Sonim XP8 Review: Durability that Endures Harsh Environments

Different phones cater to different audiences. Check out our Sonim XP8 review to see what makes this unique phone stand out from the others.

Sonim XP8 Review

The Sonim XP8 smartphone was released in April 2018. Smartphones are made for a variety of reasons. On the one hand, most modern phones are designed for the everyday casual phone user.

On the other hand, some phones are specifically designed for a particular audience. The Sonim XP8 is an excellent example of a device that’s eccentrically made for individual circumstances.

This device is made with a degree of extreme ruggedness. People whose jobs are in the fields of construction or utilities will see a benefit from this military-tested device.

There’s no harm in checking out the phone, even if you’re just a usual tech enthusiast. Read our detailed Sonim XP8 review to see what’s in store with this unrivaled phone.

Key Specs

Sonim XP8 specifications:

  • Weight: 335g
  • Dimensions: 152 x 79.5 x 18mm
  • OS: Android 8.1
  • Screen size: 5-inch
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • CPU: 2.2GHz Octa-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery: 4,900mAh, Removable
  • Rear camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP


Sonim XP8
Sonim XP8

Starting off the review is a look at Sonim XP8’s overall design, which is definitely striking. The phone does not shy away from sturdiness. It has a thick build that almost resembles a walkie-talkie. With a weight of 335g, it is much bulkier than our everyday smartphones. At the moment, the phone is only available in black.

The phone includes a unique set of keys and buttons. The phone has keys for volume control, as well as lock and unlock. There are also dedicated keys that we can use during unforeseen situations. These keys include a PTT key and SOS Red Alert.

Similar to the phone’s keys, the Sonim XP8 houses not just one but five ports. We have the usual USB-C port commonly found in most devices. There is also the phone’s trademark Sonim Secure Audio Connector, guaranteeing louder and richer sounds. To put in our SIM cards, the phone has dual Nano SIM card slots.

What makes this phone truly unique is its ability to resist a long list of hazards. The phone’s durability has been recognized by several establishments, with a MIL-STD-810 certification to boast. Resisting water, shock, dust, temperature, vibration, and humidity, the phone has a high endurance level. Users can also clean the phone’s exteriors using soap and water, or even chemical cleaners.


The Sonim XP8 employs a small, 5-inch display screen. In other words, the phone has a 57.07% screen-to-body percentage. It’s surprising to us that a phone of this caliber doesn’t have a large screen. With its macho-like appearance, we expected something a bit more massive. Other smartphones, even low-range ones, have display screens wider than this.

But come to think of it, we will need to remember the intention of this device. This phone puts an emphasis on practicality instead of design. Under hazardous environments, it is much easier to operate a small-screen smartphone instead of a large one. Giant display screens typically require two hands to type. Meanwhile, a small screen simply needs one hand to do texting or calling.

Besides its size, the Sonim XP8 is installed with a resolution size of 1920  x 1080 pixels. The phone accommodates a total of 441 pixels per inch. We are still guaranteed sharp graphics and visuals. Despite its small size, the developers did not compromise on quality.

A sturdy phone should also have some protection on it. The phone’s display screen is layered with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. This glass has proven to resist scratches from external damages. We can also access our touch screen with wet fingers or gloved hands. It makes the phone usable under whatever condition.

Read also: Sonim XP8 User Manual


Sonim XP8 Camera
Sonim XP8 Camera

The Sonim XP8 features one single rear camera and one front-facing camera. The rear camera has an adequately high megapixel at 12 MP. It’s a shame that a phone at this high price point only has 12MP. We can think of other phones half this price with higher megapixels. However, different phones have different selling points, so we’re not too disappointed.

Accompanying the single rear camera is a flash. This flash feature is useful for the phone to take pictures under low-light conditions. It’s also exceptionally ideal for an emergency-based smartphone to have an LED flash. Additionally, the rear camera comes installed with Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF). We don’t have to tap on our screens to focus on a subject.

Besides the rear camera, the Sonim XP8 has an 8MP front-facing camera. The camera doesn’t have flash, but it has a decent megapixel amount. We can use the front-facing camera to make urgent video calls to ask for immediate assistance. With 8MP, callers can clearly see where we are in our video calls.

Photography isn’t the only thing the phone is capable of. We can use the phone to record videos in a range of formats. Whether we choose to record in AVI or MP4, there are endless options. We can also share our videos directly from the phone without cable transfer.


