BenQ ventures outdoors with rugged phone

You can’t call yourself a mobile giant unless you’ve got a handset that’s prepared to roll up its sleeves, take the hits and generally look outdoorsy.

You can’t call yourself a mobile giant unless you’ve got a handset that’s prepared to roll up its sleeves, take the hits and generally look outdoorsy. Having realised it doesn’t have the Mears factor, BenQ has launched its first rugged phone.

The M81 bears all the hallmarks of a classic tough guy mobile – there’s rubber shock-proof coating, a revolving cover to protect its 1.3MP camera from dust and water and a flashlight.

Its only problem is that Nokia and Sony Ericsson have already moved the rugged phone onto new pastures with their 5500 Sport and W710i. The former is the world’s smallest Series 60 mobile, while the latter is a Walkman phone with Bluetooth 2.0 for wireless headphones.

While the M81 can’t quite offer this functionality, it does offer an optional GPS receiver that could offer you directions via the built-in Activepilot software, and access to weather forecasts for extra cost.

If you fancy adding it to your camping arsenal, it’ll be available from August in Graphite Black and Steel Blue. No news on price yet, we’ll update you when we get it.