12 Best Rugged Smartphones in 2020

The Galaxy Xcover Pro by Samsung, thanks to its recency, makes it to the top of our list. In addition to offering MIL-STD-810G and IP68 protection, this rugged smartphone also comes with an excellent battery life accompanied by a decent set of cameras and a powerful processor.

ProductBrandNamePrice
Samsung ElectronicsSamsung Galaxy Xcover PROCheck Price on Amazon
CAT PhoneCAT PHONES S61 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR camera.Check Price on Amazon
UlefoneUlefone Armor X5 Rugged Phones Unlocked, Android 10 Octa-core 3GB + 32GB ROMCheck Price on Amazon
OUKITELOUKITEL WP5 (2020) Rugged Smartphone, 8000mAh Battery IP68 Waterproof Android 10 UnlockedCheck Price on Amazon
BlackviewBlackview BV6300Pro (2020) Android 10 Rugged Cell PhonesCheck Price on Amazon

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Rugged phones have quite a fan-base out there, and with good reason. These phones are virtually indestructible by most modern standards which can be a handy feature if you’re prone to dropping your phone frequently. If you’ve owned an expensive iPhone or Android flagship, you will know that they are more likely to break with one fall than more old-fashioned phones.

You know how smartphone manufacturers always like to flaunt the way their latest, proudest, costliest “high-end products” cater to the needs of “power users” and so justify the outrageous price tags? Well, if you ask me, they got the definition of power user all wrong.

Bonafide power users don’t care how fast, silly cat YouTube clips load on their handhelds. Or if they can smoothly run the newest Angry Birds installment. Instead, they want devices that could survive harsh conditions or drops/spills without breaking a sweat.

Quad HD displays? How about unbreakable glass with just enough pixels to check the news or football scores? “True” octa-core chips? Save it, and give us a gizmo we can bounce off 4 inches thick concrete walls. PureView 41 MP cameras? No thanks, but a battery capable of lasting more than a couple of days on a single charge would be nice when stranded on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere.

Luckily, there are quite a few rugged phones out there that meet the aforementioned criteria. Some even come with a thermal imaging sensor. Keeping this in mind, we’re going to take a look at a few of them to help you make the right pick. Here are some of the best-rugged smartphones available in the market today.

Best Rugged Smartphone


1. Samsung Galaxy Xcover PRO

Samsung has made several rugged smartphones in the past, and this model happens to be the most recent. In terms of hardware features, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro comes with a fairly decent 6.3-inch 2340 x 1080 resolution LCD screen which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. In the CPU department, the smartphone comes with the Exynos 9611 octa-core chipset, which can be rated on par with some of the high-end chipsets in circulation today.

Though there’s only 64GB of internal storage with the Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro, the company offers a microSD card slot for storage expansion. The smartphone also comes with 4GB of RAM. In terms of durability, the smartphone comes with IP68 certification for dust and water resistance accompanied by MIL-STD-810G compliance for ruggedness. The design of the handset is crucial in offering these protections.

The Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro also comes with a decent dual rear camera setup consisting of 25MP and 8MP sensors. The front has a 13MP camera for selfies and video calls. The phone comes with a decent 4,050 mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging. The company has also included a side-mounted fingerprint scanner for good measure. Lastly, the Galaxy Xcover Pro runs Android 10 out of the box with One UI 2.1 on top putting this comfortably among the best out there.

Buy it Now: Amazon


2. CAT S61

CAT is probably one of the most recognizable manufacturers of rugged phones, though other manufacturers are catching up. The CAT S61 is not as large as some of the other phones we’ve discussed on this list today, but it’s still one of the most popular offerings on Amazon right now. It features a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) display which is backed by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. Further, the smartphone also comes with the eight-core Snapdragon 630 processor.

The CAT S61 offers 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with the help of a microSD card. There’s 4GB of RAM here for apps and multitasking. The company offers a single 16MP rear camera here, and it also supports thermal imaging (FLIR), making it one of the best cameraphones for this purpose. There’s an 8MP front camera inlcuded here that can perform fairly well.

The rugged phone also comes MIL-STD-810G compliant, which means it can sustain drops without a hitch. The CAT S61 offers water and dust resistance with the manufacturer mentioning an IP68 certification. As for the battery life, the 4,500 mAh unit on board should be capable of lasting throughout the day. This rugged phone is also compatible with 18W fast chargers, putting it among some of the best rugged smartphones out there.

