If you are looking for a rugged phone, you can toss around in the mud and go to battle within the trenches, then continue below for our list of best rugged smartphone available. But if you don’t crawl around in the mud all day for a living, we would highly suggest the Cat S60 for everyday use.
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 wars, actual wars, without flinching.
Quad HD displays? How about unbreakable glass with just enough pixels to check the 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.
Bottom line, we want phones that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone would use in “Terminator 5” and “Rambo: Last Stand,” not toys for Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner to express their feelings for Kristen Stewart in “Twilight.” Luckily, a few such rough, robust, rugged models are around, and we picked seven we think might make even Machete reconsider his stance on texting.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
Up first on our list is the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active. Samsung’s flagship phones are typically pretty fragile, usually featuring a glass back and a pretty fragile screen. That said, Samsung adapted one of their flagship phones into a rugged packed, calling it the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active.
It comes with a lot of the same specifications that are in the Galaxy S8, but in a rugged package — a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display, a 12-megapixel camera, and even the Snapdragon 835 processor. It’s got a big battery, and wireless charging abilities, too.
This rugged beast is something that you can’t go wrong with. CAT has attempted to create a high-end smartphone here for those that want top hardware in a phone body that can withstand the perils of construction sites and hard environments. Of course, it’s water protected for dunks of up to 60 minutes in 3 meters deep rivers, lakes, whatever. And reportedly, impossible to break.
So, it can withstand hard environments thanks to its military-grade protection, but how about hardware and software? It features a pretty lovely Qualcomm octa-core processor, and a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD screen that brings media to life. It has a laser for helping measure distances and even a thermal camera. The camera is 16-megapixels, and can also be used underwater. Oh, and the best part? Despite this being a rugged “construction” phone, it’s still running Android Oreo.
You’re probably all familiar with IP58 and IP67 certifications since the Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 brought them to the mainstream, but the rugged CAT S60 adds MIL-STD-810G credentials in the mix. What does that mean exactly? Well, this bad boy ain’t just shielded against accidental water immersions, it can also take a beating, as well as handle solar radiation, thermal shock, humidity, vibration, you name it. CAT says it can withstand a drop of a whopping 1.8 meters.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say it will take a bullet for you, but you can use it in the desert, at the North Pole, when it rains, you can punch it (though why would you?), drop it whenever wherever. On-board software? It ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow but should have an update down the line as well. Hardware specs? A 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 pix res panel, and some pretty good hardware. There’s even a 13-megapixel camera that can function underwater.
There’s a 5.7-inch screen inside, walkie talkie capabilities, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage space, and a fast processor. The screen is probably the most impressive here, as you don’t often see an 18:9 aspect ratio with a 2,160 x 1080 Full HD resolution in a rugged beast like this.
It’s also dust-tight, waterproof, plus MIL-STD-810G certified, just like the CAT phones. It sits in the mid-range as far as hardware goes, but has a massive battery at a whopping 10,300mAh. This thing will last for days on a single charge. Not only that, but it’s featuring Android 8.1, which is something you don’t often see in rugged phones.
Did anyone say perfection? Ahem, meet Kyocera’s DuraForce XD. A striking, robust, muscular, hunky yet also stylish phone, the nearly 6-inch phone is a near flawless blend of physical strength and high-performing Android-backed hardware.
The LTE-enabled hunk is sheltered against 4-feet drops, 30-minutes 1.5m depth water dunks, rain, heavy dust, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, ultra-low pressure, temperatures as high as 85° C and as low as -25°. Bottom line, it’s virtually indestructible.
Oh, yes, and it features some hefty hardware inside, keeping things running snappy. It has a big battery as well, which will keep you running all day long.
This little survivor resembles the Cubot King Kong substantially, pretty much withstanding the same “pressures” with similar grace and supporting 4G LTE.
Technically, it can endure shorter, more “casual” swims than some of its rivals. However, there are some notable features inside, like a big battery, good screen, Android 7.0, and even Dual SIM capabilities.
If you’re looking for a rugged phone that can handle calling and texting with a little smart functionality thrown in, the Kyocera Toreque is the simplicity you need. Extreme is Torque’s middle name, yet another gadget that meets military standards for everything from dust to transport shock, high or low temperatures, solar radiation, among others. Where the Torque truly impresses, however, is in battery life, packing a ginormous 2,500 mAh juicer whose autonomy is way beyond those of Android “flagship” devices. Think 20 hours in continuous talk time, and possibly up to a week in normal use.
What say you, action movie aficionados/outdoorsy tech geeks? Is any of the above your ideal war comrade? Have any other suggestions? Would you have maybe ranked our top smartphones in a different order? Let us know your ideas in the comments, and any suggestions might be added to our list in the future!