Homtom HT20 arms on overview

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Rugged smartphones are rising in popularity among customers and producers for a couple of just right causes. For the previous, whilst dearer, they’re higher price for cash particularly in case you have a tendency to drop units and finally end up, extra frequently than no longer, with a smashed display.

For distributors, the trap of a lot upper margins has confirmed to be a long way too horny to leave out. This explains why quite a lot of lesser-known Chinese distributors (BlackView, Nomu, Ulefone) have jumped at the rugged bandwagon, following the likes of Samsung and Panasonic with the Galaxy Active and Toughpad collection.

That brings us effectively to this newest providing, the Homtom HT20, which is to be had in at least 4 colors: black, orange, white and olive inexperienced. Oddly sufficient, you’ll be paying a hefty top class – round 23% – for the primary two.

The HT20 prices round £103 (about $125, AU$170) on the time of writing direct from Gearbest, the net Chinese store that supplied us with the overview pattern. 

(These prices are unique of any taxes that can be levied by way of HMRC or the courier corporations on behalf of the seller. Want to shop for tech from on-line Chinese shops? Read this primary.)

As with one of the vital different rugged smartphones we’ve reviewed just lately, this one carries an IP68 certification which means that that it’s water resistant (can resist depths of greater than 1m of water for greater than 30 mins).

What turns into obvious inside a couple of mins is that Homtom takes the idea that of sturdiness to any other point with the HT20, for higher or worse. The again of the tool is totally detachable in contrast to maximum of its opponents.

However, which means that each and every time you take away the battery, a three,500mAh type (which is charged the usage of a 5W energy provide unit), change SIMs and even plug in a microSD card, it is important to take away 10 screw covers and 10 screws (the usage of the bundled screwdriver) in addition to a translucent rubber duvet which protects the electronics.

But that’s no longer all – Homtom claims to make use of a magnesium alloy body to make the HT20 immune to surprise. That body is roofed with a lot of rubber to soak up bumps, and as anticipated, the display is secure by way of Gorilla Glass three and works flawlessly even if used with gloves.

The show adopts the similar structure as lots of its competition: four.7-inch and 1280 x 720 pixels. Opting for a smaller display theoretically improves resistance to shatter and shocks, whilst a decrease answer must toughen battery lifestyles, plus while you put on gloves, bigger-sized icons are preferable anyway.

The ports (USB and audio) are coated by way of a rubber flap. Now, with our overview pattern, the flaps have been very solidly anchored in position, such a lot in order that it took quite a lot of seconds to open them. 

An instance, possibly, of taking resilience a tad too a long way, however we will see why Homtom does this. Oh, and this telephone does have a notification LED, one thing this is all too frequently omitted by way of the contest. At 76 x 152 x 13mm, the HT20 suits effectively into a median particular person’s hand, and whilst it weighs smartly above 200g, it compares favourably with others.

Inside the tool is a Mediatek MTK6737 system-on-a-chip, a quad-core type clocked at 1.3GHz with 2GB RAM and 16GB on-board garage – the latter will also be augmented by the use of the microSD slot. The SoC is a 64-bit type the usage of ARM’s Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali-T720MP2 GPU. 

Flip the handset over and you’ll discover a fingerprint reader – we’re no longer positive about the usage of the sort of function on a rugged smartphone, particularly because it provides any other level of failure and is clearly inconvenient in case you put on gloves. But this is a rapid sensor (200 milliseconds, says Homtom) and is one thing distinctive among rugged smartphones.

It helps twin SIMs and twin standby, with a rear Eight-megapixel digicam sensor, the Sony IMX219 Exmor RS, and a front-facing 2-megapixel snapper. Homtom mentions that each make stronger device interpolation and that is performed transparently by way of the bundled picture app, with the latter appearing a 13-megapixel choice simplest.

The HT20 runs inventory Android 6.zero and didn’t have any updates on the time of writing. It didn’t lift the overall set of Google Services (so no YouTube or Google Chrome) however Play Store and Gmail are provide. 

Other added options come with good gesture, wake-up gesture and HotKnot, which is analogous to NFC. The remainder of the function listing is usual on maximum entry-level units: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth four.zero and USB OTG.

Early verdict

This is a difficult one. There is not any query that the HT20 represents incredible price at simply over £100. The system-on-a-chip is good enough for many mundane duties, however that is indubitably no longer a gamer’s smartphone.

Instead, its strengths will enchantment to the objective target market: the ones in search of a ruggedized handset. IP68? Check. Display that helps gloves? Check.

Ultimately although, there are higher fashions available on the market. The Blackview BV6000, the Ulefone Armor and the Nomu S30 are the principle competition, however they’re all way more pricey than the HT20 with stepped forward function units.

There are some minor annoyances such because the loss of a fast charger (5V/1A is just no longer robust sufficient) and the multitude of screws used to protected the backplate. But none detract an excessive amount of from the sheer value-for-money of the HT20.