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3. Ulefone Armor X5

The Ulefone Armor X5 is one of the best-rugged phones you can get this year thanks to its long list of features. It comes with a 5.5-inch HD+ screen which is covered by a shell that ensures the phone stays safe even in the event of a fall. It comes with an eight-core processor underneath that can keep the device ticking no matter what app you want to use. It comes packed with IP68/IP69K water resistance, which is the highest rating any rugged phone can get.

Further, the manufacturer has also included gloves mode, which is basically the ability to operate the display with gloves on. There’s also an underwater mode that allows you to shoot photos and videos underwater. In terms of storage capacity, the phone only comes with 32GB of space inside, though there’s a microSD card slot included here. Customers will also find 3GB of RAM on the Ulefone Armor X5.

This rugged phone has dual rear cameras consisting of 13MP and 2MP sensors for some very good shots. There’s a 5MP front-facing camera for self-portraits. This rugged smartphone runs Android 10 by default, though there’s no word on whether it will be upgraded to Android 11 anytime soon. We love the massive 5,000 mAh battery used on this offering, putting it among the best out there.

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4. OUKITEL WP5

Oukitel is a little-known brand outside of the big names in the smartphone industry, though the company currently has several low-cost, high-performance smartphones available for purchase. The Oukitel WP5 has a 5.5-inch LCD screen which makes it extremely comfortable for single-handed usage. It is powered by a decent 1 GHz quad-core CPU, though it’s unlikely to win any performance awards.

The manufacturer also offers 4GB of RAM accompanied by 32GB of storage space. The minimal internal space should not be a concern for the customers given that this phone also comes with a microSD card slot. In terms of camera performance, the company is offering a 13MP+5MP+2MP triple rear camera setup which can stitch together some impressive photos and videos.

This rugged smartphone also comes with a front camera, though the manufacturer doesn’t specify its size. Though it is specified that the front camera can be used for authentication with features like Face Unlock. Speaking of which, the company also offers a fingerprint sensor with this rugged phone. On the software front, customers will be treated to Android 10 out of the box.

Our favorite feature here is the presence of a massive 8,000 mAh battery pack that should last anywhere between two to three days on a single charge. This aspect alone makes this a contender for the best-rugged smartphone crown.

Buy it Now: Amazon


5. Blackview BV6300 Pro

When we talk about the best rugged phones, very rarely does a brand like Blackview gets left out. The Blackview BV6300 Pro is a durable device that is built to last for a long time. It packs a 5.7-inch HD screen and is accompanied by the Mediatek Helio P70 AI processor (eight-core) to make sure the phone runs smooth consistently. The manufacturer also offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage with this handset, making this one of the best devices in this segment.

What’s interesting about this rugged smartphone is the presence of a quad-camera setup consisting of a 16MP primary sensor accompanied by an 8MP ultrawide sensor, a 2MP macro sensor, and a 0.3MP auxiliary sensor to improve the quality of your photos and videos. The front has a large 13MP sensor for selfies. It’s also worth noting that the company has managed to keep this rugged smartphone at around 11.6mm despite packing such a bulky feature list.

As you would expect, the phone is IP68 certified waterproof which basically means it’s safe to swim with this rugged smartphone. The 4380 mAh battery on the handset should be decent enough to last the whole day. The best part, however, is the fact that this phone also comes with wireless charging support provided you have a Qi-compatible charger. The BV6300 Pro runs Android 10 out of the box.

Buy it Now: Amazon


6. Ulefone Armor 7E

The Ulefone Armor 7E was launched in early 2020 and continues to be one of the best rugged phones out there. It comes with a screen size of 6.3-inches bearing a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. It is powered by the eight-core Mediatek MT6779 processor which can be found on some of the best rugged smartphones today. Users will find 4GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage along with a microSD card slot.

Much like the rugged smartphone we discussed above, the Ulefone Armor 7E comes with a quad-camera setup consisting of 48MP+2MP+2MP+5MP sensors. On the front, this rugged phone offers a 16MP sensor which should be excellent for self-portraits or videos. The phone comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner which is standard practice among rugged phones. Users will also like to know that the Armor 7E comes with face unlocking which leverages the front camera to authenticate.