The Sonim XP8 is installed with a 64GB internal storage space. Since the phone comes with a list of unique software, users can expect bloatware. These are pre-installed apps that usually take up the phone’s internal memory. Out of the 64GB of storage, only up to 45GB is available for users.

That’s still a considerable storage space to keep our data and information. However, if we need more room to put in our things, we can expand the phone storage. To do this, we’ll need to install a microSD card into the phone. We have the option of extending the memory up to 128GB.

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Sonim XP8 Homescreen

The Sonim XP8 is operated by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor. This mobile processor is the key to the phone’s overall system. Without this mobile platform, the phone provides no use at all. To our expectations, the chipset shows excellent potential with integrating the phone’s hardware and software parts. This improvement has led to efficient phone performance.

The Octa-core chipset currently runs on a CPU clock speed of up to 2.2GHz. The rate alone is a contributing factor to the phone’s LTE speeds, which are impressively fast. It has also been proven to strengthen the phone’s battery life. While it isn’t too necessary, especially for a device like this, the chipset pushes towards advanced photography.

This Sonim XP8 review takes into great importance the phone’s 4GB RAM. Also known by its longer name, Random Access Memory, the RAM promotes phone efficiency. Massive RAM storage is required for a device to keep large amounts of temporary data. If a device has a small RAM size, issues are bound to arise.

So far, we are impressed by the RAM size. Installing 4GB is more than sufficient enough for a phone to function. This amount should make sure that the phone does not lag during unforeseen circumstances. The last thing we want in an emergency is to encounter sudden phone crashes.

The Sonim XP8 is then powered by the Android Oreo (8.1.0) operating system (OS). This OS is the much-needed support that a phone like this requires. It is equipped with memory optimizations, which improves the phone’s memory usage. This feature guarantees to increase the efficiency of the phone’s system.

We can also expect a much simpler settings interface. The new layout helps first-time users to navigate the phone quickly. Additionally, certain features increase the phone’s level of accessibility. These features include smart text, a new security system, battery settings, and more.

Lastly, the Sonim XP8 optimizes several sensors to make the phone as responsive as it can. We have a proximity sensor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, barometer, compass, and ambient light sensor. The proximity prevents users from making unwanted touches on the screen. Meanwhile, the accelerometer and gyroscope work together to detect our movements.

The barometer makes sure that the phone detects our surroundings, ranging from weather to altitudes. The sensor that detects light is the ambient light sensor – it’s the sensor behind adaptive brightness. Finally, the compass, true to its name, detects our geographical location.


The Sonim XP8 can receive coverage from various networks. Each network, whether LTE or UMTS, can achieve multiple connection bands as well. As previously mentioned, the phone lets us insert dual SIM cards. However, these cards will need to be in a Nano type to activate our connection.

The phone allows us to connect through a public safety network, courtesy of FirstNet and B14. We can share information safely without the possibility of privacy breaches. It also has the usual features found in most smartphones. For wireless transfers, we can use Bluetooth 5.0. If we need to connect to a hotspot, we can use Wi-Fi.


The Sonim XP8 uses a 4,900mAh battery to provide the phone the juice it requires. A big phone needs a big battery capacity to function correctly. Fortunately, this phone has it. Equipped with Multi-shift Battery Life, the phone can last you for a whole day. We don’t have to fear running out of battery quickly.

If we actually run out of juice, the phone has it covered. The Sonim XP8 is installed with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4, a product of its processor. This maximizes the phone’s charging speed to get the full charge we need. Large and quick, we shouldn’t worry about a thing.

Is the Sonim XP8 a good phone?

Wrapping up our Sonim XP8 review, this is an exciting phone that deserves recognition. It’s not an everyday phone that’s typically marketed in stores. Ergonomically speaking, this phone is something we wouldn’t carry from one place to another. But it’s a device that will significantly assist us in dire times of crisis.

The phone is selling for a high retail price of $648. Again, this phone is not designed for usual markets. The software specifications are not the most impressive. However, the phone is made for front liners, requiring immediate communication under the harshest of environments. This device should do the job well for people involved in hazardous lines of work.

Sonim XP8 Pros

  • Resistant to external damage
  • Huge storage space
  • Large RAM
  • Long-lasting battery

Sonim XP8 Cons

  • Small display screen
  • Low camera megapixels