Walking around with King Kong in your pocket does not sound like a particularly pleasant experience, but those envisioning something bulky, beastly and temperamental are in for a surprise.
Most of us have had a hairy moment or two with our smartphones, whether it was dropping them under dancing feet in a nightclub or watching infants gleefully throwing them about as if made of putty.
The glass screens are especially prone to breakage, while the corner areas can look dented and bruised after just a couple of unwanted slips.
Hisense, the Chinese brand, has come up with an answer in the form of its King Kong device.
Advertised as ideal for hikers, mountaineers and other adventurers, it should actually appeal to a far wider audience.
For starters, it has a 5-inch shatterproof Gorilla Glass screen so that selfie at the top of the Empire State Building can pass smoothly.
The handset is tough and durable, with thick rubber strips adorning the top and bottom to act as shock absorbers. It also has an IP54 dust and waterproof rating.
The rear of the phone is cased in leather, although not quite as stylishly as the newly released LG G4.
I expected it to feel cumbersome and gimmicky, but it has been designed effectively enough to pass as a regular smartphone wearing a reinforced jacket that is not as intrusive as a third-party case.
In terms of performance, the King Kong enters the mid-range segment, with an 8-megapixel rear camera, 2MP front camera and 2 gigabytes of RAM.
The screen quality is not up to the standard of other devices in the Dh999 range such as the Samsung Galaxy A5, but it is responsive enough without ever feeling like a high-end device.
Overall, Hisense has done an admirable job in delivering a phone that stands out from the crowd. It might not contain world-leading technology, but it is affordably priced and can deal with the rough and tumble of everyday life.
Is this the unbreakable phone?
I’m not so sure about that, although it is extremely tough. Hisense likes to show it breaking walnuts and smashing through a watermelon. I took a less fruity path and tried to break it against the side of a table and threw it, repeatedly, on the floor. There wasn’t a mark on it. Interestingly, despite its apparent strength, it can be bent quite far with the mere power in your hands.
Are there any alternatives on the market?
Yes. Caterpillar, the manufacturer of construction equipment, has a range of heavy-duty Android phones. I would say the King Kong is more attractive, however. In terms of water and dustproofing, the Sony Xperia Aqua range is superior, but it was not made to attend the school of hard knocks.
Hisense has high hopes for this phone in the region.
Absolutely. Terry Wang, managing director of Hisense Middle East, said the launch “underlines our commitment to be one of the top three brands in the region by 2020”. He added that he sees “significant” demand for it in the UAE.
Anything else we should know?
It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad Core 1.2-gigahertz processor and runs on Android 4.4 Kitkat.
And King Kong himself?
He was not immediately available for comment.