If you spend a lot of time outdoors or on construction sites, dainty smartphones just don't cut it -- you need a rugged phone that holds up to rough handling and unpredictable weather. The word "rugged" gets thrown around a lot, but most devices aren't as durable as they claim to be. Fortunately, the Convoy 2 lives up to that promise -- it's a tough phone can actually take a beating.
The Convoy 2 isn't your grandfather's phone -- unless he's Rambo. It's designed to resist extreme temperatures, shock, salty each fog, high altitudes, sand and dust. It's water-resistant too, so it can take a splash or a drop in a puddle. That doesn't mean waterproof, so don't swim with it. The sturdy frame won't turn any heads -- it's a fat 0.9-inches, so you you'll feel the girth in your pocket. If you wear tight pants, it might be uncomfortable, but otherwise, I don't see a problem. It does feel substantial, so if you want a hardy phone, the weight might not bother you.
It's made of thick plastic -- I do miss the rubberized sides from the original Convoy -- but if you drop it hard or try to muss it up, it stays in top shape. I'm more worried the cover on the micro-USB port may fall off. It's a bit flimsy, and I'd have liked to see a stronger plug.
You can view basic information on an external 1.3-inch display. The 128-by-128 pixel resolution is pretty grainy, but it works as a viewfinder to take photos with the front cover closed. That comes in handy when you need to take a fast snap, but the screen is otherwise unremarkable. The internal 2.2-inch screen, though, is better. The 320-by-240 pixel resolution is a big improvement over the original, but it's nothing to get excited about. The 182-ppi pixel density is still bad, making text look jagged. But that's not a big deal; you're not buying it to watch movies.
It's a work phone, and the menu is easy to navigate with seven function buttons and an oversized keypad -- it's very convenient and fast to use. No tiny keys here. The membrane-style numeric keypad has massive, spread out buttons, so it's great if wear gloves. The keys are so distinct that you can easily figure out which keys to press without looking.
The 3.2-megapixel camera is a step-up too -- and it's actually pretty useful. The photos I took came out crisp and clear thanks to the higher-resolution lens and a LED flash for dark environments. Of course, don't expect pristine quality images, but if you need to take a picture of a leaky pipe, for example, it'll get the job done. But the video recording is pretty bad. At 176-by-144 pixels, clips are simply too small and low-resolution to be useful.
The music is lacking. Yes, you can listen to songs, but the 2.5-millimeter jack won't take standard headphones. You'll need to buy earbuds, but it's simply not worth it. You'll have the option to load up to 32-gigabytes of MP3s with a side-mounted microSD slot, but the functions are cumbersome and the audio quality is substandard. When music is playing, an odd animated equalizer graphic tries and fails to follow along too. I found it a bit annoying and useless. Overall, skip the music.
If you want smartphone-like features, the Convoy has a few services, but you'll have to pay more for it. Verizon's push-to-talk is the most useful. And if you buy a bunch of Convoys, you can save money by communicating over walkie-talkie. I thought the e-mail client was pretty good too, but you'll have to pay at least $10 a month. VZ Navigator is pretty useful if you drive around for work. You'll have voice-enabled GPS directions, of course, for an extra fee. If you need navigation and PTT, though, it makes more sense to buy a smartphone. Just download Google Maps and a walkie-talkie app and skip those monthly fees. While those extras are nice, but when you add them up, it's not worth the price when you can just buy a better phone.
The Internet is pretty bad, and while it has an Opera browser from the Stone Age, the 2G data is turtle-slow. Pages take well over 10 seconds to load. If you want speed, look elsewhere. There's no Wi-Fi either, so don't plan to go online. As far as juice goes, the 1,300 mAh battery lasts for nearly eight hours of continuous use -- well over a full day of work. That's one great feature over smartphones.
Overall, I'd only recommend the Convoy 2 if you need a rugged phone to just make calls and send texts. If you need more, just buy a smartphone and download apps -- you save money in the long run. If you just want a basic device, the hardy body is a good value, but if you want more, the lack of fast Internet severely cripples its usefulness. Then again, it's more affordable than Casio's Ravine 2, and just as hardy, so it's certainly not a bad deal. But the Ravine is tougher, so it's worth the extra money. ♦
I love the sound quality, the reception sensitivity, the feel and heft (feels like it can catch a bullet) and the screen quality. Speakers on the front are great. Active noise cancellation with the outside microphone works wonderfully. Mouth microphone is in the correct place to help avoid nose-noise. Physically and materially this is a great phone.
It seems to have some fatal data-collision problems in its software / firmware. This is my second one that has a problem with turning itself off! This is an unacceptable glitch. However, I may have a possible fix for this problem: Try this -- turn the Auto Pairing off, it is in the Options under Bluetooth Menu in Settings and Tools. This has worked for me so far and may work for others with the same glitch.Was this review helpful to you?
It's a great looking phone with a good feel. The buttons on this phone are bigger than the buttons on my previous flip phone which makes texting much easier. The noise cancellation is nice. Be sure you turn this feature on. If you use the T9 mode you can enter words to your dictionary by typing the word in abc mode and then switching to T9 mode before sending text. The camera button on the front is a nice feature to get to the camera setting quickly. It is also one of the few new flip phones with video.
So far I have no problems. I had some difficulty figuring out some of the fea tures because there was not a manual with the phone -- just a very very small guide with little informationWas this review helpful to you?
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