A press release landed on my computer today, claiming that Samsung has launched the world's toughest cellphone. The Samsung Solid, so the release assures me, has "strengths that make it stand out from other mobiles" which include built in anti-shock and water and dust resistance. The release goes on to claim that "encased in a thick rubber body this phone lives up to its name to withstand the tough treatment, making it ideal for any trades man, extreme sports enthusiasts or those who simply need a durable phone."
Let's look at the features. You might expect a truly tough mobile phone to do away with the little luxuries that could get broken during the kind of rough and ready exposure such a handset will endure. But no, Samsung has stuffed an FM radio (who needs a radio in their cellphone anyway) and most remarkably a camera into the device. The inclusion of a camera just seems to be asking for trouble, as these mechanisms are easily broken after all. Still, the toughest mobile on the planet will have it covered, won't it? I guess it will be totally waterproof and have an anti-shock mechanism capable of protecting it from the roughest handling and longest drops.
Actually, no. The Samsung Solid's water and dust resistancy is effective to an IP rating of 54, which as Samsung itself admits means it will "survive water splashes and the occasional knock or drop". The Ingress Protection rating, to give it the full explanation, consists of two numbers. The first relates to protection against solid objects and the second liquids. From this you can deduce that the Samsung Solid is 'protected against dust with limited ingress' rather than the maximum 'totally protected against dust' 6 point rating and 'protected against water sprayed from all directions with limited ingress permitted' rather than the maximum 8 point rating of 'protected against long periods of immersion under pressure'.
So there you have it, the world's toughest cellphone can be used in the rain and will not break if you drop it unless you drop it into a puddle that is. Still, it does have a built in flashlight...