Building, testing and operating an experimental aircraft

Straight Talk on the Sonim XP1300

16 Feb 2013

Yeah, it still works.

In a world where everyone seems transfixed by the latest hi-res smart phones of every size, shape and pastel color, sometimes a man just needs to get back to basics – the rugged, waterproof, shockproof, freeze-proof, drop-it-in-concrete-proof basics, in this case. Enter the Sonim XP1300 Core, one of the toughest phones on the planet.

The Sonim XP1300 Core, in its element.

After reading some of the entertaining reviews online, I decided to pick one of these babies up as the centerpiece of my Cell Phone Downsizing Movement – the big plan to pry my bugged-out eyes away from the little screen, and get them refocused again back out in the real world.

Along with the handset downsize, naturally, I chose to part ways with the two-year-contract-loving juggernauts, save myself nearly 80 bucks a month, and enjoy the freedom to switch wireless providers as easily as swapping out a SIM card. I chose Straight Talk, primarily because I wanted to pick my own phone, but also because Straight Talk piggybacks on the AT&T and T-Mobile GSM networks (instead of everyone else’s CDMA nets), and GSM is pretty much the standard everywhere else in the world.

Straight Talk SIM card plans.

Setting Up Straight Talk on the XP1300

As soon as your SIM card is installed and your new number is working, you should be able to make phone calls and send SMS messages right away. But, as mentioned on the Straight Talk support page, in order to use the phone’s data features (MMS, email, web), you must first update the phone’s APN (Access Point Name) settings. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as straightforward on the XP1300 as it is on a smartphone. This post will walk you through the process.

Don't worry, you won't break it.

Straight Talk APN Settings

You should have received a lime green packet with your Straight Talk SIM card that contains a table of APN (Access Point Name) data settings to enter into your phone. In the following steps, I’ll be referencing the information listed below, but you should use whatever came with your SIM card if it is different.

Name: Straight Talk
APN:  wap.tracfone
Port: 8080
MMSC: http://mms.tracfone.com
MMS Proxy:
MMS Port: 8080

Adding a Data Account

The first thing you’ll want to do is add a new Data Account on the XP1300. Using the phone’s Menu key and navigation arrows, navigate to:

Menu > Connectivity > Data account > GPRS > Options > Add

Now follow the prompts, and configure the Data Account settings exactly as you see here.

Account name: Straight Talk
APN: wap.tracfone
User name: [Leave Blank]
Password: [Leave Blank]
Auth. type: Normal
Primary DNS:
Secondary DNS:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0gg8S9DMVE&w=560&h=315]

MMS Multimedia Messaging

To enable MMS messaging, navigate to:

Menu > Messages > Message settings > Multimedia message > Profiles > Add new

Now create a new MMS Profile using the following settings.

Profile name: Straight Talk
MMSC address: http://mms.tracfone.com
Data account: [select GPRS > Straight Talk] (created previously)
Connection type: HTTP
  Use proxy: Yes
  Proxy address:
  Proxy port: 8080
User name: [Leave Blank]
Password: [Leave Blank]

Web Browsing with Opera Mini

There are two web browsers on the XP1300, the built-in app, and the Java-based Opera Mini browser. This should get them both working.

Menu > Browser > Settings > Profiles > Add new

Profile name: Straight Talk
Homepage: wap.tracfone
Data account: [select GPRS > Straight Talk] (created previously)
Connection type: WAP
  IP address:
  Security: Off

Make sure you first “Save” and then “Activate” the Straight Talk profile (it should have a green check mark next to the name to indicate that it’s active).

To open the Opera Mini web browser, go to:

Menu > Applications > Java > Opera Mini

and try to visit a robust web page, such as Google.com. It should be up and running.

What a MAN'S phone looks like.

Configure and Sync Gmail with IMAP

If you have the browser working, you should be able to check your Gmail account directly from Opera. If you’d like to configure the XP1300’s email client to sync with your Gmail inbox, follow the steps below.

First, you’ll need to configure your Gmail account (on your computer) to enable IMAP. Check out these Google support pages to do that.

(1) Enabling IMAP - Gmail Help

(2) Get started with IMAP and POP3

Now, back on the XP1300, navigate to:

Menu > Messages > Email > Email accounts > Options > New account

Configure a new email account as follows, selecting Options > Next after each step.

Email address: Your FULL Gmail address (username@gmail.com)
Protocol: IMAP4
Data account: Straight Talk
Incoming server: imap.gmail.com
Outgoing server: smtp.gmail.com
User name: Your FULL Gmail address (username@gmail.com)
Password: Your Gmail password
Account Name: Gmail (or whatever)

Be sure to select Done and then Options > Activate when you’re finished setting it up (you’ll see the green check mark again). But you’re NOT DONE YET!!

Next, with your new Gmail account highlighted, select Options > Edit > Advance settings, and configure like so:

Outgoing server
  Outgoing port: 465
  Security: SSL/TLS
  Authentication: On
Incoming server
  Incoming port: 993
  Security: SSL/TLS
  Download options: Download all
  Append to server: Off
Account settings
  Email notifications: Disabled
  Check interval: 5 min (or whatever)
Sonim's Rugged Performance Standards (RPS).

Man Up and Handle It

Congratulations, you’ve successfully set up your Sonim! There are a few other tweaks you might want to make at this point, but after having navigated through the steps above, you should be considerably more comfortable with the interface.

The Sonim XP1300 Core definitely isn’t a phone for the faint-of-heart, or for anyone afraid to get their hands dirty, but if you need a mobile device that can take a beating (and if you couldn’t care less about your neighbor’s Facebook status), then the XP1300 has you covered.

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