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Circuit Breaker

This super-tough Japanese flip phone is the first to meet 18 US military standards

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It also has a built-in app that shows the ‘activity level of fish’

The Torque X01 super-tough feature phone.
Image: Kyocera

I’m absolutely fascinated by heavy-duty phones. “They’re just like my phone!” I think, “But I could throw them at walls and not care!” It’s a childish impulse, but what else are you going to do with one of these things? Well, Japanese phone maker Kyocera (who previously bought you the washable smartphone) certainly came up with a few more tests for its latest tougher-than-tough handset, the Torque X01.

This feature flip phone may not have many apps, but according to Kyocera it’s the first mobile to comply with 18 separate categories of the US military’s MIL-STD-810G procurement standards. As ever with consumer products claiming to have passed MIL-STD-810G tests, this claim has to be taken with a pinch of salt (the US military doesn’t certify compliance so companies basically test themselves). But, the list of everything the Torque X01 has gone through does look impressively comprehensive:

MIL-STD-810G rated in the following 18 categories: Blowing rain of 1.7mm/min for 30 minutes in six directions; Immersion in water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5m; Rain drops from a height of 1m (15 minutes); Sand and dust for six consecutive hours (wind speed of 8.9m/sec, concentration of 10.6g/m3); Dropping on plywood (lauan lumber) from a height of approx. 1.22m in 26 directions; Shock of 40G imparted three times from six directions with a unit attached to the shock tester; Vibration for three hours (one hour/20-2,000Hz in three directions); Solar radiation for 10 days with exposure to radiation of 1,120W/m2 for 20 consecutive hours each day; Humidity for 10 days in a row (humidity of 95%); High temperature (operation/storage); three consecutive hours at 50°C for operation and four consecutive hours at 60°C for storage; Low temperature (operation/storage); three consecutive hours at -21°C for operation and four consecutive hours at -30°C for storage; Temperature shock with rapid temperature changes between -21 and 50°C for three consecutive hours; Low pressure (operation/storage) for two consecutive hours (equivalent to 57.2kPa / an altitude of approx. 4,572m); Freeze-thaw in which a condensation or fog is created at -10°C for one hour following an operation check at 25°C at 95%RH; Icing/Freezing Rain in which cooling water is frozen at -10°C into ice with a thickness of 6mm.

They even specify the type of wood! Lauan lumber! What about dropping it on oak?

Anyway, toughness aside, the X01 is an interesting package. It’s got a 3.4-inch liquid crystal display, good for viewing in direct sunlight; a 13-megapixel camera with HD video recording; a loud 100 db speaker for use in noisy environments; and large keys designed to work with heavy-duty gloves. Handy!

It’s powered by a teeny Snapdragon 1.1GHz processor (it’s not like you need much grunt for a feature phone), and has a bunch of built-in apps for reading out data like temperature, altitude, navigation, tides, and — wait for it — “activity level of fish.” No I do not know what this means. But I assume it’s something Japanese fishermen will go crazy for.

Image: Kyocera
Some of the X01’s built-in apps. The fish one is bottom right and as you can see the rating is “excellent.”

Unfortunately, it looks like the X01 is only on sale in Japan, but, like emoji and NFC, we hope the country’s mobile industry will export its fish-activity-measuring technology to the West soon. Here’s a video of the X01 set to a rejected Michael Bay soundtrack to get you excited: