Crosscall Trekker X4 Review

The reviews of this smartphone are few in numbers. There is not much you can find about it, apart from some demo videos and these are not really encouraging.

If you need a really tough smartphone, chances are you will be looking at the Crosscall brand. The options for tough smartphones are limited. Most of them are expensive for what you get specs-wise. The Trekker X4 is no exception to this. You get a €400,- smartphone for a much higher price. We could get it with a big discount for about €580, which is not a bad deal.

Next to the extra ruggedness, another reason for the high price of the Trekker X4 is the special action video camera that is build-in. Crosscall says it can replace your dedicated action cam. This is only true if you do not need high quality video. Video’s made with this action camera are best only viewed on a small screen of a smartphone in portrait orientation. They look very nice like that with very beautifull colors. Watched on anything bigger than that, however, the lack of detail and dynamic range becomes very obvious. Objects in the foreground are usually OK. It is the background that suffers the most. So if you are going to record yourself, or people close-by, things should be good enough. But if you are going to use this to film wide landscapes or things further away from you, then you will be disappointed.  The camera allows you to record with an extreme wide-angle lens (170°), however, and keeps the horizon level automatically. These are unique features and therefore feature-wise Crosscall can state that this is an action camera indeed. The video editing software is clearly not finished however. Bugs prevent you from editing many times. Sometimes you just get a black screen instead of your video. Often you will need to export your clips, and then do the editing in other software because the X-Story app is unusable. And if it works, every video that you create will finish with a “Created with Crosscall ” slide… Not very nice that this can not be disabled. We contacted the Crosscall support about the software problems, but never received any answer. We now just export the video using the sharing options and edit the video in other apps instead of the X-Story app.

Still picture image quality of this action camera is very disappointing. Better only use this camera for video. The reason is that this device always uses a fisheye lens, and the output is corrected to create a normal looking picture or video. This makes everything unsharp and pixellated, and there is a huge amount of noise and very limited dynamic range.

Luckily there is a normal camera present also, and that one takes pictures that are far better. No real complaints here. Outside on a sunny day, results are actually very good. But indoors or in low light, this camera is no match for the camera’s of other flagship phones. The camera app lacks features such as a composing grid, but on the other hand, it offers a self-timer that goes up to 30 seconds. The front facing selfie cam is actually much better than expected and also has a wide-angle lens. This is a very good selfie-phone actually.

crosscallaction
Picture taken with the Action Cam camera. The result is just terrible. The small size here makes it look more or less OK , but when you view the full size, you will see how terrible it is. Click the download link below to view the full image.

download the original file

crosscallnormal
Taken with the normal camera. The result is OK mostly because it is a bright sunny day. In lower light the quality goes down quickly.

download the original file

comparison
Small crop of both images side by side.

So don’t buy this phone if you plan to use it mainly for pictures and videos and expect high quality. Better buy a normal smartphone and put a protective cover, such as an Otterbox, around it. There are more and more smartphones now that offer wide-angle camera’s also, and all of them offer better picture quality than the Trekker X4. That said, you will be happy if you just want to snap some holiday pictures or outdoor action. Below are some nice results we got with the normal camera.

The main reason for us to consider this phone is the fact that this is a really tough phone that has enough battery to last all day without problem. No problem to take this phone in the sea for a swim, for example. Battery life is indeed very good. This phone can go 2 or 3 days if you are careful. A perfect outdoor phone for hiking trips or for a day on the beach.

Another big plus is the proprietary connector at the back. This is actually a good thing. It allows for an alternative to wireless charging, and it does this in a much better way than most wireless charging systems found on most smartphones. This is because the phone is secured to the charger with a strong magnet and it can even transfer data over this connection. This allows for all kind of accessories to connect, and Crosscall has a couple interesting ones. The car mounts, for example, are great. Your phone is held with the magnet, and charges without the need to plug in a cable. You can turn the phone from portrait to landscape orientation with just a flick because the magnets are aligned to keep the phone perfectly aligned to the charger in 90 degree angles. Same goes for the docking station that also serves as a nice stand with a beautiful led light all around the base. And there is also a quality selfie stick. It is a bit shorter than most, but this is no problem at all because of the wide-angle cameras of the phone. All of these accessories are high quality indeed and beautifully finished. Only issues with them we have is that the vent mount sometimes has a tough time keeping the heavy phone in place, and that the remote that comes with the selfie stick is not waterproof.

xdock
The X-Dock works better than normal wireless charging.

Display is also very good. Sharp and bright. Easily readable outside, even in bright sunlight. And we like that this phone has large bezels. Not only will this protect the display better when dropped, but it also prevents accidental touches, and makes it more easy to use the phone with one hand. Typing is far more easy than on most modern phones because of the large bezel below. This puts the keyboard a bit higher up.

Fingerprint reader also works perfectly. Due to the low specs, it takes a moment to unlock, but that is no deal breaker here. Unlocking the phone can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, but this is no deal breaker. The phone is mostly fluid and fast. There is a dedicated button as well, that can be used to launch the camera for example, and it will even function as a shutter button to take pictures. Very nice.

We also like that there is a lanyard loop-hole, and a nice lanyard is delivered with the phone. The FM radio even works without the need to plug in your headphones.

Sound quality of the speaker is good enough. A bit thin, but clear sound. Good for speakerphone use, but less so much for music. This is the case with most smartphones however, so again no deal breaker. Call quality is also good. Comparable with any mid-range phone.

GPS reception is very good and accurate. Wifi connection is very strong. This phone still allows us to browse the internet using wifi where other phones already lost the connection. There are other sensors also like temperature and humidity, and even air pressure and altitude.

So we actually like this phone. It is very nice to hold and use, and makes for a perfect outdoor smartphone. We took it to the beach several times. Several times it got burried under the sand, and we took it with us for several swims in the sea. Not even a tiny scratch! Just rinse it with normal water and it looks like new again. The accessories also help to make this a great phone in daily usage. The fact that it is built like a tank, makes it worry-free to use, and that is very reassuring. Perfect for hiking in extreme conditions, but remember to bring another camera also if image quality is important for you. Also perfect for use in industrial environments or for people working in construction. We actually use this phone now as a “daily driver”, instead of all our flagship phones we have around here.

Some more pictures taken with the normal camera.

 

 

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