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Product Review: Motorola Tundra ain't so tough

Tundra My review this week was a bit of a strange experience. I got the Motorola Tundra to toss around -- it's a rugged phone marketed as being built to "withstand the most strenuous conditions, meeting U.S. Military Specification for drop, dust, vibration humidity, severe temperatures and rain.'' It also has several workforce management tools and features such as Push To Talk service and CrystalTalk Plus, which helps reduce background noise in loud environments.

I've reviewed rugged phones before, such as AT&T's Samsung Rugby or Verizon's G'zOne Boulder made by Casio -- which I dropped off a building twice and it survived! (The Boulder really impressed me.)

So needless to say, I didn't expect the Tundra to break when I tossed it underhand in a parking lot.

I was going to do a video where I would abuse the phone in different ways, and it would start off with me doing a fake trip and have it fall out of my hand. (I'm naturally pretty klutzy, so seemed like a realistic thing that would happen to me.)

But it didn't survive the toss! I had the phone open when it fell and the joint popped out, which severed the connection to the screen and microphone.

I later contacted AT&T and Motorola about how easily it broke. Motorola insisted on sending me another phone to beat up, since the first phone might have been flawed. They also passed along links to other videos on YouTube where the Tundra survived other stress tests. 

It wasn't as easy to break the second phone. I tested it by running it over with a car -- which may sound crazy, but it's a common stress test for rugged phones. I ran over it three times. The fourth time it broke after I gave the car a little gas to accelerate, instead of just rolling over it really slowly.

My contact at Motorola says a break from an average drop seems to be an anomaly. After I tested it, she told me it is meant to withstand repeated drops of up to five feet. But sorry, I can't recommend a phone called the Tundra when it breaks from just a toss. Especially when it costs about $200 after rebate.

Perhaps I'm just being too tough on the Tundra? Or maybe they shouldn't have given it such a tough name.

Watch the video below and tell me what you think...


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I bought one of these phones, and you're right! it doesnt withstand drops from even the first floor of a buildinG!

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