This is my first review for rugged smartphone, the Vchok M9 is certified with an IP68 rating,which means that is completely protected from harmful dust (6) and it has also protection from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (8). Below you can see meaning for every code. But before you go to the next chapter I just want to say that this is the first rugged phone with 4G LTE network support.

Vchok M9 Rugged phoneSolid protection

IP Code Protection Object size
0 No protection N/A
1 Protection from contact with any large surface of the body like the back of a hand, but it has no protection against deliberate contact with a body part, like a finger Less than 50mm
2 Protection from fingers and other similar objects Less than 12.5mm
3 Protection from thick wires, tools, or other similar objects Less than 2.5mm
4 Protection from screws, wiresor and other similar objects Less than 1mm
5 Partial protection from harmful dust N/A
6 Protection from harmful dust N/A

Moisture protection

IP Code Protection Test duration Usage
0 No protection N/A N/A
1 Protection against vertically dripping water 10 mins Light rain
2 Protection against vertically dripping water when device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees 10 mins Light rain
3 Protection against direct sprays of water when device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees 5 mins Rain and spraying
4 Protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions. 5 mins Rain, spraying and splashing
5 Protection from low pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing and direct contact with most kitchen/bathroom faucets
6 Protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing, direct contact with kitchen/bathroom faucets, outdoor use in rough sea conditions
7 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.2ft) for up to 30 mins 30 mins Rain, splashing and accidental submersion
8 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth) Varies Rain, splashing and accidental submersion

Unboxing

This strong smartphone comes in yellow box with many additional accessory, so except the device you will also get USB cable, headphones, 4700 mAh battery, charger, battery cover removal tool and external antenna for walkie-talkie function. The USB cable has micro USB connector but it is little longer than usual because of the rugged casing.

20160101_111728

20160101_113324Design and build

As any other rugged smartphone, Vchok M9 is protected from every side with strong casing. The case is made from a combination of rubber and plastic. All buttons are made from rubber while all ports are protected with lids. Buttons below the screen have backlight and the phone compared with other is bigger.

But this not all because it has few buttons more than usual, so it has SOS, restart and button for flashlight. So with one push you can turn on or turn off the flashlight, which is certainly convenient. Overall I am very satisfied with build quality and practicality. Also if you to insert yours SIM cards and memory card you will need to use battery cover removal tool to open the back cover.

Vchok M9 in cement

It is also thrown into hot water

Display

The Vchok M9 has 4.5 inch screen with qHD resolution, for the screen size qHD resolution is great choice. Really you don’t need to have higher resolution, because it looks really good and sharpness is enough high. The construction is made like that the screen is inside in protective casing, so in that way is protected from any unwanted damage.

Performance and benchmark testing

From what I can see mostly rugged phones has weaker built-in hardware because obviously this is not their primary objective, but in this situation the Vchok M9 has much better hardware. So it has quad core CPU Mediatek MT6735 with speed 1 GHz and GPU is Mali-720P. It has also 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of memory where the user has 12.28GB available. If storage space is not enough for you then you can upgrade it with microSD card up to 32 GB.

vchok cpu-zI tried personally many different things like playing games, watching movies, other every day stuff and I can freely say that everything worked as it should to work. Although this smartphone is designed to be used in places that other smartphones should not be taken of course. Also I have tested the phone with several benchmark test apps and Vchok M9 scored 26336 points in Antutu benchmark. Below you can see benchmark results.

Benchmarks test results

benchmarkSoftware

Talking about software and operating system the Vchok M9 comes with Android 5.1 system. From what I can see it is almost clean OS. It just have several new apps like for walkie-talkie. During use I did not find any problems and it runs really smooth.

android rugged phoneConnectivity and GPS

For the start I can say that this rugged phone is dual-sim device. It has many connectivity functions like support for 3G network, support for 4G LTE network, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, SOS and walkie-talkie. So you can see it has many different connectivity functions and all are working as they should to work. GPS is working with precision of 3 m without network and Wi-Fi help. Talking about 3G and 4G LTE network it supports this frequencies, 3G: WCDMA 850/1900/2100MHz, 4G: FDD-LTE 700/800/850/1700/1900/2100/2600MHz. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth has good range for connectivity. For me definitely new function is walkie-talkie and the Vchok M9 comes with pre installed app called walkie-talkie.

vchok m9 gpsWalkie-talkie

I am not expert at this field but from what I can see it has enough possible settings. It supports frequencies from 400.000 Mhz to 480.000 Mhz. So you can normally use it in Europe, for example you can use 446.00625 Mhz frequency. For better and stronger signal it is advisable to use external antenna. You can also communicate through headphones. Overall it is really cool function, but it can be also useful.

walkie talkieCamera Quality

The camera on Vchok M9 was not the primary objective, but the photo quality is still good. The rear camera has 13 megapixel sensor with strong flashlight. Photos are almost natural and for example the sharpness is medium. So below can see photo samples made by this phone.

Photo Samples

Battery life

According to the Vchok company this rugged phone, comes with high-capacity battery which has 4700mAh. It does not support fast charging, but it support power bank function. So you can charge other devices. In my test with heavy use it can last two days, so it is pretty good result.

Conclusion

Overall I am very satisfied with the Vchok M9 because it has IP68 certificate rating, high build quality, medium strong hardware, support for 4G LTE network, walkie-talkie and high-capacity battery with 4700mAh. The price is now around $300 and if you are looking for rugged smartphone you should definitely consider this one.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m relatively new to using smartphone and I recently bought the Vchok M9 LTE as my mountaineering-traveling-GPS-walkie talkie-altimeter-camera-alarm clock-compass-skype with family-read ebooks-check climbing routes-do it all device. Overall impression is very positive (with exception of the battery standby time). It certainly is rugged and for the most part everything functions as it should.
    Some issues I found is that ‘phone idle’ or phone standby consumes about 50 % of the battery. I’m not a heavy user, but I would assume downloading some stuff should use more battery than the phone going to sleep. I had once upon a time another smartphone and that lasted in standby for more than a week easily. I googled around and standby battery drain is a known issue with Android 5.1 OS. So probably that’s what’s going on. Considering how heavy and big the battery is it shouldn’t drain that fast, especially if you’re sitting on mountain with very limited energy supply for few weeks at a time, and every ounce of weight counts.

    Other observations are: videos are sharper than photos, or maybe I haven’t figured out the auto-focus yet.
    The FM radio works only if the ear plugs are plugged in (and then you can put it on speaker). I keep ‘cheek-dialing’ with my face when I make calls. But I guess I can make it a habti of holding the phone a bit farther away.

      • Hi,

        I have this phone too and I’m using the walkie talkie app every day in my work and I can say it’s a really good one.
        Do you have any issue with this app?

        Best regards

  2. hello, any news on the battery drain issue while in stand-by? can we install latest 6.0 version instead on this phone without breaking any functionality?

  3. Hi mates, great review! Does eanyone know a web page or how to contact the brand or builder of the phone? thanks

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