Huawei Discovery Expedition mobile phone
Huawei's durable Discovery Expedition can take one hell of a beating
- Can take a beating
- Good battery life
- Decent screen
- Poor numerical keypad
- Mediocre camera
- Expensive given limited features
The Huawei Discovery Expedition's durability will definitely appeal to tradies. This shock, water and dust resistant handset can definitely take a hell of a beating, but it is a little overpriced considering its limited feature set.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Smartphones may be the device of choice for the large majority of consumers, but there's some people who require something far more durable. The Huawei Discovery Expedition is a shock, water and dust resistant handset that's ideal for builders, plumbers, miners, or those who simply need their phone to take a beating.
Built tough, but some annoying flaws
The Huawei Discovery Expedition has a high ruggedness IP rating of 57. This means it is both water and dust resistant. Huawei is very careful to point out that the phone isn't completely waterproof, though it is submersible in water up to one metre for 30 minutes and is rated as sand dust resistant up to degree 5. If you want your phone to take a beating, then the Discovery Expedition is for you. We ran it under a tap for over 30 seconds, dunked it in a full jug of water, threw it into the sink and buried it in a pile of dirt. On all occasions, it survived without any issues whatsoever.
The Huawei Discovery Expedition achieves this ruggedness thanks to the combination of tough plastic and a rubber seal preventing water seeping through to the internals. Behind the rear cover is a sealed battery door that can only be unlocked by using a coin or a small, flathead screwdriver. It's a bit of a hassle to open and unlock, so if you're buying this phone as a work device and plan to swap out your SIM for the weekends, you should keep this in mind.
Interestingly, the "Discovery" branding on the phone is from the actual folks behind the Discovery Channel — this is Huawei's first "co-branded" mobile phone. Aside from the Discovery logo below the screen and some Discovery themed images of hikers, rock climbers and the like pre-loaded in the gallery, there is no real added benefit to the branding for the user.
There's also nothing really remarkable about the design of the Huawei Discovery Expedition. It's a candy bar shaped phone with a non-touchscreen and a traditional numerical keypad. On the right there's a volume control along with a flashlight button that activates an LED at the top of the phone when held for a few seconds. All other navigation is achieved by a spongy feeling five-way navigational pad, two selection keys and answer/end call buttons.
The sides of the Huawei Discovery Expedition have an arrow shape imprinted into them, which makes the phone very easy to grip and hold. The bright orange accents on the top and sides also mean the handset should be difficult to misplace. The top mounted headphone jack and micro-USB ports are sealed by plastic flaps. The same applies for the antenna port on the bottom, which can be used to boost reception in low coverage areas.
The biggest issue with the Huawei Discovery Expedition is usability. While we appreciate that all buttons on the phone can be pressed even if you're wearing gloves, the 5 and 8 keys on the keypad require an extremely firm press to activate. More often than not they need to be pressed twice to register, while the volume buttons also require some extra force. This impacts on the overall usability of the phone and makes text messaging in particular a frustrating process.
No smartphone, but intuitive enough
The Huawei Discovery Expedition has a small 2in screen manufactured from Gorilla Glass. The screen is bright and clear when viewed from straight on, though it's difficult to see from an angle. The display is a little reflective indoors but works well in direct sunlight.
The Discovery Expedition runs a proprietary Huawei operating system. All the core, basic phone functions are here including a 1000-entry phonebook, a very basic browser, the ability to send SMS and MMS messages, a music and video player, an FM radio and a range of PIM functions like alarm, stopwatch, calendar and memo. Being an "active" phone, the Discovery Expedition also includes a built-in GPS, a digital compass, the aforementioned torch light and a G-sensor that will record steps.
The Discovery Expedition is relatively easy to use, though we found the default, non-adjustable font quite small which could make it difficult to read for many users. The main menu is a scrollable 3 x 3 grid of icons and most submenus are in a simple list format. Huawei has integrated a few widgets on the home screen, which can be scrolled through using the directional pad. There's a music player, a calendar, an image gallery, a weather app and the FM radio but the screen is a little too small to make them truly effective.
Although it isn't a smartphone, the Discovery Expedition comes with a few basic Java apps. These include weather, Facebook, Twitter and Endomondo. The latter uses the built-in GPS to provide basic fitness functions like tracking your runs, counting steps and giving you accurate distance, duration and speed figures. The Facebook and Twitter apps are usable if you desperately want them, but both are slow and don't provide the most intuitive experience, even if the Discovery Expedition takes advantage of 3G network speeds.
There's also a basic 2-megapixel camera. It takes predictably poor images suffering from lots of image noise and lacking in sharpness but it's there if you need it. Images can be saved on the 68MB available internal memory or the microSD card slot, which is located under the battery.
One of the better images we managed to capture with the Huawei Discovery Expedition's 2-megapixel camera.
Battery life is excellent, with the Discovery Expedition easily lasting more over two days during our testing.
The Huawei Discovery Expedition is available through Vodafone for $0 upfront on Vodafone's $19 Plan over 24-months, or $199 outright.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- Android device updates: Nougat is coming to the Moto G4, G4 Plus
- Beyond smartphones, Samsung wants its Exynos 9 chip in VR headsets
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTNetwork Infrastructure Development EngineerNSW
- TPFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst- Data GovernanceNSW
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- TPApplication DeveloperACT
- CCApplication Architect - CloudVIC
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCNetwork EngineersACT
- CCPerformance TesterQLD
- TPProject SchedulerVIC
- CCCommunications Network EngineerWA
- FTTechnical Expert - Linux / MySql / ScriptQLD
- CCAutomation Test AnalystQLD
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- FTArcFM/Gis Lead DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior .Net Developer (Silverlight)VIC
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- TPProject Manager - General InsuranceNSW
- FTData Analyst LeadSA
- FTApplication Services Administrator (Linux)NSW
- FT.Net Solutions DeveloperSA
- CCWeb Devops EngineerNSW