Quechua phone 5 review

The Quechua phone 5 is a rugged Android phone with a 5-inch screen

Reasons to buy
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    Rugged build quality

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    Enhanced sensors

Reasons to avoid
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    lo-res screen

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Looking for an outdoorsy Android smartphone that can survive the wilderness? Check our our Quechua phone 5 review

It's a busy place, the Android phone market. Coming just on the heels of the CAT B100 phone, and somewhat behind waterproof phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and Sony Xperia Z1 comes this beast - the Quechua phone 5.

Quechua is the in-house brand of French sport retailer Decathlon, and they've partnered with Archos to create this robust outdoor phone.

Quechua phone 5: Size and build

Top of the feature list is its 'mountain-proof-ness', which consists of IP54 certification (splash and dust resistant) and a relatively modest 1m drop resistance. A rubberised outer edge, along with covered ports and an armoured back complete the butch stance.

It's not a case of all mouth no trousers either - there's a 1mm thick steel plate 'stiffening' the chassis according to Decathlon. In tests it bounced pretty well, and a quick sluice under a tap resulted in precisely no damage.

The phone is also resistant to extreme heat and extreme cold, apparently. The downside of this ruggedness is the sheer size of the thing - 246g and a 5-inch 840 x 480-pixel resolution screen mean this is no delicate flower. The screen has a boosted backlight to combat squinting-in-sunlight syndrome running at 350 Cd/m2 min. This translates as searingly bright indoors when cranked up.

Quechua phone 5: Specs

Packing Android 4.1, slightly disappointingly, the Quechua phone 5 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 8225Q processor, clocked at 1.2GHz. Quechua blames the quad-core chip for the older Android version, claiming it's tied to the chip. To be fair to the phone, it's perfectly adequate Android, just not very exciting.

Internal storage is a slimline 4GB, but there's a Micro SD card slot that will take a 32GB card. At setup you'll be encouraged to download a package of 51 outdoor-focussed free apps that'll fill up quite a chunk of space. Refusing the download is simple, but then you'll have to hunt out your own barometer app.

The Barometer is one of the unusual sensors in this device, and works as well as barometric altimeters always do - not massively well. Devices find it hard to work out if pressure changes are due to altitude change or weather, leaving you with a wide margin for error if not reset regularly. There's also a compass, for those hell-bent on getting lost.

Quechua phone 5: Camera

At this price point and 'ruggedness' you'll be forgiven for not expecting an astonishing camera. The Quechua fronts a 5MP rear cam and a 2MP front, both of which deliver as you'd expect under stock Android. You've got an LED flash, basic controls, video, panorama, etc. A few app upgrades will see you taking decent selfies, but winning photography awards is unlikely.

Quechua phone 5: Battery

Decathlon has delivered a fair hand here as well, with a rather beefy 3,500mAh battery offering a claimed 22 hours of talk time. Standby time is supposed to be three days, but we easily got four-ish. Obviously, watching endless YouTube clips will kill it quicker, but it's no slouch.

Quechua phone 5: Verdict

Overall it's a difficult package to grade. The hardware is reasonable, but the ruggedness adds so much bulk it's not a practical device for around town. The weight makes it an unlikely choice for extreme outdoor enthusiasts, but as a hiking accessory it's pretty decent.

It's more of a phablet in size, and maybe that's its real niche, as an indestructible second screen for kids at home and a missile-proof platform for using in the wilds. Pricing is fairly keen at £200, but under serious threat from the Nexus 5 and Motorola Moto G on the phone side. Obviously, you could go buy a brilliant rugged case for your existing phone for less too.

Quechua phone 5 release date: Out now, available from: Decathlon

Quechua phone 5 price: £199.99

Mark Mayne

Mark Mayne has been covering tech, gadgets and outdoor innovation for longer than he can remember. A keen climber, mountaineer and scuba diver, he is also a dedicated weather enthusiast and flapjack consumption expert.