Talking on the Rugby 4

Samsung Rugby 4 Review

The Rugby 4 is one of the most popular rugged flip phones in the world. So, in this article, we are going to give you the complete Samsung Rugby 4 Review. You’ll learn the pros the cons and everything else in between.

Review of Samsung Rugby 4

Our phone reviewing experts give the Samsung Rugby 4 a score of 9/10 (or a 4.5/5). It may be surprising to see such an old phone ranking so high, but our score is based on the needs of the consumers who would want the Rugby 4.

“The Samsung Rugby 4 is one of the only flip phones that have truly reached cult status,” says John Harrin, one of the phone experts at Mr Aberthon. “It’s a rare breed of a phone that seems not to have even reached its half-life yet.”

John Harrin

We believe that someone who wants a rugged workman phone will genuinely love this phone. This Rugby 4 Review is based on the following criteria:

  • Price (5/5)
  • Durability and Ruggedness (5/5)
  • Phone design (4.5/5)
  • Hardware and Camera (4.25/5)
  • Internal Software (4.25/5)
  • Availability within Market (4/5)

As you will see below, the Rugby 4 is not a phone that everyone will enjoy. It has a very specific demographic.

Here are the people that we’ve found most greatly benefit from the Samsung Rugby 4:

  • Anyone in any industry that will require a tough rugged device. Example: Construction, plumbing, electronics, transportation etc…
  • The young or elderly. Someone who wants a simple phone and wouldn’t enjoy a complex smartphone
  • Anyone who bought the original Rugby 4 when it first came out and doesn’t want to relearn a new phone
  • Someone wants a quality rugged flip phone

Rugby 4 Pricing

Hands Holding Rugby 4 up close

Unfortunately, the Rugby 4 is not easy to find anymore. It was a limited production phone when it first came out and even during its peak it wasn’t available at all vendors. It has been discontinued for sale by its original vendors (AT&T and T-Mobile) although it still works perfectly on all GSM networks.

For the above reason, the Rugby 4 is hard to buy. Click here for the link to buy the Rugby 4.

This phone is not for everyone. Those who need it, love it. And those that loved it, will be unlikely to move onto any other phone.

Options for Purchasing

Man Holding Rugby 4 blue shirt
  • The cost of a brand-new and unlocked Rugby 4 will be at least $250-$300 (assuming that you can find a genuine brand new device!).
  • Top Option: The Rugby 4 unlocked to all GSM networks will cost about $64.99 – $120 from Mr Aberthon. The advantage of buying from us will be our incredible money-back warranty. Please note: Even if you do find a Rugby 4 in Brand New condition for a good price, it will have been sitting on a shelf for at least 3-4 years. If you buy a brand new Rugby 4 without an incredible warranty, you are looking for trouble!
  • A locked AT&T Rugby 4 will cost approximately $80 – $100. Even if you currently have a plan with AT&T, we don’t recommend getting a locked phone for the following reasons: You may want to change plans later on, you may want to sell the phone later and get more money, you may want to use your phone overseas, or you may want to gift the phone to someone on another plan.
  • For Parts: Buying broken Rugby 4 for parts is relatively cheap on eBay. You can probably buy a broken Rugby 4 for $30-$50.

Understanding the Rugby Series

Hands Showing Rugby 4 Side View

When any cell phone is toughened up, it is said to be rugged. When Samsung wanted to create a line of rugged phones, they chose a sport that is renowned for its toughness. That’s the simple origin of the Rugby Series.

Right from the time of the original Rugby 1, the range has been a massive success. Suddenly, phones could go into situations in which they would previously have been likely to suffer damage. Environments that would routinely destroy cell phones suddenly stopped being no-go areas.

Here are the phones in the USA Samsung Rugby Lineup:

  • Original Samsung Rugby
  • The Samsung Rugby 2
  • Samsung Rugby Smart
  • Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro
  • The Samsung Rugby 3
  • The Samsung Rugby 4 (Released October 2014)

How Rugged is the Rugby 4?

Construction Worker Holding Rugby 4

We rank the Rugby 4 as a 5/5 for overall ruggedness.

IP Compliance

If you’ve been paying attention in the last 3 or 4 years, you’ll have noticed something. More and more phones and smartphones in particular have been boasting about being IP67 or IP68 compliant. What they don’t do is tell you what those mean.

In a nutshell, the IP stands for “Ingress Protection” or, in plain language, how protected the phone is from dust and water getting inside. The 6 indicates that it has maximum protection from dust, down to very fine particles. Finally, the 7 and 8 show how good it is at keeping water out. A 7 means that it will survive 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, and an 8 means it will withstand 6 feet of water for the same period.


The Rugby 4 is IP67, so it has decent protection. But it has more. It also boasts MIL-STD 810G compliance. The MIL-STD stands for Military Standard, and the 810G is the level of testing the device has withstood. As you might expect, all products used by the US military have to achieve a standard of workmanship and suitability for purpose. Certainly, these would include everything from waterproofing up to withstanding a direct hit from a bullet.

