We've seen a handful of rugged Androids in our time, but none are as affordable and as weird as these ones at CES. The backstory here is that a couple of Chinese guys in camouflage gear approached us at our CES stage, and after an awkward conversation, it turned out that they just wanted to show us the three rugged phones they brought all the way from Shenzhen. Starting from the right we have the Runbo (like Rambo?) X1 IP67-certified featurephone cum walkie-talkie, which packs a 2-inch 176 × 144 display, a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a laser pointer, quad-band GSM plus 800MHz CDMA cellular radios, 400 to 470MHz range for the software-configurable walkie-talkie, a surprisingly loud speaker and a 2,200mAh battery. This will be available for ¥980 or about $160 on Taobao online store (the Chinese equivalent of eBay) in the next couple of days, and we've been told that there will also be a variant with GPS added.
But the real stars of the show are the two brick-sized vanilla Android 4.0.4 devices. The phone pictured in the middle is the Runbo X5, a device featuring a 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 MTK6577 chipset, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, microSD expansion, a4.3-inch 800 x 480 IPS display, an app-triggered laser pointer, an eight-megapixel main camera, a 0.3-megapixel front camera, a super loud speaker (again) and a massive removable 3,800mAh battery. And yes, this also comes witha 400 to 470MHz walkie-talkie radio (up to 10km range; with detachable antenna), along with the additional 850/1900/2100 WCDMA radio, two SIM slots (WCDMA plus GSM), WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. These specs are the same for the Runbo X3 on the left, except for the smaller 3.5-inch 800 x 480 IPS panel to make space for the QWERTY keyboard below it. The best part here are the prices: both of these IP67-certified devices are available on Taobao or the official website for just¥1,999 or about $320, which is a bargain for both the ruggedness and the fact that these double as standard walkie-talkies. US folks can also order directly from eBay for $380, which is also a steal. But does this surprisingly low price reflect the quality? Find out in our hands-on after the break.
Gallery: Runbo X5, X3 and X1 hands-on
Gallery: Runbo X5 hands-on
Gallery: Runbo X3 hands-on
Gallery: Runbo X1 hands-on