NGM is a not a brand name many will know outside of Italy, and to look at the Forward Endurance’s rather dull design, you might not think you need to. But they have managed to pack a gigantic 5,000mAh battery into the handset’s nondescript case.
To put this in context, many of Android’s leading lights don’t offer anything close to this battery size. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S6 has just 2,550mAh, LG G4 has 3000mAh, and both the Note 4 and Nexus 6 have 3,220mAh. Admittedly, they all have battery saving modes to extend battery life, but all these £500+ premium devices will still need charging before this £160 handset will. NGM say it has 1,000-hour standby time and during our testing with intensive daily use, we didn’t need to charge it for three days.
But, unless we’re taking a long trip, is a super power cell a reason to buy a phone? Fortunately, the Forward Endurance also packs an impressive 12MP rear camera. Photos are rich with detail even before enabling the HDR mode, but the default editing features are basic.
Though the overall design is a bit generic and capacitive buttons, while they’re subtle, do feel a bit retro, the Forward Endurance is made out of sturdy materials. With Gorilla Glass protecting the screen and tough aluminium frame, you don’t worry about bangs and scrapes. Its Achilles heel is a removable plastic back, which feels a cheap and occasionally comes loose.
The Forward Endurance does have its downsides – mostly stemming from the battery that grabbed our attention. This handset is heavy. At 180g, it weighs less than a Nexus 6 but when held together, it feels clunkier. This weight is also obvious when it’s in your pocket.
Also, with such a huge power pack to accommodate, there isn’t a lot of space for much else. The already limited 8GB storage is reduced to just 5.23GB with system apps and a few preloaded extras. However, with microSD support you can add an extra 32GB, but this will mean sacrificing the option of a dual SIM.
For the same price as this NGM phone, you could pick up a Moto G running Lollipop and with higher-quality components, or a
ZenFone 5 with a better-looking build. But we were still impressed by the Forward Endurance, which will be running long after others have run out of juice.
This review first appeared in Android Magazine issue 53. Order the latest issue of Android Magazine here.