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The world of communication changed dramatically with the introduction of the smartphone. We love our smartphones so much they’re with most of us all the time.
But their physical structure makes them relatively easy to damage. So, if you don’t want the stress of nervously checking your phone’s screen after it hits the ground, you’re better off with a rugged phone.
A toughened smartphone is the perfect solution for people working in active occupations – construction, firefighters, or even just those who love to stay active.
But thankfully, there are many options for rugged phones on the market these days. These phones are made for more intense environments and provide peace of mind to the users when they’re dropped or otherwise mishandled. In this article, we’ll talk about 10 exceptional rugged mobile devices you can get right now.
- Sonim RS60
- CAT S60
- Sonim XP6
- Samsung Rugby Pro
- Kyocera DuraForce Pro
- Panasonic Toughbook FZ-T1
- Doogee S90
- Sonim XP7
- Unihertz Titan
- Samsung Rugby 4
1. Sonim RS60
Let’s start with a household brand in the world of rugged phones. Sonim is a company synonymous with quality and durability. They have a lot of devices ranging in specs and price. In late November 2020, they announced a rugged handheld and tablet with an integrated barcode scanner.
We’re talking about the Sonim RS60. There is also a tablet version of this device called the RS80. Follow the link if you are interested in the RS80 Tablet. The main difference between the two is the screen size, so let’s first focus primarily on the handheld. This device runs on Android 10 OS, weighs around 650g, has IP-67 certification, and allows quick charging via 3.0 USB-C. So far, pretty impressive.
The resolution is FHD 1920×1200, and the screen is fully readable in sunlight. It also has an anti-fingertip coating, plus you can touch the screen with a glove and even when your hands are wet and still initiate functions.
The battery is fully removable, and the capacity is 8200 mAh Li-ion. You can comfortably expect 19 straight hours of battery life when the phone is active. On standby mode, it can last up to 20 days.
- IP-67 certification
- Removable battery
- Two screen sizes
- A pricey option
2. CAT S60
CAT is another rugged phone brand that rarely disappoints. With their S60 model, the company combines the classic rugged qualities and trailblazing smartphone innovation. For instance, this is the world’s first thermal imaging smartphone.
Let’s talk about the battery first, though. It’s a non-removable 38000mAh Li-ion Quick charge 2.0. Its capacity is where it impresses, with up to 30 hours of talk time and over 40 days of standby time.
You can take this phone with you on a camping trip and not worry the battery will give out. It has a super bright 4.7” HD display with a 1280×720 resolution. In terms of connectivity, it covers all the bases, including cell data, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
The camera is more than decent, too. The front camera is 5MP, and the rear camera is 13MP with autofocus and thermal camera functions. It’s a great-looking phone too. It’s drop-proof to 1.8m and waterproof to 5m.
- Thermal camera feature
- Great battery life
- Excellent design
- 24-month warranty
- Possible slow loading times
3. Sonim XP6
Another gem from Sonim manufacturing is the XP6 rugged phone. You can take one look at this device and figure that this is as rugged as one phone can get. It has a comprehensive warranty against damage, and it’s an ideal option for people who work in hazardous environments or enjoy extreme sports.
The design is precisely what you might imagine when someone mentions a “brick” phone. It has various molded rubber bumpers, and the plastic is hard and matte. It has a small screen (2.64-inch) and a plethora of rubberized buttons.
This rugged phone meets IP68 and IP69 durability standards and ingress protection. Essentially, it means that if you drop it from six feet, it should be fine. The same applies if you submerge it in water six feet for about 30 minutes. If the Sonim XP6 has peaked your interest, click the link.
It’s powered by Android 4.4 OS, has a Snapdragon 400 processor, and uses 1GB RAM. Plus, it has 8GB of internal storage, but users can only access a little over 4.8GB.
- Built to last
- Loud speakerphone
- Excellent warranty
- Great value
- Tiny screen
4. Samsung Rugby Pro
Samsung has made some significant steps by creating a line of rugged phones. Samsung is well-known for its high-quality Android mobile devices, and that trend is sustained with the Samsung Rugby Pro.
This phone is an affordable choice for people who want a rugged phone but don’t want to break the bank. At first glance, the phone might not look very durable, but that’s just an illusion. Samsung was simply looking to maintain its trademark sleek look.
The phone has stellar call quality, an NFC feature, and offers push-to-talk support. It also has quite a speedy processor and runs on Android 4.0 OS.
You can customize the lock screen and system controls from the notification menu. How rugged is it, though? It meets Mil-STD 810F specifications for humidity, dust, shock, and rain. If all the ports are tightly closed, you can submerge it three feet into the water for 30 minutes. Click the link if the Rugby Pro is right for you!
- Great interface
- Fast processor
- Decent camera
- Less rugged appearance
5. Kyocera DuraForce Pro
Rugged phones are in many ways a niche category, and thus we often find pricey devices with sacrificed specs all the name of ruggedness. Kyocera took a different approach and created a rugged phone with solid specs and excellent performance at a competitive price. Follow the link to purchase the DuraForce Pro.
This is a heavier phone which features different textures and curves and a little bit of plastic. It has eight buttons in total, along the front and side. It makes navigation relatively easy even when your hands are wet, or you’re wearing gloves.
When submerged into water, the phone automatically disables the touch screen and only letting you use the physical buttons.
