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Extreme Cold: Which Feature Phones And Smartphones Are The Toughest?

Aaron Tilton
3

(Picture: Reuters)

I don't know if anyone noticed, but it's cold outside… really cold. Of course users have a major advantage over their beloved smartphones because we can always bundle up and protect ourselves from the cold. But smartphones and features phones don't have that advantage. When we pull them out of the warm, protective shell of our pockets, they are exposed to temperatures that put their engineering to the test. Of course this begs the question: Can smartphones freeze? The Finish computer magazine MikroPC apparently were asking themselves the same question and took 15 of the most popular smartphone and exposed them to the subzero Finnish winter. So which phone will take the polar crown? Galaxy S2 or iPhone? Nokia or HTC?

 It's Cold Out There- Test Conditions…

The 15 of the most popular smartphones were selected and three examples of each were exposed to temperatures approaching -40 degrees.

Of course, each manufacture releases guide lines for each device, including recommended temperatures. But the guys over at MikroPC wanted to take it a step further and test each device in a temp. range far exceeding what designers recommend. Samsung claims it's devices can take temperatures ranging from -20 to around 110 degrees while Apple only trusts its popular iPhone series to take temps ranging from 32 to 100 degrees. Nokia and HTC on the other hand, weren't brave enough to put the safe temperatures of operation in writing for their devices… we'll will find that out soon enough.

The Test! Which Smartphone Is Tough Enough For Finnland

0
All phones are still doing fine.

-5
The iPhone 4S and Nokia N9 are showing the first signs of cracking: The iPhone can't find its SIM card and the N9 claims its battery is empty.

-10
The iPhone throws in the towel. The latest version of Apple's big success story claims its battery is empty and shuts down. Other phones featuring LCD displays also aren't taking the cold too well. But the Super AMOLED display faired well in the extreme temperatures.

-15 to -20
And here is where most smartphones decided to pack their bags and head for warmer climates. Almost all smartphones turned off the second their screens turned on.

-25
The first feature phones begin to have problems with the cold.

-30
Only one smartphone is still in the running: the Samsung Galaxy S2!

-35
We're now in the death zone for the last smartphone… the Samsung Galaxy S2 gives us and succumbs to a cold death.

-40
At this extreme temp, the last feature phones are also at their limit. The title of ultimate cold king is split between the stone-aged Nokia C1-01 and the Nokia W65. Kind of figures that a Finnish company would build phones for a Finnish winter don't you think?

The problem with smartphones apparently lies in the battery. The extreme cold helps suppress the chemical reaction the batteries use to store energy causing the problems.

Check the graph below for a complete brake down how each phone did, check the graph below.

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    Christopher Silva Feb 10, 2012 Link

    Nice to know my GS2 is tough. I was in Erfurt Germany last week in -21 degress Celsius and it was chugging along fine.

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  • Aaron Tilton Feb 10, 2012 Link

    Agreed! I don't have a Galaxy S2 but it's nice to know that the hardware can take the cold! Just makes it more attractive in my eyes!

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  • chinu Feb 11, 2012 Link

    GS-II rulesssssssss

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