Mobile phones for the outdoors

The argument about mobile phones and their use in the outdoors has been raging since mobiles became common, and I imagine that it’ll continue for some time to come. I don’t want to get involved in that discussion here, I simply want to talk about the solution that I’ve come up for my own needs.

So, what do I need from a phone?

  • Good battery life
  • The ability to make and receive calls
  • The ability to send and receive text messages
  • Good battery life
  • Lightweight/compact, as unobtrusive as possible
  • Good battery life
  • Buttons rather than a touch screen, buttons work just as well in the cold/wet, touch screens don’t
  • An alarm clock that works when the phone is switched off (to save battery, which reminds me)
  • Good battery life
  • Either: robust enough that I can’t easily break it, or cheap enough that I don’t mind if I do break it

What don’t I need from a phone?

  • Games
  • Internet access
  • A camera
  • MP3 player/radio
  • Apps
  • GPS
  • Wi-fi

I should point out here that I’ve got nothing at all against smart phones, I use an android based phone as my everyday mobile and use and enjoy all the added bells and whistles, they’re just not what I need in the outdoors.

So what did I come up with that ticks all the boxes for me? A nokia 100:

I wanted something that was fairly hi-viz so I went for the baby pink one. At 70g the phone’s really lightweight and at approximately 110 X 45 X 15mm it’s fairly compact too. It has buttons rather than a touchscreen so I can easily use it with gloves on, and I can also wrap it in plastic to keep it dry and still be able to use it through the plastic.  The alarm works when the phone is turned off. The battery life is a pretty impressive 25 days on standby, and about 7 hrs of talktime (that’s about 25 times more standby than my HTC). And although the phone probably isn’t nearly as robust as some that are available at about £15 it is cheap enough to replace should I break it.

There’s even a few added extras, it’s got an FM radio so I can listen to the news (although I have no idea why I’d want to), and a torch (you can never have too many torches in the outdoors). It’s also got the usual basic gadgets like a calculator and a stop watch, both of which can be very useful on occasion.

The only real downside to this phone is that it’s not waterproof (although it has survived at least one good soaking so far with no obvious ill effects). Not a problem though, I simply put the phone inside a zip-lock bag, a bit of tape to keep the plastic bag nice and neat and all’s good. The bit of tape even gives me somewhere to write my number down so I don’t have to remember it.

All in all the nokia 100 is pretty much an ideal phone for me, I’ve been using one now for about 6 months or so and couldn’t be happier with it.

Here’s a link to the spec sheet from nokia

And here’s a link to a retailer

Bye for now,

Stuart.

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