DeWalt may not be a name one readily associates with smartphones, but the renowned power tool-maker from Towson, Maryland, has now entered the lucrative smartphone market with the announcement of its MD501 handset that promises to be a tough and rugged device capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions, including temperatures ranging from -20C (-4F) to a whopping 60C (140F). The device is also IP68-certified, which means it can be submerged in up to two meters (around 6.5 feet) of water for up to 30-minutes without any damage. The device can also reportedly survive getting dropped from a height of around two meters and comes with a price-tag of £379 ($543) in the UK. The MD501 is aimed at industrial workers for the most part and is expected to compete in the growing ‘rugged’ smartphone market against offerings from industrial equipment-maker Caterpillar and consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Kyocera and Samsung.
The MD501 may be a rugged smartphone first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean it comes with meagre specs, which is an issue that has plagued the segment in the past. ‘Rugged’ and ‘high-end hardware’ haven’t always gone hand in hand very often, but this latest offering from DeWalt is looking to change that for good; although, it’s probably not going to compete with the latest flagships any time soon. Taking a look at that hardware spec-sheet, the MD501 smartphone features a 5-inch 720p display panel with Gorilla Glass 3 protection from Corning. The device is powered by MediaTek’s MT6735 SoC, which comes with a quad-core CPU clocked at a maximum of 1.3 GHz.
The rest of the hardware is also fairly respectable, including 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. As for the cameras, the rear-facing primary shooter comes with a 13-megapixel sensor, whereas the front-facing selfie-cam is a 5-megapixel unit. The smartphone comes with dual SIM slots, both of which reportedly support LTE connectivity. The device also supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, USB OTG and comes with a MicroUSB 2.0 port for charging and data syncing. Talking about charging the phone, the one interesting aspect of the MD501 is that it comes with Qi wireless charging for its 3,020 mAh battery in what is believed to be a first for any ‘tough’ phone.