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Nokia 3720 Classic vs Samsung Solid Extreme

Thursday 17th September 2009 by Andy Simpson in Mobile Phones, Product Reviews.

Nokia’s latest rugged handset, the 3720 Classic, was released yesterday and up until now Samsung & Sonim have been leading the way with tough phones that can withstand some pretty extreme conditions. Nokia (as always) have been a little bit slow in releasing a rugged phone as both Samsung and Sonim have been producing phones with certified IP ratings for well over a year now. While the Nokia 3720 Classic isn’t the most durable handset out there, it does seem to measure up well against the competition. On paper, it’s closest competitor is the Samsung B2100 Solid Extreme so I thought I’d put the two side by side to see just what the differences are between them.

Nokia 3720 Classic Vs Samsung B2100 Slide

Nokia 3720 Classic Vs Samsung B2100 Slide

I’m not going to be putting them through their paces and test out just how much the phones can take in this post as I’m not allowed to destroy our stock(!), but I will run through the key differences between them and some of their main features.

Design

Both handsets are roughly the same size, the 3720 Classic is slightly thinner and taller than the Solid Extreme, but only by a couple of millimetres and in terms of weight, the 3720 Classic is 9 grams lighter too. When you put the two side by side, the Samsung looks like a more chunky, rugged handset. The 3720 Classic looks like a normal handset that will appeal to everyone, whether or not you need the extra durability. It’s definitely the best looking tough phone out at the moment.

Nokia 3720 Classic is thinner than the Samsung Solid Extreme

Nokia 3720 Classic is thinner than the Samsung Solid Extreme

Display

Despite the 3720 being a slightly smaller phone, it has a much bigger display. The Samsung Solid Extreme has a fairly low resolution 120 x 160 pixel, 1.7″ display capable of showing 256,000 colours, where as the 3720 Classic has a higher resolution, 240 x 320 pixel, 2.2″ display that can produce up to 16 million colours – In fact it’s the same high quality display that you’ll find in handsets such as the Nokia 6220 Classic. While this might not sound like a massive difference, it means that any photos that you take/view on your phone will be clearer, less pixelated and the menu system on the phone will look a lot smoother on the Nokia 3720 than it will on the Solid Extreme.

Nokia 3720 Classic Vs Samsung Solid Extreme

Nokia 3720 Classic Vs Samsung Solid Extreme

Menu System

Everyone loves Nokia phones because of how simple they are to use. The 3720 Classic uses the S40 Menu system – the same as the Nokia 6300, so if you’re upgrading from another Nokia handset you’ll have no problems at all in finding your way around. By using the S40 menu system, you can download extra applications and games for your phone from the Ovi Store, allowing you to really customise the phone and set it up to do exactly what you want it to. Menu icons are laid out clearly and logically and it feels natural to use. Regular software updates from Nokia can add features and improve usability too.

The Solid Extreme is a simple phone too, although not in the same way as the Nokia 3720 Classic. It uses a Samsung menu system that is very straight forward to use, but it is a little on the basic side. You can’t customise your phone beyond changing the colour scheme, ringtones and java games and sometimes you have to hunt around to find menu items. If you’ve used Samsung handsets in the past you’ll have no problem in using the phone, but if you’re a Sony Ericsson or Nokia user, you might struggle to start off with.

Clearer, Brighter screen makes using the 3720 Classic easier
Clearer, Brighter screen makes using the 3720 Classic easier

IP Rating

If you’re after a solid phone that can take anything you throw at it, then the IP rating is going to be important to you. The higher the rating, the more resilient the phone is. The Samsung Solid Extreme is actually the tougher handset of the two and has an IP rating of 57 where as the Nokia 3720 Classic has an IP rating of 54. This makes the Solid Extreme the better option if you want better protection against getting your phone wet. If you’re not that familiar with IP ratings, this is what each rating means:

  • IP54 – Protected against dust and low pressure jets of water from all directions with some ingress.
  • IP57 – Protected against dust with some ingress & Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

You can see more about IP ratings on my post on choosing a tough phone.

Connectivity

Both handsets support Bluetooth & USB data transfer so synchronising your music, photos and videos should be pretty straightforward. Surprisingly though, neither handset supports 3G, so if you do need to check your email or access the internet on your phone, you’ll be restricted to standard GPRS data speeds. The 3720 Classic is a Tri-band handset so can be used in North America, the Samsung Solid Extreme is Quadband and can be used in South America too.

Features

Early models of tough phone concentrated purely on keeping the phone working when it got wet or dropped, but as technology has moved on, manufacturers have been able to add more features from standard handsets to their rugged phones. Both the Nokia and the Samsung have a Camera with flash, Video Recorder, Stereo FM Radio, Internet access, Music player, voice recorder and torch.

Messaging options on the 3720 Classic & Samsung Solid Extreme

Messaging options on the 3720 Classic & Samsung Solid Extreme

The Nokia 3720 does have a few extras over the Solid Extreme though – for a start it can support email. Just enter your existing email account details on the phone and you’re ready to go. The Camera is a higher resolution one, able to capture images at 2MP rather than the 1.3MP of the Samsung. The Nokia 3720 also has Nokia Maps pre-installed – this is Nokia’s Sat Nav software that is free to use – you just need to pay for a license if you want to activate the spoken instructions. There isn’t a GPS receiver built into the phone though, so you’ll need to purchase a Bluetooth GPS receiver if you don’t have one already.

Summary

Both phones are very similar, and aside from the IP ratings, the most noticeable difference in the two is the menu system and how easy they are to use. The Samsung Solid Extreme is simple, but it’s also very basic. If being able to use your phone under water isn’t that important to you, for the extra money (currently £25) the Nokia 3720 Classic is a much better buy and I’m confident you’ll be more than happy with it, but if you want waterproof, you’ll need the Samsung Solid Extreme. The chart below shows the full differences between the two handsets.

Sim Free Solid Extreme
Nokia 3720 Classic
Features
Samsung B2100 Solid Extreme
Nokia 3720 Classic
IP Rating
57
54
Size
113 x 49 x 17
115 x 47 x 15
Weight
103g
94g
Memory Card
up to 8GB
up to 8GB
Screen Size 1.77″ 2.2″
Screen Pixels 120 x 160 240 x 320
Camera 1.3MP 2MP
Bluetooth
Radio
MP3 Player
Torch
Handsfree Kit Samsung Proprietary 2.5mm Audio Jack
Triband
Quadband
Talk Time (hrs)
9
7
Standby (hrs)
600
408
Price* £94.95 £119.95

*Prices correct as of 16th September 2009 and are subject to change.

If you’re looking to get yourself a tougher handset but aren’t sure which one to go for, you might want to take a look at our guide to choosing the right toughphone.

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