A phone so smart it’s mountainproof

Decathlon Quechua Android Phone

Decathlon’s new 5″ android phone is claimed to be the world’s first mountainproof smartphone

I have drowned a couple of mobile phones before. One was soaked by rain when I left it in my jacket pocket during a very wet hike. Another was destroyed by sweat after I popped it into my back pocket on a long, tough bike ride.

Not only is it inconvenient to have to replace a mobile phone, but it might also prove dangerous if you do not have one to use for navigation by GPS map or for an emergency call. That’s why I like to keep my iPhone in a waterproof case when I am heading into the great outdoors.

Now, however, Decathlon have come up with an innovative concept: a rugged smartphone that is waterproof and bashproof. The Quechua 5″  android phone is designed, in short, to be mountainproof.

More about Quechua Phone 5″

Quechua, a French brand owned by Decathlon, has teamed up with French electronics company Archos to create the 5″ handset, which includes Android 4.1, a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor and 4GB of internal storage with a MicroSD slot. It also has a five megapixel camera.

The Quechua 5″ will “guard against rain, snow, sand, mud, cold and the occasional drop”. It also boasts a battery offering 22 hours of talk time (so there is far less need for a portable recharger, which many people find they require with other smartphones).

One drawback is that it doesn’t have 4G but this does mean that the price is kept to a reasonable £199.99.  (I am always surprised by how much it costs to buy a handset without a phone contract, but the advantage is that you own the phone for life and you can choose the contract you prefer.)

The phone is unlocked so it will run on any network via a micro-SIM card. If you already have a SIM card you can simply slot it into the Quechua.


On test: The Quechua 5″ phone

The Quechua 5″ is heavier and larger than an iPhone 4 or 5 but that also means it has a bigger screen display and it feels far more robust and substantial. In fact, once I’ve added a waterproof and drop-proof case to my iPhone 5 there is little difference in weight.

The touch screen is easier to use because it is bigger. It’s better for reading a map, too, because you can see more of the map at once. Many people choose to buy a Samsung Galaxy phone because of the larger screen.

As well as coping well in rain and dust, the Quechua 5″ has been optimised to be clear to read in bright sunlight – a feature often overlooked by other smartphone brands. The phone feels really durable. There are also rainproof covers and buttons for all the usual features, such as on-off button, volume and headphones.

The phone runs on the Android platform (I do prefer Apple but many people are not with me on this) and there are thousands of apps available via Google Play, as well as a number of pre-installed apps designed to help you enjoy the outdoors. The pre-installed apps are a bit random, including the flora of Colorado, glacier wildfowers and a guide to skiing at Alpe d’Huez, but they offer a fun diversion.

The Quechua 5″ smartphone is being sold by Decathlon. You can buy the phone online for £199, and it comes with a one-year warranty.

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