In an effort to bring more durable phones into its lineup, AT&T has released the Motorola Tundra VA76r. The military-spec Tundra was announced to be coming out on AT&T’s network around a month ago, and adds some extra variety by joining forces with the Samsung Rugby.
As a military-spec phone, Motorola has designed the Tundra to withstand a lot of harsh conditions and crazy situations. In order to live up to military specifications, the Tundra had to be rigorously tested to handle the extremes such as temperature, shock, vibration, dripping rain, dust, and humidity.
We have to admit, we didn’t have the opportunity to kick the living snot out of the Tundra, so our review will be more about the phone’s other outlying features. However, there is a video showing the military-spec Rugby holding up under every type of harsh condition possible. Check it out here.
Design of the AT&T Tundra
The Tundra essentially looks like a cross between an updated V365 and a Motorola iDEN phone, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise; after all, this phone is built for durability as well as functionality, but it’s not designed to be stylish. Just from casual observation, the outside of the Tundra feels like it’s made of Kevlar.
Motorola opted for an external antenna with the Tundra. This wasn’t something I was glad to see, considering the rest of AT&T’s lineup has begun using internal antennae for several months now. At least it was a very short one.
In my hands the Tundra felt great. It’s not a very thin phone compared to the RAZR or others like it, but it’s thicker because it’s made to last. On the right side of the phone you will find the camera shortcut; the traditional Mini-USB port is on the bottom.
On the left side there are two buttons: volume, and an unusually large Push-to-Talk button. I understand these phones are designed with the Push-to-Talk customer in mind, but let’s be honest — if you’re not using that feature, it’s incredibly annoying to have a huge button on the side that can’t be used for any other purpose. Dedicated PTT buttons are getting a bit old, AT&T.
There isn’t much to the back side, but it definitely has a classy look.
The buttons inside are also typical AT&T style — in addition to the obligatory green/red call buttons and numerical keys, AT&T has also thrown in its Media Net and Cellular Video shortcuts. All of the buttons are easy to press, however, because each one is raised slightly.
Overall, I found the design of the Tundra to be typical of a military-spec phone; it felt very similar to a Motorola phone found on Nextel, but with the usual features of AT&T’s newest lineup. This, I feel, can be very beneficial. The Tundra is easy enough to handle, while convincing the user that it truly can go through anything you throw at it.
Features of the AT&T Tundra
As mentioned earlier, the Tundra offers many of the same features as AT&T’s latest phones; GPS with AT&T Navigator, 2.0 MP camera, 3G support, and Bluetooth. It also throws in Push-to-Talk and a louder speakerphone.
One unique feature Motorola brings to the table in the Tundra is its new CrystalTalk 2 Technology. Many of Motorola’s phones, such as the V8/V9 series, offers CrystalTalk to help improve overall sound quality when making calls. CrystalTalk 2 adds a second microphone that works to filter out the background noise, thus giving the customer a hassle-free conversation without even needing a Bluetooth to get it.
The Tundra also sports a MicroSD card port, but will only support cards with up to 4 GB of total memory. Sure it can be used as a music player, but realistically, don’t expect to be using this phone as your next MP3 player replacement. And the 100 MB internal memory is good, just not enough for music.
All other features in the phone are standard for any phone made after 2007, so they won’t be mentioned. But I do enjoy the screen on the Tundra; the menus are reminiscent of the V8/V9 series in terms of a crisp look and large font size.
Performance of the AT&T Tundra
The AT&T Tundra weighs in at 4.94 ounces (140g) and has a rated battery life of 4 hrs talk time on 3G and 6 hrs on GSM; talk time is 20 days and 14 days, respectfully. The phone’s dimensions are at 2.1 x 3.85 x .96.
Overall I have been satisfied with the Tundra. I didn’t hear a huge difference in sound quality with CrystalTalk 2, but that may have been due to placing calls in a quieter environment. If any readers have used the new CrystalTalk on any of Motorola’s newest phones, please let us know your experiences in the comments!
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