Hands on: Energizer Hardcase H590S

Battery power-ahoy for Energizer's latest phone range

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Our Early Verdict

Energizer has made a big, bold statement with its latest rugged smartphone. The battery is fantastic, it's just a shame it isn't matched with as impressive specs.

For

  • Fantastic battery life
  • Huge amount of on-board storage

Against

  • Design is so-so
  • Rugged feel not for everyone

For Energizer, its main talking point at MWC 2018 has been about batteries. This is unsurprising given it's what the company is primarily known for. But this time it's all about the battery life in its smartphones.

The Energizer Hardcase H590S doesn't have the sheer battery brute force as the recently revealed Max P16K Pro - which promises around five day's use, thanks to its 16000mAh capacity, but looks like a bit of a brick in the process. It does come packing a meaty 5800mAh, however. 

This is far larger than the average smartphone - where even 4000mAh is a premium -so you shouldn't feel the need to charge the thing up every day. 

But do all the other features match up to the might of the battery? Well, yes and no...

Energizer Hardcase H590S price and release date

The Energizer Hardcase H590S release date is set for Q2 2018. As it's a fringe brand, it distributes its handsets mainly through shops - including Boots, Aldi and, of course, Amazon. Vodafone is also listed as somewhere where you can get its devices, but there's no word in which country.

Design and screen 

The Energizer Hardcase H590S is, as its name suggests, a ruggedized phone. This means that its chassis is a touch larger than most, measuring  (164.2 x 79.4 x 12.15mm). 

Despite this, it doesn't feel too chunky in the hand - Energizer has certainly toned down the case compared to previous offerings. 

Its 5.9-inch screen is made from Gorilla Glass 3 and is Full HD (18:9, 1080x2160). The back of the device is honeycombed. This meant it never felt that it was going to fall out of our grip, regardless of it being a little thicker than phones we're used to wielding. 

Not that it would matter too much if it did slip as the case is both shock a waterproof - up to IP68. This means it can be submerged up to 1.5 metres for 30 minutes and this shouldn't do anything to the device. 

It can also be dropped from around a meter without fear of breaking the thing.

Camera

Energizer likes to boast about its camera on the H90S. Granted it's pretty good - offering 16MP/0.3MP for the main camera and 13MP/0.3MP on the rear but we weren't blown away by the shots we took. 

They were clear and bright but we have seen better, given the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and  Pixel 2 pride themselves on this technology.

Saying that, the screen is a decent size so great for viewing the photos and fine for video playback too, albeit only in Full HD. 

Battery and performance

Battery is the Energizer Hardcase H590S' crowing glory. We can't understate how great it is to see a phone with a decent battery life. 

Unfortunately when most phone manufacturers increase their battery size, it comes with an increase in processing power too so you don't really see much of a difference and just cross your fingers that it would last a day. 

This is not the case with the H590S. For a start the processor on board isn't going to cause too much battery drain. It comes with a Mediatek MT6763 - this is equivalent to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 so it's a lower mid-range chip

Alongside this is 6GB of RAM and an impressive 128GB of storage - this is also expandable.

The 5800mAh 'should' last two days if you aren't going to hard on any of the features. We obviously couldn't test this on the show floor but it's as big a battery you will see in a phone of this thickness. 

Energizer has also added its own battery optimization technology to the phone, too, so this should also mean even more juice squeezed out of the device.

Early Verdict

The ruggedized phone market is definitely one where brands that pride themselves on power are getting into, given the likes of CAT and now LandRover are in this space. This does mean that Energizer may find it hard to find a niche in this market.

The inclusion of such a powerful battery, however, will help things. Given these phones are designed to be used out and about, there's no knowing when you will be back in contact with a power source. 

Energizer beefing up the battery essentially means that this phone will keep going and going... and that is definitely not a bad thing.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.