Mobile phones are not as sturdy as they were in the early days of cell phone technology. An inadvertently dropped smartphone can lead to a cracked screen or worse a broken one. In some cases, smartphones are not built for rigorous travel or rough environments such as factories and construction sites.
To stay connected and productive in rough environments a rugged smartphone is worth considering. Rugged smartphones are industrial-grade smartphones with enhanced protective features that allow them to perform in extreme or hazardous environments.
Rugged smartphones are literally tough phones that are waterproof, dustproof, drop-proof, and shockproof. Besides their durable design, they come with advanced computing features, robust memory storage, and long-lasting battery life to help you keep going.
The best-rugged smartphones not only help you enjoy your device without constantly worrying about keeping it safe but also offer features that make you productive. Below are some of our top picks from the best smartphones in the market today.
- Top Pick: Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro
- Runner Up: OUKITEL WP8 Pro Rugged Smartphone
- Best Value: Blackview BV9700 Pro Rugged Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro
Top Pick: Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro rugged smartphone is considered among the best-rugged smartphones in the market. This dual SIM offers a 6.3 inches screen protected by Gorilla Glass 5 in addition to its MIL-STD-810G certified glass to withstand drops from five feet.
This is in addition to its military-grade design guaranteeing protection in difficult environments. It comes with a replaceable fast charging 4,050 mAh battery and two customizable buttons. When it comes to performance it is powered by a 2GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 9611 processor, rear camera (25MP), front camera (8MP) and packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage with an additional 512 GB storage on an SD card.
OUKITEL WP8 Pro Rugged Phone
Runner Up: OUKITEL’s rugged smartphone offers a 6.49-inch display and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This dual SIM rugged smartphone comes with a 16MP triple camera (8MP front camera) and runs on Android. It packs a 5000mAh battery capable of standing by for 300 hours, and by using an OTG cable it can even act as a power bank.
This rugged smartphone meets the IP68 waterproof grade and MIL-STD-810G standard. Thanks to its convex design at the four corners and the corresponding frame it can withstand two hours of water at a depth of up to five feet. It can also withstand the impact of being dropped from a height of five feet without causing malfunction. The MT6762D Octa-Core processor offers high energy efficiency and ensures fast response during work.
Blackview BV9700 Pro Rugged Smartphone
Best Value: This rugged smartphone by Blackview is 4G capable and offers a powerful Octa-core processor, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It comes with a 5.8 inches FHD Screen, runs with Android 9.0, and has a 4380mAh battery.
This dual SIM rugged smartphone has both rear (8MP) and front (16MP) cameras and has its two sides reinforced with a wear-resistant aluminum and titanium alloy, while the 4 corners are well protected by TPU impact buffers. For added protection, it has a Gorilla 3 surface glass to protect the screen from impact. This phone can survive a 5-foot drop, 30-minute immersion under 5-feet water, and resist 99% of dust. In terms of security, this unit comes with both fingerprint and Facial ID to unlock your phone.
DOOGEE S96 Pro
DOOGEE S96 Pro rugged smartphone comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The unit comes with four corner tire design and high-strength rubber to provide a full range of protection offering IP68 military standard protection. It comes with a 6.22-inch Full HD+ screen and charges via wireless charging.
This smartphone is equipped with Sony’s 48MP ultra clarity camera to help deliver super high resolution and 4K support. Its 16MP front camera comes with an AI Face Beauty function that can enhance your facial features even further with clarity and delicacy.
It runs on Android 10 with storage capable of being expanded up to 256GB through an SD card. This rugged smartphone packs a 6350mAh battery allowing for 17 days standby mode, 24 hours of conversation, 10 hours of video, and 11 hours of gaming.
Unihertz Titan Rugged Smartphone
This rugged 4G QWERT smartphone packs a large 6000mAh battery. It has an IP67 waterproof Octa-core Processor, runs with Android 9.0 Pie NFC, and comes with 8MP (front) and 16MP (rear) cameras. The dual SIM Unihertz Titan is another best-rugged smartphone thanks to its fast charging and wireless charging full QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen display.
It comes with a 5.5-inch screen 6GB RAM and 128GB storage and runs with an Octa-core 2GHz processor. It can withstand being submerged and has a military-grade durability rating.
CAT S61 Rugged Smartphone
CAT’s rugged smartphone is an upgrade from the CAT S60 and is backed by a powerful 4,500mAh battery that can run up to 35 hours. Thanks to its robust design it is drop-proof up to six feet onto concrete and is waterproof up to 10 feet for 60 minutes, including saltwater, and endures to all types of dust.
The rear camera has a 16MP autofocus with PDAF and a dual-LED flash, while the front camera offers an 8MP fixed focus. This best-rugged smartphone has a 5.2 inches screen and can handle low to high-temperature differences between -13°F to 131°F for up to 24hrs and Category 4 Resistant to humidity and salt mist. In terms of performance, it comes with Google Android Oreo coupled with Qualcomm sd 630 octa-core 2.2GHz processor.
The Kyocera Brigadier comes with IP68 certification and US Department of Defense Military Standard 810G certification. It is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in up to 6 feet of water and protects against dust. It also offers features like a 4.5–inch HD Sapphire shield display; wet touchscreen operation; a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.4GHz quad-core; and supports audio formats that include WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR–NB, WAV, MP3, and more.
It has an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, digital zooming, and autofocus that can also capture and playback video at 1080 pixels and 30fps. The phone has a 3100mAh battery, giving you enough juice for 26.18 hours of usage time and more than 15 days of standby.
Must-Have Features on Rugged Smartphones
Durability: An ideal rugged smartphone should offer protection from drops, water, and dust. In addition to having Gorilla Glass, they should also provide industry certification of their durability such as MIL-STD-810G drop certification as proof of protection against multiple falls.
Battery Life: Some rugged smartphone battery capacities can reach up to 10,000 mAh- which afford you enough juice to last for long amounts of time. This is four times the capacity of most flagship phones.
Performance: Rugged smartphones can pack some great computing power. This includes quad-core, octa-core, or deca-core processors. These processors give your rugged smartphone the ability to use heavy apps along with speedy processing capabilities. Their high storage provides for lots of data storage with additional storage available to you through SD cards and cloud storage.
Operating Systems: Most rugged smartphones run on Android, Windows, and Linux operating systems affording you plenty of choices in user interfaces. However, some 90% of rugged smartphones work with the Android platform. While shopping for Android rugged smartphones look for those with Android Pie (9.0) or higher.
Touch Features: Rugged smartphones work with Projected Capacitive (PCAP) touch screens that come with multi-touch support. They include pinch and zoom, work in wet conditions, work with gloved hands, and stylus compatible. All the while the screens are more durable than other smartphone touch screens.
Rugged smartphones can cost the same as high-end consumer tablets, but they come with the reassuring benefit of being more durable. In the long run, they do offer returns on investments when it comes to repairs and replacements compared to regular smartphones.
Rugged smartphones may initially appear more expensive than standard smartphones, however, by investing in one you will benefit from reduced downtime, and hassles that result in operational efficiency. Irrespective of the environment or application, a rugged smartphone does outperform, outlast, and cost less than the typical smartphone in the long run. This makes it worth considering as an investment option if one is looking for a long-lasting, economic, and durable smartphone.
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