Single Sim, VoLTE and VoWiFi, Telstra Blue-Tick and External RF antenna port
5.65-inch, 2160 x 1080 pixels, 427ppi
Wi-Fi AC, BT 4.2, FM Radio, GPS, NFC
3920mAh battery, USB-C PD charger 18W
Glass screen protector (not fitted)
Screen – PASS
It is a 1080p screen, so text and images are crisp. But it
lacks brightness (about 250 nits) and contrast (1000:1) for direct daylight use.
It is not bad, but you will need to shade the screen. We did not measure colour
gamma or Delta E as this is not a requirement of a tough phone.
It has good haptic feedback, although no glove mode for
tradies. It has a low 67.6% STBR – massive top, chin and side bezels.
The screen is a fingerprint magnet – we did not add the glass
protector for the test. It has Gorilla Glass 3, so it is relatively scratch, but
not impact resistant.
You can unlock via 2D face unlock. We found it reliable in
daylight and poor in low light.
CPU Throttling – PASS
Capable of 144,000GIPS but after four minutes drops to
around 102,000GIPS. Average of the 15-minute test was 118K and a low of 102K
(72% of its maximum performance).
We expected that as the case is IP68 rated and cooling is
harder in a sealed environment. Still, it is quite acceptable.
Geekbench 5 single/multi-core 313/1389 comparable to a
Samsung Galaxy S8 circa 2017.
ADRENO 610 – PASS
While it is a game capable GPU, there is no ‘game’ mode to
boost frame rates. It will play most modern mobile 1080p games at 24fps or
Ram: 4GB LPDDR4-1866 3.635GB free
128GB eMMC (48.77GB free)
Comms – PASS
Wi-Fi AC 1×1– it has a single Wi-Fi antenna and reaches the
maximum of 433Mbps/-53dBm at 2m from our NETGEAR AX12 router.
While the Qualcomm SoC supports BT 5.0, this only implements
4.2. The main difference would have been longer distances between the phone and
a BT device.
NFC- it supports Google Pay.
Sensors – EXCEED
A-GPS and GPS – sufficiently accurate for
A fingerprint reader on the back – 99% accurate
over 20 tests
Battery – EXCEED
It has a large 3920mAh battery that should go a couple of
days without charge. Over seven days use we charged four times.
The Charger is USB-C PD 5V/3A, 9V/2A and 12V/1.5A (QC 3.) The
first charge took over four hours. Subsequent charges were a little quicker.
Battery discharge at idle is around 254.8mA meaning around
15-20 days standby. There is an adaptive battery mode (part of Android 9 and
Qualcomm SD AI) that may give more time after it has learned your use habits.
It has a single, mono earpiece speaker and a front-firing bottom
speaker. It is what it is – designed for clearer voice with no bass, flat mid
and no treble.
Music volume is 75dB, and the ring volume is 80dB – loud enough,
but we would expect a tradie phone to be deafening.
The single mic at the bottom of the chin has good sensitivity
but no ANC so we found ourselves cupping the mic for clarity.
Handsfree is adequate although we would expect little more
volume from a tradies phone.
3.5mm combo earphone and mic (also used for FM radio).
We tested using the Sony WH-1000Xm3 BT headphones but could only get a BT 4.2 SBC codec connection.
Android – PASS but will it get 10?
No policy on OS updates but I doubt it will get Android 10.
Android security 1/10/19 – Telstra usually update quarterly.
Google Assistant and Google Lens are available.
There is an extra key on the left called a super key. I kept
wondering why the flash was frequently on until I discovered it. You can double
click for the camera and long press for the flashlight – turn it off!
LTE – EXCEED
Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 28 – all you need for Telstra but not a
good international phone.
Single sim supports VoLTE, VoWiFi, ViLTE and 4GX (2CA)
Rated speed is 300/50Mbps DL/UL, and we achieved 150/25 in a
three-bar reception zone.
Signal strength is -83dBm excellent finding next two towers at
-85 and -101 – a good stable signal but we did find it was more often 3G than 4G.
157.8 x 77.2 x 11.6mm x 185g
Telstra claims military-grade IP68 dust and water resistance
of 1.5 metres for 30 minutes. ZTE claim IP68, no mIl-spec – no matter it is
IP68 means dust tight and immersion to 1m for 30 minutes.
While we never recommend throwing or dropping the phone, let alone a swim, we
did test these. A drop from 1.2m (shoulder height) to concrete did not affect
it and a 60-minute, 1-metre dunk in the pool was fine. It is built like a tank and
will withstand tradie treatment.
The worst thing we can say is that it is better than a social media capable camera. it is very much capable of taking decent worksite shots and recording serial numbers etc.
Camera – Primary
16MP, f/1.8, 1.12um
Sensor: Omni-Vision OV16b10
Flash ad HDR
Camera – Secondary (used for depth/bokeh)
Outdoors – good light
Indoor office light 400 lumens
Indoors low light <100 lumens
GadgetGuy’s take – Telstra Tough Max 3 is a step up over Tough Max 2
I reviewed the Telstra Tough Max 2 in January 2018. Tough Max 3 is an incremental improvement on it, although losing Qi charging and gaining some weight.
Over the review period, I came to like the device. It has
plenty of power, a screen that is not too bad (yes, I am used to AMOLED), decent
battery life and ripper reception. It is reassuring to know you can mistreat it
and it will still work well tomorrow.
Rating this is easy – it is a tough phone first and foremost,
and the specs are quite respectable.
Who is it for?
Tradies, construction workers, miners, farmers, outdoor
adventure enthusiasts or anyone seeking extra protection and durability in a
Telstra has a ‘Tough Max 3” video
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Tradie tough with a good ZTE pedigree
Tempered glass protector supplied - use it
I would have expected higher volume for a work-site phone
I would have expected a brighter screen for a work-site phone