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What’s the best cell phone for a clumsy runner?



Remember when my soul got crushed at the Taupo Half a couple of weekends ago? Well, there was some more damage. My phone got wet. I can deal with a crushed soul but how am I supposed to cope with not being able to text anyone about it?

The touchscreen didn’t like getting water all over it (shocker) and now splits its time being either unresponsive or too responsive (as in, it starts dialing numbers and texting people even though I’m not touching it). It’s dangerous, mostly because it might lead people to assume I’m trying to get in touch with them, which is rarely the case.

Instead of miraculously fixing itself, the stupid thing is getting worse (no more texts with the letters ‘o’, ‘k’ or ‘m’, it seems).  And that’s just one of the problems. I’m afraid that if I don’t get a new phone soon, I might have to start interacting with people at dinners and stuff.

So, with the threat of real-life social interaction looming, it’s time to buy a new phone. And this is where you come in, internet.

I haven’t bought a phone in years but now that my glory days (don’t laugh) of tech journalism have come to a halt, I’ve got to go back and join the masses of people who actually pay for this sort of thing – which means I actually care about how much it costs. And since I’m a freelancer now, any expense above $1 needs to be carefully justified.

The new phone doesn’t really need to make calls, we’re not in 2003 anymore. But how the hell am I suppose to judge people’s Instagram selfies if the backlight on my phone doesn’t work anymore? And what do I do when out on road runs if I can’t check my email while waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green?

Since we’re on the subject of running and I always take my phone when I’m out there, it needs to be a runner-friendly phone. For example:

– It needs to be a fairly recent model so I can install all the running apps that I end up never using, like Strava, MapMyRun and all the other ones that constantly email me to tell me I haven’t logged any workouts (STOP IT, YOU’RE SMOTHERING ME). And speaking of apps, it has to be an Android. I’m 29 now and age is catching up to me, I don’t have the mental disposition to learn a new operating system.

– It needs to either not be touchscreen or have a pretty rugged and responsive touchscreen that will work even when my hands are sweaty or dirty.

– It needs to have a pretty decent camera because I sometimes take my mind off the pain of running by stopping for useless photos of stuff I spot along the way.

– It needs to be either made of steel or have a lot of cotton padding around the edges. I have this unique medical condition that causes me to forget I’m holding my phone and drop it on the ground at the most ridiculous of times. I also sometimes drive with it on my lap and never remember that it’s there when I get off the car. If you ever see a chick in some weird position trying to retrieve her phone from under a car, I’d love if you stopped to say hi.

– It needs to be waterproof (obviously, or we wouldn’t even be talking about phones right now).

– It can’t be too heavy or bulky. I already carry enough weight when I run.

– It needs to have pretty decent battery life. Just in case I remember to use those apps again. Also, I often run in places with patchy cell reception (and I don’t mean this because I run on trails in the bush but because I run in New Zealand and you know, bottom of the world and all that). I find that the battery runs out a little too quickly. If I’m ever in an emergency situation and need to Instagram it, there’s a risk I won’t be getting past applying the filter to the photo.

So tell me, internet, what phone should I break next?


14 thoughts on “What’s the best cell phone for a clumsy runner?

  1. I am not sure which phone (i have an iPone) but may I recommend an otterbox to keep it in! I drop my phone all the time and the magic of the otter keeps it safe!
    although they are cheaper on amazon and ebay…

  2. Likewise, I’m an iPhone bod so no help whatsoever with the phone itself, but I too would highly recommend a well-padded protector – I have a Qmadix which I ordered online from the States and it’s fab, and not too expensive either; about $30 I think. Also, a small tip for running in the rain – I seal my phone in a snack-size sandwich bag before putting it in my armband. I can still easily work the touchscreen and I’ve never had an issue with water seepage. Simple and cheap! Best of luck – and look forward to hearing about your purchase 🙂

  3. Sony Xperia Z. I got an Xperia P (the non-waterproof version) a few months back and it’s been great, aside from the obvious lack of waterproofness combined with my tendency to indiscriminately drop things in puddles (but it’s almost summer, right?)

    Take a look at for some good prices…

  4. Iphone here. But no matter what you get, you need to slap it in an otter box to protect your phone from, well, you. And I also wear an “armpocket” (google it) – it’s weather proof but still allows you to use your touch screen.

  5. I think phones these days are purposely made to be broken. My iPhone doesn’t even have a back anymore because I shattered it daily for the past 3 years. I think your best bet is to just get something you really like and invest in a heavy duty case for it. But I’m definitely in for answers as I am due for a new one in November

  6. Wish I could help you out with this one but I have the worst phone ever! Just got it fixed from getting water damaged after taking it running. What sort of phone can’t handle a little bit of sweat?!? Good luck and look forward to hearing what new phone you get and how it goes!

  7. I have the htc sensation x and suits me to a tea.
    check out cnet for reviews and stuff.

  8. Motorola Defy+ – Rugged, good camera. Do not go an S2 or S3 if you get it wet or drop it. Alternative: Sony Xperia Z.

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