problem. In fact, we saw one fully submerged in a pint of cola for a good few minutes without it making the slightest difference to the phone at all.
Even the five inch, HD screen on the Land Rover Explorer phone is toughened, so gone are the days of having than annoying lightning look that iPhone users know all-too-well.
Battery life is the other constant disappointment when it comes to mobile phones, but Land Rover have thought of this as well. The internal battery in the Explore has been tested to function at extreme temperatures, both high and low. Even in the bitter cold or scorching heat, it retains power efficiently, outlasting all other phones we’ve tried.
“The Land Rover Explore Phone is tested to be drop proof onto anything from concrete to steel from almost two metres”
Furthermore, the Land Rover Explore Phone ships with an additional battery pack that attaches to the back of it with magnets. When attached, it looks seamless, and adds little extra bulk, but doubles the battery life. The magnetic attachment system is also designed to displace any kinetic energy if you do drop your phone – simply separating from the hand-set, as opposed to anything breaking. A simple idea, but a smart one.
Land Rover didn’t call their first phone the Explore for nothing. They really want to see you get out there with it. As such, the in-built GPS aerial is larger and more accurate than the type you'd find in most mobile phones. An additional magnetic GPS pack can also be bought to further increase your location services.
Land Rover Explore Phone with Viewranger
Weight: 232 grams
More info: landroverexplore.co.uk
The Land Rover Explore ships with the incredible Viewranger app pre installed. We love the ViewRanger app so much that it's featured in numerous Outdoors Magic 100’s over the years. In a neat feature, you can use the Explore’s camera with ViewRanger to see an augmented map that displays the names of the peaks around you and other nearby features of interest.
Finally, the overall design is just really nice. You may expect a phone this rugged to be a big, bulky affair, but the design team have produced a sleek looking device with a few, subtle nods to the Land Rover’s heritage. This isn’t some ugly nav device with a phone attachment you keep hidden in your pack unless completely necessary. You’ll be showing it off down the pub as much as you’ll be using it out on the trails. Hell, it doesn’t even matter if your mate spills a pint on it, the Land Rover Explore is more than tough enough.
James Renhard - Associate Editor at Mpora
I've found this to be an extremely useful tool for the outdoors. The GPS in particular has not only been handy for directions, but also for settling arguments when I think the way back to the car is left, and my hiking buddy thinks it’s straight on.
The real surprise however, is that, away from the trails, the Explore is the perfect everyday phone. The long battery life is really useful, and the fact it’s virtually bomb-proof reduces my fear of some suited chap knocking it out of my hand and destroying it as they rush to get to work.