Verizon's stylish G'zOne Boulder is billed as a "super-rugged" phone that meets military specifications for water submersion, shock and dust resistance and a host of other nasty things.
For all the convenience and security they offer, it doesn’t take much to fry a cellphone.
Ever bend over to refill Fido’s bowl and have your phone tumble out of your pocket and into the water? Or leave it by the edge of a pool only to have some kid come by and cannonball it into oblivion? Even accidentally dropping it onto the pavement or getting sand inside can do serious damage.
The G’zOne Boulder, a new phone from Verizon Wireless ($130 with a two-year contract), attempts to make these tragedies a thing of the past.
The Boulder is billed as a “super-rugged” phone that meets military specifications for water submersion, shock and dust resistance and a host of other nasty things. But it doesn’t look like a phone that only a contractor (or a really clumsy person) would use. It has a stylish flip design that comes in silver and black or orange and black, and it weighs only about 5 ounces.
Most Read Business Stories
- Amazon sued by Black cloud-computing manager over alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment
- The penthouse atop Smith Tower is on the rental market for the first time
- 6 Dr. Seuss books won't be published for racist images
- Frontier cancels flight, citing maskless passengers
- Costco, Whole Foods rise in Greenpeace rankings of grocery chains' plastic use
It has all the features of a midpriced Verizon phone (including a camera, Bluetooth, text-messaging and the ability to browse the Internet and download music) and some that will appeal to campers, boaters or anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors (like a flashlight, electronic compass, GPS and voice commands).
It’s great for people who work outside all day or the accident-prone. It also might make a nice addition to a disaster kit.
But don’t buy it if you want to browse the Internet often, send and receive a lot of e-mail or perform other iPhone and BlackBerrylike tasks. Unlike those phones, the Boulder’s best feature is its ability to make calls in all kinds of conditions.
This is not the only phone from one of the major carriers that is shock-, water- and dust-resistant (Sprint has a couple of phones with these features), but it appears to be the only one that can actually be submerged in water. The Boulder is able to work underwater because its power and media-card ports are protected by heavy-duty stoppers that keep the moisture out.
Before I got this phone, my Verizon contacts regaled me with all of the ways others had put it through the wringer.
It was given to a kindergarten class that tried to destroy it by banging on it with plastic hammers and using it as a hockey puck. It was dropped from a helicopter onto a field. It was strapped to the stomach of a really big guy who ran full speed into the stomach of another sumo-like man. After all these tests, the phone survived.
So naturally I wanted to make sure I did what I could to try to destroy it.
I plopped it into a bowl of water and called it a few minutes later. The call went through and rang while the phone was still underwater.
I dropped it several times onto concrete from about 7 feet up. The back of the Boulder sustained a few minor scuffs but still worked perfectly.
I ran over it with my car tire, but it just got dusty and lost a few chunks of plastic, and a few buttons got pressed.
I put it in the washing machine along with my dirty clothes, and I put it in the dryer by itself for about five minutes. It came out smelling nice and still worked.
And finally, because I know this is a common fate for cellphones, I dropped it into the toilet. After fishing it out (and drying it off), everything worked fine, but I think I might have to put it back in the wash before returning it to Verizon.