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A mountainproof smartphone from French outdoor giant Decathlon

The dedicated-GPS-versus-smartphone debate will continue, and everyone’s got their favourite way of logging and sharing their rides. Here’s another option: the Quechua Phone 5 from Decathlon, which retails at £199.99.

Dubbed “mountainproof” by the French giant, the Phone 5 has a 5-inch screen and is ruggedised to be able to take a few knocks when it’s out and about; you should be able to drop it from 1m without doing it any harm. It’s also IP54 rated. For those unaccustomed to IP ratings the first digit refers to the unit’s dust proofing (maximum of 6, which is dust-tight) and the second is waterproofing which goes all the way up to 9 (safe against high pressure jets). IP54 is dustproof enough that any dust that does get in shouldn’t stop the phone working, and it’s waterproof against ‘splashing of water’ - you shouldn’t drop it in the bath, but needn't worry about getting it damp. That’s a lower rating than the IP67 of many dedicated GPS units but should mean that it’s just dandy if you need to get it out in the rain. All the ports (USB, headphone, Micro SD and SIM card) are protected by covers to seal them against the elements.

That 5” screen has a resolution of 840x480 pixels, less than some phones that go right up to 1920x1080 HD but equally a whole lot more than a dedicated GPS; Garmin’s Edge 810, for example, makes do with 240x160. It should be fine for routefinding and playing Flappy Bird, and it's designed to be legible in bright conditions too. It’s a capacitative touch screen so you’ll need a bare finger or a bit of that clever cloth on your glove to get the best out of it.

The Phone 5 runs Android 4.1.2, and it has a quad-core 1.2Ghz processor so shouldn’t struggle with general phone and navigation duties. It has a 3G data connection, Bluetooth, WiFi and of course GPS. There’s also a barometric altimeter for better altitude accuracy, something that GPS-only phones can struggle with. There’s a 5MP camera for recording your exploits too, and a front-facing camera for selfies and Skype. The phone has 4Gb of internal storage, expandable via a Micro SD slot.

That’s all well and good but not much use if the phone dies a couple of hours into the ride. That’s not likely to be an issue here: the Phone 5 packs a whopping 3500mAh battery into its innards. That’s as big as any phone we've seen, and should make for long stints between charging. Remember when you charged your Nokia 3210 on Monday and you still had one bar on Friday? Like that. Hopefully.

All that screen and battery means it’s certainly not diminuitive. It’ll fit in your pocket, assuming you have a decent-sized pocket, but you’ll know it’s in there. But since it’s waterproof in general use, you can experiment with ways of fixing it to your bars or stem instead. We’ll be doing that, as well as just generally using it as a phone. We’ll let you know how we get on.

www.decathlon.co.uk

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

16 comments

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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I like their "test" feature on its own dedicated site http://www.quechuaphone.com/en/home  3

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Mr Agreeable [173 posts] 2 years ago
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One problem with waterproof touchscreen phones is that they become all but unusable in the rain, as they interpret each raindrop as a fingertip. Sony's ones have some clever tech that gets round this. Any idea how this one copes?

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andycoventry [110 posts] 2 years ago
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How can they get away with calling it a Phone 5, surely that can't be allowed so close to iPhone 5?...

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KOShea20 [6 posts] 2 years ago
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I have recently purchased this phone, and I think its great.
The rain didn't affect the touchscreen, I was still able to fully use it.
The camera is average but after downloading a better app, it is much better.
Overall, 8 out of 10, great value for money

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
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andycoventry wrote:

How can they get away with calling it a Phone 5, surely that can't be allowed so close to iPhone 5?...

so far as i'm aware apple don't have any claim to the word 'phone' or the number 5  3

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workhard [397 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:
andycoventry wrote:

How can they get away with calling it a Phone 5, surely that can't be allowed so close to iPhone 5?...

so far as i'm aware apple don't have any claim to the word 'phone' or the number 5  3

Aye, aye!  35

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workhard [397 posts] 2 years ago
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Kudos to Decathlon it sells for €230 in France

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oozaveared [945 posts] 2 years ago
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andycoventry wrote:

How can they get away with calling it a Phone 5, surely that can't be allowed so close to iPhone 5?...