It has a five-inch monitor protected by the Kyocera’s scratchproof Sapphire Shield. Also, it has an IP68 rating for dust, and it’s waterproof to a depth of six feet for 30 minutes.
- Shatter-resistant display
- Great network performance
- Secondary camera lens
- Wireless charging
- Could use better software
6. Panasonic Toughbook FZ-T1
When Panasonic released their Toughbook FZ-T1 rugged smartphone, they had one goal in mind: They wanted to create the ideal rugged device for retail, emergency services, hospitality, transport, and manufacturing.
This is the go-to device for the mobile workforce, and there’s a good reason why that’s the case. Let’s take a closer look at this well-designed device.
This is not the cheapest rugged phone around, but it’s suited for every environment possible. It runs on Android 8.1 “Oreo” and has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. There’s only the rear camera, but it’s 8MP which means it delivers decent image and video quality. It has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
As expected, it has a barcode scanner and two trigger buttons. On top of that, there’s a three-year warranty attached to this rugged phone.
- Ideal for mobile workforce
- Android 8.1
- Three-year warranty
- IP68 rating
- No NFC
7. Doogee S90
If you need a phone that can withstand the wear and tear of daily life, Doogee S90 might be the right choice for you. The moment you see it, you can tell it’s a tough phone, made to last.
It has a 6.18-inch display which puts it in the category of larger rugged smartphones. It abides by the IP68 and IP69 standards and can be placed five feet underwater for up to two weeks, which is pretty impressive.
You can also count on it being shockproof, dustproof, and performing well in extreme temperatures. It’s also resistant to mold and corrosion. It runs on 8.1 Android, works on 6GB RAM, and has 128GB of storage.
The best thing about this rugged phone is the various modular accessories you can magnetically clip on the rear. They all work smoothly, but also adds to the weight of the phone.
- Comes with accessories
- Excellent specs
- Very rugged
- 5,000mAh battery
- No headphone jack
8. Sonim XP7
Many people who need a rugged smartphone postpone any purchase for fear of disappointment. That’s understandable. If you work in an industry where your phone is likely to break, you want someone to promise that the phone can stand up to anything.
That’s exactly what you get with Sonim XP7, as it comes with a three-year, no-questions-asked warranty from the manufacturer. That’s a big statement right off the bat. This is a truly tough phone as its entire body is clad in rubber – a bouncy rubber, in fact.
It has little triangular cutouts, which you can remove to reveal an external antenna port. The screen is five inches in diameter, and you also get three large action buttons to help you navigate.
You get a dedicated camera, push-to-talk feature, and alarm buttons on the side. An additional great feature is a magnetic charger that comes with a proprietary port. The Sonim XP7 also has a fantastic battery with its 4,800 mAh battery, which boasts great battery life.
- Exceptional quality
- Incredibly comprehensive warranty
- Excellent battery life
- Loud speakerphone
- Camera isn’t that great
9. Unihertz Titan
This phone is touted as a Blackberry alternative. Or should we say rugged Blackberry alternative? It does resemble the classic Blackberry design, but this phone is so much more than that.
If you want a tough smartphone with a physical keyboard, the Unihertz Titan is a fantastic option, especially as these types of phones are hard to come by these days.
It’s a wide phone, so it’s best suited for people with larger hands. It’s super-sturdy and sphere-shaped with an arc at the top. It features a metal frame and a plastic back. There are no weak design points, it doesn’t feel hollow, and the bezels on the handset are thick.
It runs on Android 9, has 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage. It also has both front and rear cameras of average quality.
Overall, this is more than a solid, rugged phone with an excellent physical keyboard too. Performance is good, and ruggedness even more so.
- Unique design
- Great battery life
- External keyboard
- Well priced
- Too wide for some
10. Samsung Rugby 4
While the market is flooded with rugged phones, mostly smart, these days, let’s not forget that they’re not the only option. If you need a durable “dumb” phone, Samsung Rugby 4 could be the right choice for you.
Let’s keep it real; however – this phone still has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. But it’s a flip phone, so it doesn’t operate the same way most smartphones do. The battery life is more than adequate. You can expect up to 14 hours of talk time and up to 23 days of standby time. It also has a low-resolution camera, 3MP, and a 1.3-inch display.
In terms of ruggedness, this is an excellent phone. It’s IP67 and IP68 compliant, which means it will survive underwater for 30 minutes, but only up to a depth of three feet. It also has a powerful outer speakerphone, making it perfect when you’re in a loud working environment. You can purchase the Rugby 4 with this link!
- A classic flip phone
- IP67 and IP68 compliant
- Very durable
- Reasonably priced
- Mediocre design
Choosing the Best Rugged Phone for Your Needs
What you’ll need out rugged phones will depend on what you’ll use it for. If you’re going to take the phone with you every day to work in an environment where it can fall or get wet, then you’re probably in need of extreme ruggedness. Not to mention that you’ll need a phone with a powerful speaker for those times when work requires you to be in a noisy location like a factory.
However, do you just need something just a little bit sturdier so you don’t have to worry about smashing your phone while riding a bike? There are still plenty of options of rugged phones available, too, for those who need a slightly lower level of protection.
Visit Mr Aberthon to check out our offer of rugged phones and find the best suited for your lifestyle.