The Rugby 4 hasn’t been tested to that level, of course, but it has been tested on a lot of things. For instance, chemical and shock resistance, thermal shock, fungus, humidity, salt, extreme vibration, and more.

Crucially, and probably one of the most important things from a cell phone point of view, it can withstand drops from 6 feet onto hard surfaces. Try dropping an iPhone from that height, and you’ll almost certainly be writing it off. However, does that mean the Rugby 4 is indestructible? Not exactly, but it does offer a massive upgrade in confidence that it can survive normal life and lots more.

Samsung Rugby 4 Design

Rugby 4 Device Views

As you saw above, we have deemed the Rugby 4 as a 9/10 for design.

It is important to note, as noted above, that this score is ranked towards a person who wants the nice services that the Rugby 4 provides. Of course, we aren’t ranking the design against the Note 9. That would be comparing apples and oranges.

Okay, so we can see that the Rugby 4 is tough, but that’s no good if it’s a terrible cell phone. So let’s take a closer look to see where it stands up and where it might fall.

Design Pros

  • Clam-shell or flip design. This automatically offers more protection to various elements, not least the display.
  • There is plenty of space to touch the buttons
  • An outer speakerphone (very practical for working)
  • The Rugby 4 feels solid in the hand, whether open or closed, and yet doesn’t feel especially heavy, considering its tough credentials. In fact, at 5oz, it’s nearly an ounce lighter than the average smartphone
  • The sides have easy gripping wedges so, slip ups are less likely to occur

Design Cons

  • If you looking to impress, this phone is rather dull in overall appearance
  • The screw at the back should be black and not shiny metal

Design Conclusion

We can’t, hand on heart, say it’s a “sexy” looking phone because it isn’t. It does look pretty smart, though, as flip phones go. On the other hand, the extra padded protection around the edges of the case does add a certain texture that looks and feels pretty good. The back also has a textured finish so it can be easy to grip, even when wearing gloves.

Open the phone up and you will see big, clear number keys. In addition, a home button can easily be found. This is thanks to the large, again textured, direction pad which surrounds it.

The Hardware Specifications

Open Rugby 4 Construction Site

The 2.4″ display of the Rugby 4 is small by the standards of full-screen smartphones but is quite adequate by flip phone standards. The secondary display, which remains visible when the phone is closed, is 1.3″. But, again, this is pretty standard for the format.

Resolution isn’t the best at 240px x 320px, but it still looks bright and clear, with good colors on show.

The 3MP camera can also record video @15fps. Certainly, this will not compete with modern smartphones. But then it probably isn’t meant to. The point of the Rugby 4 is that it is for people who need a phone and a tough one at that. It’s also for those who need a phone but would find a camera useful from time to time. It’s also, of course, for those who risk a broken phone every time they get out of bed.

The keypad feels excellent underuse. Gloves are the enemy of the cell phone, however, it’s good that Samsung has recognized this. It hasn’t taken huge changes, just some minor but well-thought ones.

Rugby 4 Review Specifications

Internal Display2.4″, 240 x 320 pixels
External Display1.3″, 128 x 128 pixels
Memory256 MB and 128 MB RAM – External memory up to 32 GB (microSD)
Battery1300 mAh – Talk Time: Up to 14 hours – Standby Time: Up to 22.9 days
Camera & Video3.0 MP fixed focus camera with 2x digital zoom
Video recording (QVGA@15fps)
Dimensions148 grams
10.8 x 5.6 x 2.2 cm
Network & ConnectivityUMTS 850/1900/2100
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
A-GPS (SUPL 2.0)
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/r
Bluetooth 3.0

The battery is a very good 1300mAh and has wireless charging. Given that iPhones didn’t have this until very recently, this is a very big deal in a flip phone. It also has NFC, for moving data to another device or for contactless payments in stores. A Micro SD card slot has also somehow found its way into the amazingly compact size, which is a fantastic addition.

All in all, it’s hard to fault the Rugby 4 on build and hardware. Samsung has somehow managed to straddle the simple but smartphone world perfectly.

Camera Quality and Functionality

As mentioned before, the camera on the Rugby 4 is nothing to get excited about. It’s simple and it works, but that’s where its praise ends.

If you want to take a few pictures for documentation or memory purposes, the camera is ideal. Social pictures won’t be horrible, but the quality won’t hold a light on the modern Samsung smartphones that are now on the market.

Technically speaking, the camera can shoot 3-Megapixels, but in our experience, the camera still isn’t good enough to be considered on the spectrum of impressive.

In short, if you need a phone with a high-quality camera, the Samsung Rugby isn’t a good idea for you.

We will soon upload pictures to understand the quality of photos that were taken on the Rugby 4.