Good question but the Apple is an "Apple iPhone" Version 5 there are previous iterations so the name of Apple's product is not connected to the number 5 any more than it is connected to 4s or 3. They can't patent a number. If Apple had called their phone Apple Phone 5 and only had one version such that 5 was permenantly linked to the word phone not just the fifth iteration then they might have an issue to explore.

Think of it this way. Ford won't be taking up BMWs use of the X, 3 and i which they used on the Escort XR3i and which BMW now use on the BMW X3 xDrive28i. or the new Hybrid BMW i3.

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parksey [343 posts] 2 years ago
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Upgrade time for me in a month or so, but this just seems a little bit cheap and cheerful, spec-wise, to have as a main/only device.

Where it does seem to make sense though is as good value second device, which is capable of doing both the GPS and phone functions. Saves having to carry both a GPS and a phone, or if you'd prefer not to take your latest £500 handset out with you on rides.

It's priced favourably against standalone GPS units too.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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I bought a basic Nokia the other day, for carrying on my bike.
It weighs 72g, compared to 162g for my iphone, and the battery lasts 35 days on standby. The price was just 99 pence plus an initial twenty quid top-up (on an O2 tarrif so that the 20 quid carries over every month - ie you don't lose it).

Obviously it's not a smart phone, but it's so light that carrying one of these saves you having to worry about running out of juice if you're using your main phone as a satnav.

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 2 years ago
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Seems to me this is an ideal 2nd device at this price. I have not got the nerve or money to run my S3 on the bars but do carry it as I use Strava. With a bluetooth chest strap I could forget about replacing my (dead) Polar bike computer and get all the info I desire on the bike live. Plus I get at least 8 hours out of my phone with 2100 mAh battery, just running Strava. So even running Bluetooth for the HRM I'd expect to get a similar time with the 3500 battery in this unit. Tempting.

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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For those of you who may be having a contract upgrade soon.

See if you can get a Sony Xperia Z (Z1, Z Ultra or Z Compact)

They all come in at IP55-58

IP68 is the largest rating a phone can get. As Dave suggests in his article, it does go upto 9, which is rated at 9k, but phones are only tested to 8, 9k is used for vehicles, car washes...etc

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MrGear [87 posts] 2 years ago
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Much as I love my Garmin Edge 800, I can't help but wonder why they didn't use a smartphone as a basis for the hardware, android as the operating system, and most of the features of the unit simply an app... It would have cost much less to develop and would have been much less clunky than the interface that they ended up using.

A simple "case-mod" on teh hardware to make it more waterproof and mountable and you are there.

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davebinks [152 posts] 2 years ago
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Having just bought a Garmin Edge Touring sat nav, my biggest gripe is the route the blinking thing chooses.
It loves sending me up muddy tracks and so called "Cycleways" even when I've told it exactly where I want to go by downloading a pre-planned .gpx route.
It also loves taking me on a long detour just to avoid what it obviously thinks is a busy or dangerous route even though I think it's fine.

I'll have to try my smartphone as a sat-nav and see if it's any better. It can't be much worse.

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Sadoldsamurai [37 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:
andycoventry wrote:

How can they get away with calling it a Phone 5, surely that can't be allowed so close to iPhone 5?...

so far as i'm aware apple don't have any claim to the word 'phone' or the number 5  3

But once they do you'll be laughing with all the royalties for floating the idea.  41

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Sadoldsamurai [37 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Dave Atkinson wrote:
andycoventry wrote:

How can they get away with calling it a Phone 5, surely that can't be allowed so close to iPhone 5?...

so far as i'm aware apple don't have any claim to the word 'phone' or the number 5  3

But once they do you'll be laughing with all the royalties for floating the idea.  41