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Land Rover smartphone: smart car accessory

When Land Rover allowed its brand to be used on a smartphone, was it just a gimmick? ARTHIUR GOLDSTUCK makes a great discovery.



Does that mean the phone also comes into its own off the beaten track? Without question.

The design is the first clue. Made by Bullitt, who also produce the market-leading Cat durable phones, its rubberised back and rugged edging establish its credentials for both outdoor use and active users. Ridges on the back suggest the roof of a vehicle, while the Land Rover logo and a rear camera housing that echoes the classic headlamp design all speak to the Land Rover design heritage – and a phone inspired by a car.

The cherry on top, or rather the design at the bottom of the phone front, is a speaker grill based on the design of the grill in the front of the Land Rover itself. With this final ingredient, the phone becomes a head turner the way iPhones no longer seem to be.

The most common question asked during the road test of the car and phone, after admiring inspections of the vehicle, was, “What phone is THAT?”

Dedicated GPS attachment that clips to back of phone.

Well, that’s the phone that includes an “outdoor dashboard” for instant weather and sensor information, and Land Rover’s own InControl apps for integration with the vehicle. The 5” screen is optimised for reading in sunlight, and allows wet finger control. It worked perfectly while testing the phone in the light rain that fell over the Magaliesberg mountains during the test drive. The feature also allows the touch screen to be used while one is wearing gloves.

The phone is IP68 water and dust resistant, which came in useful when it had to be retrieved from a pond during creative camera tests. 

The phone comes with an “adventure pack”, a GPS module that provides precise location details in the wilds, so far off the beaten tracks that no Google or Waze maps can guide one. Unlike “assisted GPS” on smartphones, it still operates when the phone is not connected to the network or data. The pack includes additional battery power, allowing more than a full day’s use of the phone with continual GPS activity.

Somewhere in the Magaliesberg: LandRover phone captures landscapes beautifully.

One of the coolest aspects of the adventure Pack is that it attaches tightly to magnetic clips on the back of the phone, so that the two become one – and instantly activates Adventure Pack software and functionality on the phone.

The very coolest function of all, however, is not one that you will find in the specs. Thanks to the magnetic clips on the back of the phone, it can be attached tightly to the side of the Land Rover Discovery itself while one is engaged on extra-vehicular activity. Call it an undocumented feature, or one not recommended by the manufacturers of either phone or car, but it symbolises the perfect coming together of the two.

Land Rover meets Van Gogh: Smartphone captures nature as art.

(Click here or below to check out the Land Rover smartphone specs:) Key specs of the Land Rover Explore phone)

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