This phone offers IP68/IP69K protection which means it can perform even when it’s underwater. There’s a large 5,500 mAh battery under the hood here which should be decent for a day or two of usage. We also like the fact that this phone has wireless charging built-in by default for Qi-standard chargers. The Ulefone Armor 7E runs Android 9.0 and there’s no word on a future update at the moment.

Buy it Now: Amazon


7. OUKITEL WP7

This is the second phone by this brand on our list which only goes to show how good its phones are, particularly with regard to ruggedness. The WP7 has a 6.53-inch 2340 x 1080 LCD screen which gives it a distinct size advantage over some of its competitors in the industry. This smartphone is powered by the eight-core MediaTek MT6779 processor which can keep the device ticking even with GPU-heavy games and other apps.

The manufacturer offers 128GB of internal storage with the WP7 and it can be further expanded with the help of a microSD card. We also like the fact that this phone offers 8GB of RAM which is something that we only see on flagship phones today. There’s a triple camera setup on the rear panel, so customers can always expect the best camera performance. The front has a decent single camera positioned on the top left (hole punch).

This phone comes with IP68 certification for water/ dust resistance. Customers will like the fact that the manufacture lets you pick from the fingerprint sensor or face unlock for authentication. Much like the WP5 we spoke about earlier, this one too comes with a mammoth 8,000 mAh that can easily offer up to 3 days of battery life. The company mentions that the phone can also charge other rugged phones provided the user has an OTG cable. The WP7 runs Android 9.0 Pie by default.

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8. Blackview BV9900 Pro

This is a highly capable dual-SIM smartphone that can give the current crop of flagships a run for their money. The Blackview BV9900 Pro comes with a 5.84-inch waterdrop display (LCD) offering a resolution of 2280 x 1080. It is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. This runs the eight-core MediaTek Helio P90 processor which is a powerhouse in terms of performance. The back comprises of three camera sensors comprising of 48MP+5MP+2MP sensors. The best part, however, is the fact that it can also act as a thermal imaging camera.

Selfie lovers will like the fact that this smartphone has a 16MP front camera which can capture the best wide-angle group shots in this segment. As for internal storage, users get 128GB to use from, though there’s a microSD card slot if you feel want to expand it further. There’s 8GB of RAM here as well, putting the Blackview BV9900 Pro among some of the flagships in rotation today. You can unlock the phone either using your fingerprint or via the front camera which offers face unlock.

The Blackview BV9900 Pro has a 4380 mAh battery underneath, which can keep the phone ticking for at least a day thanks to the relatively smaller screen-size in comparison to some of the giants we’ve discussed today. In addition to charging it over a USB connection, this phone also offers wireless charging support. Users will find Android 9.0 running by default on the BV9900 Pro.

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9. Doogee S95

One of the best parts about the Doogee S95 Pro is its design. It runs on the eight-core Helio P90 processor that can power through most tasks with a breeze. This phone has a screen size of 6.3-inches (FHD+) and is accompanied by a waterdrop front camera (16MP). As for the rear camera, the Doogee S95 Pro packs a powerful triple camera layout consisting of a 48MP primary sensor and two 8MP sensors.

In terms of durability, the phone comes with IP68/IP69K backed water/dust resistance, while the manufacturer is also including MIL-STD-810G that makes it immune to drops from a significant distance. The manufacturer offers 128GB of internal storage with the Doogee S95 Pro while there’s 8GB of RAM for apps and extensive multitasking. The smartphone comes with Android 9.0 out of the box, and there’s no telling if the manufacturer will send the Android 10 update anytime soon.

The Doogee S95 Pro can leverage the fingerprint scanner or the face unlock feature via the front camera for authentication. The phone comes with a 5,150 mAh battery with support for 10W fast charging as well as wireless charging. The phone features with dual 27mm speakers that can offer unparalleled audio performance in this segment. Taking these factors into account, it goes without saying that the Doogee S95 Pro is one of the best rugged phones in the business today.

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10. Unihertz Atom

The Unihertz Atom has been around for a while and it has the privilege of being the world’s smallest 4G rugged smartphone. It has a screen size of 2.45-inches with a resolution of 432 x240 and is running the snappy Helio P23 eight-core processor. Further, the manufacturer has included 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (non-expandable) with the Unihertz Atom.

