Tech review: UniStrong UT10 is not your average smartphone

The rugged smartphone is heavily protected, with a water resistance rating of IP68, able to withstand drops from a height of 1.5m and can be function in conditions up to 60 degrees Celsius.
The rugged smartphone is heavily protected, with a water resistance rating of IP68, able to withstand drops from a height of 1.5m and can be function in conditions up to 60 degrees Celsius.PHOTO: UNISTRONG

The UniStrong UT10 is not your average consumer smartphone, it is a rugged smartphone that is targeted more for use in commercial entities like a logistics company or for geographical surveying.

The dual-SIM phone looks much bigger than an average smartphone. It is around 20 per cent bigger than a Samsung Galaxy Note9, which has 6.4-inch display, despite the UT10 having a smaller 6-inch full high-definition display.

The reason of its large size is the amount of protection it has. It is like having an inbuilt armour case. Its water resistance rating of IP68 means it can be submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m for 30 minutes.

It has also been tested to withstand drops from a height of 1.5m and can function in conditions of up to 60 degrees Celsius.

To test its ruggedness, I dropped the UT10 several times from a height of 1m to a concrete floor. A couple of drops were with the screen facing down. There are some exterior scratches but none on the screen. And the smartphone remains in good working condition.

On the bottom front of the smartphone, you will find the power button, two customisable buttons and a Function button. The volume control buttons are on its right, while you will find a Push-to-Talk (PTT) button on the left.

This dedicated PTT button is probably the biggest selling point of the UT10. UniStrong APAC, formerly Navicom Technology, works with Internet Protocol PTT (IP-PTT) service provider, ProPTT2, to offer PTT solutions to companies.

  • SPECS

    Price: $1,599 (without PTT contract)

    Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 (octa-core 2.2GHz)

    Display: 6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    Operating system: Android 8.0

    Memory: 32GB internal storage (microSD card expandable to 256GB), 4GB RAM

    Rear camera: 13-megapixel

    Front camera: 5-megapixel

    Battery: Removable 8,000mAh

    Weight: 360g

    RATING

    Features: 4/5

    Design: 3/5

    Performance: 4/5

    Battery life: 5/5

    Value for money: 3/5

    Overall: 4/5

IP-PTT works via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G networks, thereby allowing businesses to create their own secure and intuitive communication network.

The ProPTT2 app is integrated with UT10's PTT button. When you press the PTT button, you can immediately talk to someone in a communication channel. The two customisable buttons are - by default - used to switch channels.

In addition, the app allows for video PTT and real time video sharing, which might be useful for first responders attending to emergencies whereby they can show doctors the injuries of patients and doctors can immediately advise on the possible actions to be taken.

This IP-PTT requires a subscription fee of $9 per month. However, UniStrong APAC is having a promotion till this March whereby it is selling the UT10 at $990 (usual price $1,599) with free 12 months' PTT subscription.

UniStrong also offers plenty of accessories, like vehicle dock and hand-strap, to go with the UT10. One useful accessory is the barcode-scanner ($229) that comes with a hand-strap. This barcode-scanner connects to the UT10's rear, and users can press the Function button to scan barcodes of products.

The UT10 is loaded with the stock Android 8.0 mobile operating system. It does not come with skins or mods that usually slow down a smartphone.

However, the UT10 is not exactly fast. In the GeekBench 4 benchmark tests, it scored 940 (single-core) and 4,631 (multi-core). Comparatively, the Note9 has scores of 3,760 points (single-core) and 9,094 points (multi-core). Guess companies would not want their employees to be playing Pokemon Go on this smartphone.

With a 8,000mAh battery, the UT10 lasted a stunning 20hr 11min in our video-loopback test. For normal usage, it lasted a full three days before it needs to be charged. Great for those working outdoors, doing deliveries or for medical response teams, in which the last thing they need is a flat battery.

Verdict: For commercial entities or organisations that require IP-PTT communication network, the UniStrong UT10 offers a strong proposition.