Welcome to the 2013 Telstra Tough 3 (T55) mobile phone review. The Telstra Tough 3 was released in May 2013 is a replacement for the Tough 2. The Tough 2 was an Ok ‘tough’ phone ¬†that was toy like up close. The latest Tough 3 addresses some of the prior versions issues since it is less toy like than the prior 2 and has a few other surprises. The Tough 3 is only available from Telstra on a plan which is a pity – Why? read on… Update: June 2014 – You can now purchase the Tough 3 outright for around $195 without a contract.

The Telstra Tough 3 is a ruggerised phone build for the careless and those who don’t need a ‘smartphone’. The Tough 3 is one the the very few that is an old style keypad phone in 2013 so technically its one of the best you can buy! We beleieve that only Casio still makes these types of phones but only available in the US. In terms of construction it uses better designed materials feeling more solid and looking more serious. If you’ve ever seen a Cygnett iPad ‘tough’ cover version it has a similar color but not quite as tactile in feel. The screen quality is also very good! Of note is a A-GPS and a dedicated camera button and volume buttons down the side though the resulting picture quality isn’t class leading.

In terms of use the Tough 3 is very good. It is fast and responsive menus as well as activating the various other apps or functions. We have on complaints at all. Sure the menu system is the same grid style as use by Nokia and others over the last 10 years but its by far the quickest we’ve ever used. The only problem with the Tough3 is the data speed. For a new model it does not have the fastest connection relying on a 3.6 mbps maximum download so it takes awhile for things to happen (relatively). All the regular communications are there, email, txt, video calls and MMS so you are only missing the social network ones which you’ll have to rely on the built in browser to get access to.

All up the Telstra Tough 3 is one of the best ruggerised keypad based phones you can buy, but virtue of being one of the very few! Even that aside its a step up from the prior version due to its updated design and excellent operating speed. The Tough 3 is also ‘regular’ sized so using it is convenient and there is not need for an additional protective case. Even you decided to purchase the Tough 3 as a main phone there is not much to complain about since its limitations are clear and its selling point – being ruggerized is obvious. This one is for calls and text and message notifications regardless of weather conditions.


  • Telstra Tough 3 (T55)
  • Network
    Quad-band 850/900/1800 /1900 MHz
    Tri-band UMTS 3G 850/1900/2100 MHz
    3G HSDPA 3.6
  • Design
    Ruggerised candy bar
    119mm x 56mm x 17mm
    Weight 125 grams
  • Display/s
    2.4inch 240 x 320 pixel TFT
  • Camera
    3MP main camera
    2nd video call camera
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth V2
  • CPU
  • Memory
    130MB available to user
    Up to 16Gig MicroSD or Trans Flash cards
  • Ring tones
    MP3, MMF, MIDI, Vibration
  • Features
    External antenna plug
    JAVA MIDP 2.0
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Customizable backgrounds
    Picture Viewer
    Voice memos
    Calender and organizer
    300Hrs Standby
    240Mins Talk Time
    1900mAh Li-ion battery
  • Package contents
    XP/Vista Compatible PC suite
    Mac OSX Compatible software
    Personal hands free kit
    Travel charger
    USB cable
  • Price history
    Available on a monthly plan only.
    Less than $Free AUS 2013 (Plan only)
    Less than $195 AUS 2014 (Outright)