Archos Quechua Phone is rugged enough for deserts and mountains

December 2, 2013
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Quecha PhoneArchos, maker of myriad inexpensive Android tablets and smartphones, has partnered with outdoor gear company Quechua to produce a new rugged Android smartphone that’s rugged enough to handle the great outdoors.

The new Archos phone, dubbed the Quechua Phone, is a 5-inch Android rugged smartphone that meets IP54 certification. The certifications says the phone is capable of withstanding drops, and is resistant to water, snow, dust, and sand. It’s even resistant to extreme heat and extreme cold, making it great for those long treks across the desert and into the mountains.

As with most rugged phones, however, the Quechua Phone doesn’t have the greatest specs. The phone runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean uses a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB of RAM, and just 4GB of internal storage space that users can expand via a microSD card. There’s also a rear-facing 5MP camera, and a 3500 mAh battery that promises 22 hours of talk time. There is no mention of the resolution of the 5-inch screen of the phone.

The Quechua Phone will come out in unspecified select markets soon, and will cost €230 (about $310) off contract. It’s not clear if the Quecha Phone will make it’s way to the U.S., or it’s strictly meant for emerging markets. Even if the phone does make it to the U.S., it likely won’t come to any carriers. It will likely only come as an unlocked phone with no contract attached.

With its low price, the Quechua Phone will compete with phones like the Nexus 5 which costs about $40 more. The specs, however, put it in closer competition to devices like the Motorola Moto G, which costs just $179, runs a newer version of Android, and has more storage space. Both the Quechua Phone and the Moto G lack 4G LTE radios to keep costs low.

It might be a better idea to buy a Moto G or other inexpensive phone and put it into a rugged case that offers the same protection as the Quechua Phone.

Those who are willing to spend more than twice the cost of the Quechua Phone, or who don’t mind signing up for long-term contracts, can also look into the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and the Sony Xperia Z1. Both phones have similar rugged qualities, and are much higher-end devices. Of course, better specs also come with higher price tags.

What do you think? Buy the Quechua, or find a phone with better specs and a rugged case?

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