Hands-On: Land Rover Explore Smartphone – MWC 2018
Land Rover may be more well-known for its popular, high-end SUVs, but it also now makes phones, or rather it’s branded a phone that it wants to offer to consumers who are looking for something a little more rugged. Called the Explore, Land Rover officially announced the phone this month and it certainly does have a rugged build and design to it, complete with a carabiner to help ensure you don’t lose the device during activities as you can simply clip it to belt loops on your pants, on a backpack, or anywhere really and it’ll stay fastened securely. If this is something you see as a benefit and have wanted this out of a phone for your adventures in the outdoors, then you are likely the target consumers for this phone.
The Land Rover Explore isn’t just about the included carabiner, though. As mentioned it comes with a rugged build so even if you never use the carabiner tool you can still use this as a daily driver and feel safe that if you drop it it’ll be able to withstand the damage, and it’s IP68 certified so it’s also dust and water resistant. What’s more is that the carabiner isn’t actually attached to the phone at all, but rather an additional back that can be snapped onto the back of the phone similar to the way you can do so with Moto Mods and the Moto Z series devices. This makes it easy to remove when you don’t want it on, and as an added bonus there is even an ‘Adventure Pack’ that adds on additional battery life. The packs snap on rather easily and come off fairly easily, but not so easy that if you drop the phone the pack will come off in the process, and this makes it a great solution for anyone who wants a phone with this type of ruggedized design along with the added accessories.
Of course the modularity is only part of the Explore’s beneficial attributes. Beyond being rugged, and letting you tack on special features by way of the packs, the Explore does offer some decent specs and software, too. One thing to keep in mind as well is that while the adventure packs are a nice tough for a device like this they will bulk up the phone quite a bit, which might make them a little harder to stuff in certain pockets. Then again, if you’re using the Adventure Pack with the carabiner you likely aren’t going to be putting it in your pocket anyways.
As for the specs, the device isn’t powered by a top-tier Qualcomm CPU like the Snapdragon 845, but instead uses one from MediaTek. That said, it’s the MediaTek Helio X27, which is a deca-core processor so it should still be plenty powerful for most users and it did feel nice and powerful during the time we got to play around with it. That CPU is backed up by 64GB of internal storage space and 4GB of RAM. Land Rover touts this as being able to help you get the perfect shot in any environment thanks to its rugged design, and although it may not end up beating out some of this year’s top flagships in terms of image quality, the sensors should still be plenty for most users who want to take photos during their adventures as the main camera on the back is a 16-megapixel sensor and the one on the front is 8-megapixels. It’s not know just yet if this is going to be available in the U.S., but it is coming to the UK at £599 and Europe at €649 sometime this Spring.