The Nomu S30 is the biggest and most powerful smartphone of the new manufacturer. Nomu is specialized in producing outdoor smartphones and the manufacturer proves in many YouTube videos how stable the casing and display glass are. On its website, Nomu also makes it clear that it uses almost exclusively branded products by LG, Samsung, Sharp and Sony for the single smartphone components. The Nomu S30 sounds quite convincing with a Helio P10 processor, 4/64GB storage (expandable to up to 128GB), a 5000mAh battery and a 5.5-inch FHD display. It is easy to shoot a promotional film but is the Nomu S30 also convincing in real life? We tested the smartphone and you can find the results in the following review.
Design and build quality
In terms of design, the Nomu S30 is a real outdoor phone. Its weight of 275g is extremely heavy and compared to other smartphones it’s quite thick (13.5mm) as well. However, considering that it is an outdoor smartphone, both numbers are totally normal and the further dimensions (162 x 83mm) are good as well. On the Nomu S30’s left and right side you find aluminium strips, and slightly jutting out plastic bumpers at all 4 edges. The rear resembles carbon and is quite easy to grip. If you remove a small part, you get access the two SIM slots (2x micro-SIM) and the micro-SD slot (up to 128GB). USB-port and headphone connection are protected from splash water by plastic covers. Nevertheless, they are not too deep in the phone and you can use any equipment without restrictions.
According to the manufacturer, the Nomu S30 is IP68 certified which means that it’s protected from dust and diving. It is, however, a bit odd that the display has no sticking out edges which would protect it when directly hitting the ground. Nomu chooses a great combination of robustness and user-friendliness. The smartphone is not as ugly as most of the outdoor devices. We could not find big gaps or inaccuracies in the build quality.
The buttons have a nice feedback and are firmly fit in the casing. There is an additional ‘SOS’ button on the left side which you can adjust to your own preferences. You can operate the phone while wearing gloves as well. The three common Android sensor keys are illuminated with an LED. Unfortunately, the Nomu S30 does not have a notification LED.
Nomu S30 outdoor suitability
The Nomu S30 can easily cope with short dives and a bath in water. After 10 minutes in water you could use the phone normally, only the speaker needed a few hours to recover. The smartphone could handle falling down from 1m on a fitted carpet or wooden floor as well. However, if the smartphone’s display glass hits a hard surface in an unfortunate angle, the glass will shatter. You cannot operate the Nomu S30 with wet hands or when it’s under water.
The 5.5-inch display has a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and has a pixel density of 401ppi. Gorilla Glass 4 protects the display from scratches and falls. Considering that we are talking about an outdoor phone, the display is convincing. The outside readability is great due to its brightness. The phone has good contrasts, accurate colours and nice viewing angles. There is even a well-working mode for the operation with gloves. The touch screen can register up to 10 inputs at the same time and it works accurately. The Nomu S30 processes all inputs very fast and therefore, it is perfect for people who type a lot.
SmartWake is also available, even though I had the problem that the Nomu S30 activated itself when it was in my trouser pocket. A pocket-mode (no reaction of the touch screen with covered proximity sensor) would have been better. A screen protector is attached to the display ex works but it does not affect the display’s reaction. The Nomu S30 has a high-end display which is convincing in almost all categories. The only disadvantage is the display glass that juts out and makes the phone less resistant to drops.
Performance and operating system
The Nomu S30 uses a clean and hardly modified Android 6 system. In terms of design, nothing was changed, Nomu only added some ‘smart assistant’ functions. Among other things, you can find classic functions such as the 3-finger screenshot, SmartWake and the glove-mode which all work perfectly. There are no spam apps or bloatware. Only all the Google Apps are pre-installed. The phone gets OTA-updates via a special app. However, there are no announcements for Android 7 yet. The system runs fast, very smoothly and flawless in daily use.
The S30 uses a Helio P10 middle class CPU with 8 cores which clock at maximum 2GHz each. The processor is supported by 4GB RAM with a speed of 6GB/s. The reading/writing speed of 225/210MB/s is good. In daily use the phone provides enough capacity for multitasking and installing or starting apps quickly. The Nomu S30 reaches common values for the processor in the relevant benchmarks and most games run smoothly on the device. Asphalt 8 with low graphics settings as well as Modern Combat 5 run well. The Helio P10 is not a high-end processor like the Snapdragon 820 for example, but it secures high operation speed. Compared to other outdoor smartphones available on the market, you clearly get the best price-performance ratio with Nomu S30.
The Nomu S30 houses a 13MP main camera and a 5MP selfie camera. The manufacturer uses a Sony IMX214 sensor with an F/2.0 aperture. The resolutions are interpolated to 16MP (main camera) and 8MP (front camera). The Nomu S30 takes nice pictures in good lighting conditions. However, the colours seem faded, contrasts are too weak and the number of details could be higher as well. The Nomu S30 is no camera smartphone but the manufacturer does want to prove different. In bad lighting conditions, image noise occurs and the pictures lose sharpness and details. The trigger time is low and the autofocus works precisely, even though it is a bit slow from time to time.
The selfie camera’s images are okay. Nevertheless, sharpness and details could be much better. Within the price range around 200$ there are lots of better smartphone cameras, however not in the outdoor phone section. You can take occasional snapshots but Nomu definitely has a lot of room for improvement.
Communication and connectivity
The Nomu S30 supports all 2G, 3G and 4G (LTE) frequencies. The reception is perfect and stable. The calling quality is convincing for both parties. The voice is transmitted loudly and clearly – the hands-free kit can be used in quiet surroundings as well. In noisy surroundings, you clearly hear background noise when using the hands-free kit. The proximity sensor does not work properly. As soon as you do not hold the phone exactly on your ear, the display is turned on. In this case, however, Nomu can easily fix the problem by providing an update.
Nomu claims to provide an awesome speaker but we are not able to confirm that. The speaker is loud and differentiated, but it is nothing special. The speaker is suitable for playing ringtones and signal tones, the depths, however, are missing. This leads to the phone being absolutely useless as music player. The overall sound quality is okay. Connecting middle class headphones to the smartphone, you can enjoy the music. As the audio jack is not placed deeper in the casing than in every other smartphone, you can connect all types of headphones without any problems.
The Nomu S30 has a strong reception in other fields as well. For instance, Bluetooth connections work perfectly and have a good range. The Wi-Fi module works in 2.4GHz as well as in 5GHz networks with good range and a nice throughput. The GPS reception (supported by a compass) was great. The Nomu S30 is perfect for navigation. On our test track we never had any problems. The smartphone precisely determines the position within 10 seconds up to 4m. Besides the three standard sensors (acceleration, brightness and proximity), Nomu S30 uses a gyroscope and a compass sensor. OTG and NFC are supported as well.
In terms of connectivity, Nomu provides everything you’d expect from an outdoor phone. Network, Wi-Fi and especially GPS reception are great.
Nomu S30 houses a big 5000mAh battery which lasted easily for 2 days. With quick-charge, the smartphone is fully charged within approximately 2 hours. When playing intense 3D games for 30 minutes, the battery loses about 10%. One hour of watching HD YouTube videos (Wi-Fi) reduces the battery by only 8%. You easily get 1 day of intense use which every outdoor phone is supposed to reach.
* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.