Bullitt Group, the same company behind CAT’s rugged smartphones, has unveiled a new device designed in collaboration with Land Rover. Dubbed the Land Rover Explore Outdoor Phone it takes its design cues from the iconic Land Rover Discovery, and has all of the rough-and-tumble chops you’d expect from a phone carrying the Land Rover marque.
The handset will be available for pre-order in South Africa from April 2018. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed.
So, what about specs? The key ones are the 5in FHD display with the 5th generation of Corning’s Gorilla Glass that’ll work even if you’re wearing gloves or have wet fingers, a deca-core 2.6GHz 64-bit MTK Helio X27 chipset, dual SIM slots, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot, a 4,000mAh battery, and of course IP68 splash-, water- and dust-proofing.
Rugged phones often get saddled with older software, but the Land Rover Explore will ship with Android Nougat, with a promised upgrade to Oreo to follow. The other bugbear with tough handsets tends to be the camera. The Explore gets a 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing, which is good enough on paper, but we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve actually tested it.
Land Rover is also pitching the Explore as a potential replacement to a dedicated GPS device, thanks in part to the jumbo battery, which can be further supplemented by optional Adventure or Battery Pack bundles that add an equally rugged additional battery and an app called ViewRanger that offers topographic mapping and, in the case of the Adventure Pack, a 25mm x 25mm ceramic GPS antenna.
Now to wait and see if the Explore takes off enough for Landy to consider an Evoque edition.