The Atom also comes with a 16MP rear camera and is accompanied by an 8MP front camera. The Unihertz Atom runs on Android 9.0 Pie and there’s no word on future updates for the phone. Customers will also appreciate the fact that this rugged phone comes with a USB C port that allows faster charging and data transfer. Despite the small size, the manufacturer has somehow managed to cram in a fingerprint scanner here as well.

Users will find a 2,000 mAh battery here, which can comfortably last through the day thanks to the smaller display. The manufacturer adds that this smartphone supports USB OTG (on-the-go). As you would expect, the phone has coverings to avoid water from getting in while it’s also IP68 rated water/dust resistant.

Unlike most new phones, the Unihertz Atom offers a physical front button which also houses the fingerprint scanner. If you’re looking for a small yet rugged handset out there, this is your best bet.

Buy it Now: Amazon


11. Ulefone Armor 9

The Ulefone Armor 9 is a worthy of the best rugged phone tag thanks to the long list of features it offers. To start, the Armor 9 packs a screen size of 5.5-inches with a resolution of 2340 x 1080, putting this among compact rugged phones out there. Additionally, the phone runs on the eight-core Helio P90 processor that can blaze through tasks comfortably. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Armor 9 is sporting a 64MP +2MP +2MP triple rear camera layout while there’s an 8MP front camera for selfies and video calls.

However, the real highlight here is the inclusion of the FLIR thermal imaging sensor that adds an extra feature to your default camera and can be fairly useful in some circumstances. Users will get up to 128GB of internal storage (expandable) with this rugged phone which is complemented nicely by 8GB of RAM. The Ulefone Armor 9 also comes with a fingerprint scanner on the side, which can be used in lieu of face unlock.

This rugged phone also has MIL-STD-810G and IP68 certification that makes it one of the most durable devices out there. The manufacturer mentions that the phone comes with Android 10 out of the box, while there’s no word on the status of future updates. There’s a 6,600 mAh battery that should let you use this rugged smartphone for at least two days. Further, it also supports fast charging at up to 18W.

Buy it Now: Amazon


12. Blackview BV9100

This rugged phone is one of the best out there thanks to its mammoth 13,000 mAh battery underneath. However, this also means that it’s bulkier than most phones. This rugged handset has a 6.3-inch FHD+ display with a notch that houses the selfie camera. In terms of power, the Blackview BV9100 runs on the eight-core Helio P35 processor which is found on several midrange phones today.

Further, this rugged phone is also equipped with 64GB of storage (expandable) and 4GB of RAM. As with other rugged phones, this offering also comes with IP68/IP69K certification for water/dust resistance. There’s a fingerprint scanner for user authentication, though users can also utilize the selfie camera for this purpose. In the camera department, the Blackview BV9100 is packing a 16MP dual rear camera and is accompanied by a 16MP selfie camera as well.

As for the battery that we discussed above, it can be charged at up to 30W, allowing the device to fully recharge with 2.5 hours as per the manufacturer. The Blackview BV9100 runs Android 9.0 Pie by default with no word on future updates. The manufacturer offers this phone only in silver at the moment. This handset is unlocked and will work on GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

Buy it Now: Amazon


ProductBrandNamePrice
Samsung ElectronicsSamsung Galaxy Xcover PROCheck Price on Amazon
CAT PhoneCAT PHONES S61 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR camera.Check Price on Amazon
UlefoneUlefone Armor X5 Rugged Phones Unlocked, Android 10 Octa-core 3GB + 32GB ROMCheck Price on Amazon
OUKITELOUKITEL WP5 (2020) Rugged Smartphone, 8000mAh Battery IP68 Waterproof Android 10 UnlockedCheck Price on Amazon
BlackviewBlackview BV6300Pro (2020) Android 10 Rugged Cell PhonesCheck Price on Amazon

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17 thoughts on “12 Best Rugged Smartphones in 2020”

  1. Jesy j9s is waterproof phone, the smartphone looks very impressive, its functionality is also great, and for the average user, there will be more than enough.

  2. jesy j9s Camera has 16 megapixels with an external lens made of sapphire crystal. Also, it features an optical stabilization system.
    The front Camera comes with 8 megapixels. For the Quality of the Pictures, I have to say it is really good.

