Taking the term 'car phone' to previously unexplored heights, the new Land Rover Explore smartphone is released today. Coming from a brand renowned for its durability, it aims to solve the most commonly-encountered problems that outdoor types (including snowboarders) face.
We’ll start with the obvious one - battery life. Not only are they adversely affected by cold weather, but these days most riders’ phones get some pretty intense use on the hill. Whether it’s phone calls, photos, slo-mo videos, Insta-spamming, or GPS tracking apps, it all takes its toll on your remaining juice.
The Land Rover Explore has a fairly hefty battery that definitely eclipses those found on today’s most popular handsets, but should you need even more juice then the ‘Adventure Pack’ (included) has you covered. Simply place it on the back if your phone and the built-in magnets will hold it steady, doubling the battery life.
It also boots the GPS signal that your phone sends out. You wouldn't want to rely on only your phone when you get into an emergency situation - but as Sascha Hamm once found out, in can mean the difference between life and death.
“The camera can be used whilst wearing gloves, and even when the screen is wet"
The cold doesn’t hammer it as hard as you’d think, either. It’ll keep ticking along even when it’s 30 below. It can be fully buried in snow, and even submerged in water. Thanks to the Land Rover Explore, that bag of rice that you keep on standby for the inevitable phone dry-out can now discover a new sense of purpose in a delicious paella.
We doubt any phone is truly unbreakable, but we’d like to see anyone take this out of action. Drop it from roughly six feet onto a hard surface, and it’ll nonchalantly brush its shoulder like Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. Whack the front of it off a rock, and the built-in screen protector will ensure that whatever YouTube vid you were watching when you were supposed to be looking where you’re going remains unobstructed by cracks.
“The ‘Adventure Pack’ (included) doubles the battery life, and also boots the GPS signal"
Software-wise it’s powered by Android, and comes pre-loaded with the ViewRanger mapping app that will be useful for splitboard tours. It can also lay information over your camera, flagging up notable peaks and other points of interest.
Speaking of the camera, the quality isn’t far off the market leaders. It can be used whilst wearing gloves, and even when the screen is wet, so definitely noses ahead in the convenience stakes.
The option to attach it to your person with a carabiner clip is a bit O.T.T. - stashing it in a zip pocket will do - but the rest of the Land Rover Explore’s many features won’t leave you wanting.
If you like to accessorise, it’s also available with a matching car (not included).