The last few years has seen the rise of what is known as – the rugged smartphone – a design of smartphone that is typified to be resistant to damage and able to function in harsh environments. Today we’re looking at this stocky offering from Unihertz, the seventh phone launched by the brand on Kickstarter.
Unihertz are a team of passionate designers and engineers who believe technological advancement can create unlimited paths to shape the future.
Unihertz believes that there should be different types of smartphones for all kinds of people. That’s why we are committed to making unique smartphones even just for minority groups. We hope people can have more diverse choices.
Tick Tock 5G
The Tick Tock (no affiliation to the popular app) features dual customizable keys, which can be programmed with a number of function options.
The casing is made from aluminium and features steel sides which also houses a fingerprint (biometric) scanner lock and power button.
The rugged portion of the design is displayed in the enhanced IP68 rating making the unit water (it can withstand immersion in water up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes), dust, and shock-resistant making it a wise choice for use in more extreme weather conditions.
The Tick Tock features a whopping 6000mAh battery and makes use of 30W quick charging to get back in the game.
The screen is 6.5-inch which allows for an enjoyable visual experience.
The main selling point of the Tick Tock has to be its secondary display at the rear of the device. The rear display can be customized with infinite choices (through preset timepieces and custom backgrounds) to ensure a unique fit..
Tick Tock has integrated support for 4 navigational satellites (GPS, BeiDou, GLONASS, and Galileo) which assures quicker and more accurate positioning and navigation.
Processor: Mediatek Helio P35 MT6765
Storage: 64GB, TF card up to 256GB
Display: 6.5-inch IPS, 1600x720p, Secondary: 1.28-inch IPS, 320×320
Camera: 48MP + 2MP macro, 5.8MP front selfie camera
Battery: 6000mAh, 30W fast charging
OS: Android 12 S
Sensors: G-sensor, gyro, proximity, step counter, baroceptor, ambient light, compass
Connectivity: WIFI, Bluetooth, 4G network
USB: Type C
The first thing that strikes me about the Tick Tock is the sheer weight of it – clocking in around 230 grams, this phone is sturdy and strapping. It’s a solid chunk and there will be no doubt if it is on your person or in your hand. It’s a brick but as a rugged smartphone, it needs to be.
I find it difficult to criticise the design and implementation of the Tick Tock 5G outside of a few strange choices, firstly the shape. The phone features a bold design with points at both the top and bottom of the unit, making it unfriendly to any sort of propping vertically, and given the weight, horizontally. For the most part the fingerprint scanner worked efficiently and effortlessly 95% of the time. This could be down to the scanners placement on the device body being unnatural as part of an ergonomic layout.
My major criticism of the design resides in the audio category. Firstly the main external speaker of the phone is located on the rear body of the Tick Tock, meaning that that any audio played through it is muted substantially by the phone body when the unit is laid in its back. This becomes notably irritating over time especially for new fathers who require strict volume control when listening to 12 hour white noise playlists on Spotify.
The Tick Tock microphone seems to be placed so far inside the device that calls must be conducted at an extreme vocal level. The silicone case only seems to exacerbate the situation further making conversation a frustrating endeavour in general. Given the rugged nature of the phone it would be perfect for louder environments such as building sites or loud weather conditions. So in that sense this could also be a pro rather than a con.
The device features a pre-loaded toolbox kit with useful apps to help complete basic tasks along with a number of useful stock apps to get the user started. For the most part these can be turned off rather than deleted. (For example – the IR sensor made for a quick and easily programmed remote control for my Sony television)
The dual screen is a unique selling point and something that drew me to the model. The user can utilise the rear display to take selfies using the primary 48MP camera – an absolute game changer in this era of smartphones. The customisation of this screen offers a door into a new world of phone use.
As the Rugged Smartphone moniker might suggest, the unit is solidly built and I honestly believe it could be dropped from a moving plane and still function. My only concern would be for anyone within the impact zone.
All in all this an insane concept that Unihertz have pulled off wonderfully. Aside from a few questionable design choices for the regular daily user, this would be a perfect entry into the rugged/doomsday prepper/construction worker/lumberjack/explorer phone category.
You can pick up the Unihertz TickTock 5G Rugged Smartphone from their website for around $339 USD (£282 GBP) by following this link or via all good suppliers.
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