Taking on the hard knocks and kicking on, this phone is no stunner but it gets the job done.
The last time I had a phone this tough it was the no-frills Telstra Tough Max and that was impressive enough so I was pleased to get my hands on the Tough Max 2.
It is a slightly bigger feel in the hand which is not a bad thing and the hardware in it did not disappoint as it handled all the usual apps with no problem.
It gets the ability to take abuse with a tough chassis wrapped with a rubberised outer armour and the 5 inch screen is covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass. All this adds up to a tough phone that also has an IP67 rating which means it is water and dust resistant (fresh water resistant up to 1m for up to 30 mins) so it can take the hard working and hard playing lifestyle so many Aussies enjoy.
Like the previous Tough Max, the Tough Max 2 is also Blue Tick certified meaning that it will lose signal well after all the other fancy ones have given up and the phone also has an antenna port on the back to get an additional signal boost.
It does not skimp on modern features either with a 16MP rear camera, 8MP front facing camera for those building site selfies with your mates, 32GB of internal storage, a rear fingerprint scanner, Qi wireless charging built into the handset (you will have to get your own Qi charger) all running on Android 7 Nougat.
A couple of oddities that got my attention were the “Super Key” a programmable button on the top right edge and the hardware home, back and multitask buttons which took me by surprise being surrounded by so many phones with no hardware buttons at all. This is probably a nod to the hard workers that might have problems with hands covered in dirt that would rather not smear mud across screens if possible.
A couple of niggles for me was the touch screen and fingerprint reader sometimes needing an extra poke or two to get a response and the camera was not a stand out performer in low light. However considering that this is a smartphone that would give the old Nokia phones a run in the durability stakes this phone can be purchased outright for $432 or on a plan from $66 per month these are small concessions for this price point.
This phone is ideal for the rough and tumble life with tradies and adventurers or for your clumsy teenager prone to smashing screens with drops which make up 70% of phone damage.
Telstra has recognised a problem and have delivered a solution with the Tough Max 2 which is available through JB Hifi and direct from Telstra.