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JCB Sitemaster – tough phone review and testing

Product Name:

JCB Sitemaster

Website: (opens in new tab) Specifications:

2.0 inch TFT 262k colour, IP54, torch, lazer pointer, GSM, Tri-Band, FM Radio, 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB, Bluetooth, 1300 mAh Li-ion battery

JCB is a world renowned company in the field of construction, demolition and agriculture with their iconic yellow equipment colouring and the tough nature of the products. They have also diversified into other arenas by trading on their brand name, where JCB has produced everything from ties to children’s toys. It was only a matter of time until they branched out even further, where the first JCB mobile phone came out early 2008, for use in environments such as construction.

The initial JCB touch phone was a rebranded Sonim XP1 with the JCB colour scheme, a small 1.77-inch screen, a standard T9 keypad and IP rating of 54. This was a good solid phone with strong plastic casing and resilience against dust and it was also splash proof too. The Sonim handset was a good match for the JCB business and for the places where it was most likely to be used.

The JCB/XP1 mobile phone didn't see a successor, until Peter Jones' Data Select mobile phone company approached JCB with a new design of tough handsets, some years later. This coming together of the two brands bore a new range of JCB tough phones, where over two years had passed before a new JCB handset came along.

The JCB Sitemaster falls into this new series of four mobiles, with the other three being the Tradesmen, Pro and Pro-Talk. JCB’s Sitemaster is in the midrange of these devices, where it lacks some of the more costly features of the others, such as being able to float on water, dual SIM and two-way radio capabilities.

Data Select’s manufactured JCB Sitemaster is billed as direct replacement to the original JCB handset, only with a higher set of tough specifications than the first mobile only with a very similar look and feel.

JCB Sitemaster arrives with a 2-inch TFT LCD screen, with almost the same design and layout as the Sonim XP1 and with a few enhancements along the way. Built into the top of the phone are a torch and a laser pointer, with an FM radio and a very basic OS running the mobile - reminiscent of early Nokia phones, or budget mobiles.

The phone has the same IP54 rating as the first handset, whilst at the same time being beefed up to withstand one tonne of pressure and drop tested to 2 metres. The case has four reinforced corners that aid in surviving being dropped, in addition to the whole case appearing to be made from an arduous plastic that is water and dust proof. The battery has been manufactured straight into the Sitemaster’s rear cover; with plastic screws that firmed fix the power source in place, which makes the phone water-tight.

One Mobile Ring tested the JCB Sitemaster in the same way as the Motorola Defy, even though that mobile phone had a higher IP rating of 67. Our findings are below in the two videos, of testing how well the phone stood up to waterproof and dustproof simulated testing.

Water TestSugar/Dust Test

The handset lasted the full ten minutes of being immersed in water and during a phone call too, whilst also being covered in fine granulated sugar to simulate dust – which the Sitemaster handled very well. Unfortunately the mobile disconnected once during the dust test, but that might have been down to the other phone rather than the JCB model. Some condensation did appear inside of the screen a day afterwards, which soon dissipated but this didn't affect the Sitemaster’s running and the handset remained unaffected by the tests.

JCB’s Sitemaster is a very tough and reliable mobile phone, but one more suited to the construction site than everyday life due to it’s no frills appearance but very arduous nature. In out tests the phone managed to last seventeen hours and twenty-nine minutes worth of making calls, before needing to be recharged – which means it would last more than a week or so in regular use.

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Rob has worked in the affiliate industry for many years with large publishers, and previously worked as a journalist on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, ITProPortal, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show.