Rugby 4 Software

Colorful Code on Black Computer Screen

The Rugby 4 runs Samsung’s proprietary operating system. This means no app store, but they have included some essential features. Email and web browsing are here, and, above all, the phone is 4G ready. Any browsing or emailing you do will, therefore, be at the second-best available speeds.

There’s a dedicated GPS button for turn-by-turn navigation. In addition, BlueTooth is present for use with in-car systems or external speakers, and wi-fi is here for the first time in the Rugby range.

Because the Rugby 4 is meant for tough work environments, there’s also a Push To Talk button. Push To Talk, or PTT allows the creation of a small, local wi-fi network. This then lets other PTT devices in range work like a walkie-talkie system. This is an incredibly useful feature, and well done to Samsung for including it.

Check out our Rugby 4 Unboxing Video

The Rugby 4 Competitors

Interestingly enough, the Rugby 4 doesn’t have many true competitors in the market. However, as John said above, the cult status of the Rugby 4 doesn’t lend itself to competitors. Those who love the Rugby 4 (or Rugby 3) will not be pleased with any other phone aside for the Rugby 4. Certainly, no amount of convincing will make any difference. They know the phone and they love the phone. And that is that.

However, that being said, there are a few phones on the market that are fantastic competitors for someone interested in branching out.

1. Kyocera DuraXE

Kyocera DuraXe Front View

The Kyocera DuraXE is probably the strongest crossover phone for the Rugby 4 . It’s a little heavier but not by enough to truly notice. The DuraXE gives the Rugby 4 a run for its money. Some even say this phone is way better.

A quick look at the DuraXE, reveals the storage capacity is way higher at 8GB while the Rugby 4 has 0.256GB. Luckily, both can be expanded up to 32GB with a MicroSD card. The camera quality is higher on the DuraXE coming in at 5mp, while the Rugby 4 is at 3MP. Additionally, the Kyocera has a battery capacity of 1500mAh. Again, the Rugby 4 falls short at only 1300mAh.

It’s a rugged phone and so obviously Mr Aberthon carries it in their store.

The Kyocera DuraXE is our top pick for a Rugby 4 competitor!

2. Sonim XP5

Sonim XP5 in gloved hand

The Sonim XP5 is a fantastic option if you want to graduate from the Rugby 4. Like the Rugby 4, it is shockingly tough. It’s very affordable and really easy to use.

The only difference is that it is not a flip phone.

The price is affordable like the Rugby 4 and it does a lot more, a lot simpler. Right now, we’re running a limited price for the Sonim XP5 for only $119 for Brand New and Unlocked to all GSM networks. This price includes free shipping throughout the USA.

3. Alcatel SmartFlip

Front View of the Alcatel Smartflip

The Alcatel SmartFlip is also a flip phone like the Rugby 4. It’s not a preferred option if you want to go with the Rugby 4, but the advantage is that if you can’t find the Brand New Rugby 4 and you want to get another flip phone, this would be a fantastic choice.

The good news is that it is very affordable to buy the Alcatel Smartflip in unlocked and brand-new condition. The price is only $59 and it includes free shipping.

4. Sonim RS60

Certainly, the Sonim RS60 and the Rugby 4 are worlds apart. We have included the Sonim RS60 in this list because it is the king of rugged phones and therefore deserves to be mentioned. It is in a completely different league as the Rugby 4 but if someone was interested in upgrading to a MUCH higher-quality rugged smartphone, this would be the top choice. Like the Rugby 4, it’s simple and uncomplicated, but unlike the Rugby 4, it is very expensive for a rugged phone.

However, it’s only for serious rugged users or those who want/need something to help them run their business. The price for this phone is $1,149.

Click here to learn more about the Sonim RS60.

5. Samsung Rugby 3

Samsung Rugby 3 Tilted Front View

The Rugby 3 is the most natural competition for the version 4. It is the earlier edition of the Rugby Series. Surprisingly enough, some customers swear by the Rugby 3 and won’t touch the Rugby 4. Go figure. They got used to the Rugby 3, loved it, and therefore, won’t look back. There are also a few features that are in Rugby 3 that they didn’t continue with the Rugby 4.

Rugby 4 Review Conclusion

Front View Rugby 4 In Hand

In all honesty, it’s hard to fault the Rugby 4 for what it is. Yes, you can point to it not being Android and not having an available app store, but that would be defeating the object. You can also point to it looking rugged and, therefore, functional. But it isn’t meant to compete with an iPhone or a Galaxy S. It’s a phone that is there to be used and even, on occasion, abused.

With that in mind, and for a price that barely buys a good dinner for two, certainly, it’s impossible to fault. To buy the Unlocked Rugby 4 from Mr Aberthon, follow the link.

If you have any questions or comments about our Samsung Rugby 4 Review, feel free to ask in the comments below. We have technology experts who check our blogs daily.

Main Menu