No matter how good, beautiful and powerful smartphones become, there will still be a major flaw in most of them: they are too delicate.
Yes, you may put on a case, but that still won’t save your smartphone if it falls too hard on the floor or too deep in water. If you have a tough profession or take your phone with you on your outdoor adventures, you need the right type of phone.
Here in our guide, we’ll highlight the best rugged smartphone models for you and provide you with detailed reviews of the top three products.
If there are any smartphones that can survive a fall from the roof of a building, it’s probably going to be something from the list below.
Top 10 Rugged Smartphones Comparison Chart
What Can You Expect from a Rugged Smartphone?
A rugged smartphone is very different from your everyday variety. While your normal smartphones feature top of the line specs, futuristic features and highly delicate metal or glass designs, rugged smartphones do not. Instead, here’s what you can expect from your rugged smartphone:
- It Will Have All Kinds of ‘Proof’. Waterproof, shatterproof and shockproof. Your new rugged smartphone won’t mind being played like a football by your kids. It won’t mind deep diving into water (by a few meters, of course). It also won’t mind being dropped off your roof.
- It Won’t Have the Latest and Greatest. Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is the truth. 90 percent of rugged smartphones won’t have the latest OS or technology like fingerprint sensor or NFC; this is because it is built for those people looking for a device that can withstand constant abuse, and adding complex features compromises its ruggedness. What it will have that most smartphones don’t is outstanding battery life.
- It’s for a Very Specific Type of Person. These devices are specifically made for people with tough professions, dangerous hobbies or clumsy hands. So, if you do construction work, climb mountains and do rough outdoor activities, these phones are for you. They’ll do a good job of calling and messaging, consuming media, playing angry birds, but that’s about it. What they’ll do a great job of is protecting your phone and the data on it.
Top 3 Best Rugged Smartphone Reviews
The Galaxy S7 Active is a continuation of a long-running series of Samsung’s ‘Active’ lineup. They are primarily tougher devices meant to withstand damage that would probably destroy the normal Galaxy S series of devices.
The Galaxy S7 Active, like the name suggests, is the ‘tough’ model of the popular Galaxy S7. The biggest difference in regards to the normal S7 is that instead of a delicate glass back, the S7 Active has a permanent rubber textured back. Also, the S7 Active’s gorilla glass display, unlike the S7’s display, is also shatterproof. This means cracks won’t spread to the whole display.
All other features seem to be the same. The S7 Active has an excellent 12MP camera which is on par with, if not better than the iPhone. The display size is the same 5.1-inch, 2560 x 1440 resolution display. It has the same fingerprint sensor (although reinforced). Also, it has the same fast charging and wireless charging capabilities.
Where the Active S7 really shines is in its MIL-STD-810G certified and IP68 certified rating; this means it is not only water and dust proof, but it is also rain, salt, humidity and thermal shock resistant. Plus, the 4000mA battery which is 1000mA bigger than the normal S7 is the cherry on top.
This makes the Galaxy S7 active the best rugged smartphone on the market. Not only does it have one of the best military grade construction of any rugged smartphone, but it also has the functionality and flexibility of a normal smartphone as well; this makes getting it for rough usage a no brainer.
Who knew that a company like Caterpillar specializing in construction equipment would make phones? If you’re surprised and think that’s odd, read on ahead and you won’t be anymore.
Let’s get the specs out of the way first. The phone comes Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. It includes 32GB internal storage with a MicroSD card slot to add in 128GB more. The display is a 4.7 inch 1280 x 720 resolution screen with shatterproof gorilla glass 4. The back camera is a 13MP shooter with FLIR (we’ll talk about this in a minute). The front camera is a 5MP shooter which is good for video chat and selfies.
But that’s not why you’re buying this phone. You’re going to be getting this phone because of two main features, the best which we’ll save for last.
Just like the S7 Active, the CAT S60 is IP68 and MIL-SPEC 810G certified; this means the phone can withstand water, is heat and shock resistant and more. In short, this phone will survive abuse better than most phones out there.
Now for the star of the show. This phone has a FLIR thermal camera in addition to the normal 13MP shooter on the back. What this does is provide live thermal imaging by detecting heat sensitive rays that are invisible to the naked eye.
What this means is that this phone is meant primarily is for usage during construction, electrical work and finding a source of heating in your machinery, pipes and other devices. That being said, this device can also come in handy for firefighters as well, making it one of the best rugged smartphone models out there.
The Kyocera DuraForce is also an excellent rugged smartphone. What makes it a great smartphone is its price, which is one of the lowest in any rugged smartphone of its class.
The phone comes with a 4.5-inch 720p display, has 2GB of RAM and 16GB which can be expanded to a MicroSD card up to 32GB. The phone also comes with an 8MP back camera and 2MP front camera which honestly, aren’t that good.
The main reason to get this phone is that it has a big 3100mAh battery which is enough to last a day with above average use. Moreover, the phone also has a display which allows operation with gloves and wet hands.
Also, just like the above-rugged phones, this one is also IP68, and MIL-STD-810G certified, meaning it is resistant to shock, high temperatures, rough weather and can survive being underwater for up to 30 minutes.
This makes it a great rugged smartphone for its price and definitely recommended for people who’d like to use their phone in tough conditions.