  3. These were great for its time; expensive but worth it… ruggeds were rare back then: by the way! Have you seen the agm line ? They remember me this one: but since they are way cheaper the first time that my agm a8 fell down from my pocket i almost got a heartatack … but it survived without a scratch 🙂 and now i am looking for the way to got myself a x1 18k gold edition

  4. Yeah… this title is click bait… shake on you especially since quotes are from winter.

    Anything android pre 5.0 is… oh yeah obsolete due to security issues.

  5. So sad people release phones and then never look at them again, support them, update them or keep their users secure.

    If just one (not stupidly priced) phone came out with the latest software (and not worrying about QHD, FHD is fine), I’d jump on it.

  6. my favourite ruggedphone is the agm x1 I have bought AGM x1 a month ago the and I have to say that I am very satisfied. The phone is perfect: incredibly durable and surprisingly powerful (I would have never said that, like you) and, a very important thing, that really makes me love this device, is the battery life!! 3 days by using it continuously (working on site the apps istalled by AGM are very useful and the quality photo are really important for the workers etc.). Only with long battery life, the outdoor smartphone can truly be “outside”. 5400 mAh massive battery, combined with power-efficiency Snapdragon SOC processor, provide exceptional performance for the phone. Deep custom Samsung Super AMOLED display allows for vivid colors but low power consumption at the same time. Say goodbye to short battery life. Then the customer service of the company is good despite being halfway around the world (agm is a Chinese firm), in English they told me that my X1 will be updated to Android 7.0. And i am waiting for Barcelona, i heard something about the agm x2… o_o I hope you update your list!!! 😉 tell me what do you think

  7. I’ve enjoyed my Casio G’zOne C811, but being stuck at Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.2) it is making itself obsolete. Why do these manufacturers not keep up with their OS updates?! It’s a great, tough phone, but without an updated OS, it is becoming increasingly disappointing to use.

  8. The Runbo Q5-S may according to reports be recalled by the manufacturer due to water leakage.

    The Runbo Q5-S may according to reports be recalled by the manufacturer due to water leakage. The Runbo Q5-S (Light) was the replacement to the old X5. The Runbo Q5-S (Light) has lower specifications than the old X5 and was thought an affordable alternative to the old X5 as Runbo original devices generally lean towards the higher end in the rugged smart phone offerings.

    However, if your are needing a rugged phone without the smarts then the Q5-S could have been an affordable answer as Runbo original devices are well known for their ruggedness and quality.

    Runbo Systems https://runbo.systems are offering a full refund on return of the Q5-S within 30 days of purchase for a full refund or a very attractive optional upgrade to the New Runbo Q5-D (4.5G). Courtesy The Web. Rugged-Phones…

  9. Hey, you can read press releases ! Good on ya!

    But seriously, have you tested any of these phones? Do you even know what your words mean? MIL-STD-810G is a meta-standard. Unless you specify which of the tests that are covered by 810G were run on each phone model, and what the outcome was, saying “810G approved” means exactly bupkiss. zilch. nada. In fact, some of the phones above are absolute crap as far as ruggedness is concerned.

    Sorry to be so negative, but I myself was taken in by the advertisement, only later to learn what those words mean – or don’t. Look for reviewers with real-life tests, not for people regurgitating corporate adverts.

  10. Hi and thanks for the blog. I just ordered my LAND ROVER A9+. I wonder if you forgot it or maybe ignored it’s existence , as it fits nicely in your above description. I have not tested it yet but i was hesitating for a long time btw it and the CAT b15Q. Both sound fishy as brand to me ( both brand well know to me in my everyday life ,but for cars and construction gear heheh) However considering the LRa9 has very similar specs but with better battery and camera AND is at half price i took my chance (despite the one step lower OS), with the letter. GOSH i must be a geek, even commenting here ;-))

    Regards, business mummy with tough babies =tough phones 🙂

  11. Now we are talking about a smartphone that I can get enthused about! The delicacy of most smartphones is why I have opted out of buying one and kept with an older model flip phone. I am way too hard on phones to buy one that is not specifically labeled as rugged.

  12. To be honest, I’d like to see a rugged smartphone featuring the premium specs of the Galaxy S5 or HTC One…it seems anything that is rugged gets downgraded quite a bit.

  13. I think the reason some of us get semi-cheap phones is because we all know they are going to be the same. We would rather spend the extra money on a harder case to help protect the phone. If both ranked at the same level of being tough we would stop wasting so much money on things we don’t need.

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