Pros: Practically indestructible, waterproof, rugged, great reception
Cons: Had to switch carriers - no unlocked option
After we bought our sixth cell phone in less than a year for honey, a contractor, I decided to look for a more rugged model. We'd done the Nextel i530 thing, and loved the phone but hated Nextel. No other cell phone provider seemed to have a truly rugged phone that would compare to the i530 in durability, and we were beginning to think we'd have to switch back to hated Nextel from Cingular.
Then we saw the G'Zone Type-V phone and decided to do some research. It had great reviews online for being tough, rugged and built to last, so we decided to take the leap to Verizon and try it out. That was two months ago, and we haven't looked back since.
G'Zone In Action
How durable is it? Honey has put this phone to the test. He is a contractor - during the day the phone lives in his nail bags, grinding against nails and who knows what else. It has consistently emerged unscathed.
When he is done carting it around in the nail bags, he puts it in his pocket - with his car keys. His car keys and nail bag destroyed every other phone he tried in the last year, but they haven't had any impact on the G'Zone.
He has also dropped it off the roof of a three story home onto concrete, dropped it into concrete, run it over with his utility truck, and more. It has survived every weird accident unscathed. So far it is living up to its reputation.
The thing that throws people who see it is that the phone is waterproof up to a certain depth when closed, and water resistant when open. When honey gets construction debris on the phone's shell, he just washes it off in the sink with soap and water - easy peasy.
G'Zone Techs and Specs
Honey gets three to four days of life out of the battery, and great reception on the Verizon network. He finds most of the features easy to use, though the flashlight had a sensitive button toggle it took him a while to master.
The rugged design includes rubberized buttons with non-slip grips. Honey likes the grips because they enable him to use the phone even with his gloves on. Since it doesn't offer voice activation, that's a must.
The exterior screen is protected against water and damage by an extra thick lens, rounded like a diver's camera lens. This exterior screen is monochromatic, and gives the date and time and other basic information.
The model we bought is the Type V, which has a stationary nub antennae on the top of the phone and a rugged belt clip on the bottom. Both of these things are made to last, just like the phone, and have remained undamaged after use and abuse. They now make a Type S model without the belt clip, that comes in three colors, but that is not the one we have.
The phone offers the standard Verizon network features, including music and video streaming from V-Cast, text messaging, email, GPS, polyphonic ring tones, speaker phone and basic web navigation.
It takes photos and video as well. Honey uses this feature a lot on the job site to take photos of the site to send to the client when a change is needed. He's even used the video camera to take short movies.
The picture quality of the photos and movies is actually better than the other phones we've had, including the RAZR. Unfortunately, we don't like the amount of navigation it takes to find and view the photos and movies after they are stored. It seems like they are needlessly buried in the phone menu.
The phone menu is a nice feature as well. You can navigate the entire menu easily just with a few clicks of the round navigation button. It gives you both small icons and text to tell you where you are, and sorts the menu into categories like "IM", "Contacts", "Tools", etc.
The screen is large enough to see easily, and bright enough to use in daylight, interior light or night time. the one thing that drove honey nuts with the phone is contact caller ID. If you leave the "1" in front of the number, it won't ever associate the number with a name, so he had to go through his entire database and remove the "1". Between the time it took him to do that and the time it took to even figure out the issue, that was a problem.
If you are looking for a rugged phone that is built to survive abuse and get reception almost anywhere, this is the one. If you want more content features than durability, you want to look for a different model.
For the tech spec lovers:
Network: CDMA 800 / 1900
Form Factor: Clamshell
Dimensions: 104 x 51 x 28 mm
Weight: 150 g
Navigation: 5-Way Keypad
Battery Type: 1050 mAh Li-Ion
Talk Time: 3.38
Standby Time: 170
Memory: 31.0 MB
Expandable Memory: Main Screen: 65000 colors (TFT)
240 x 320 px External Screen: 2 colors (LCD)
Camera: 2.0 MP / 1600 x 1200 px / Flash / Zoom / Video
Wallpapers: 240 x 320 px
Screen Savers: 240 x 320 px
Chat: AOL / MSN / Yahoo!
Predictive Text: T9
Phonebook Capacity: 500
High-Speed Data: cdma2000 1xEV-DO