Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy

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.

Ulefone Armor 3T

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.

Kyocera DuraForce XD

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.

Cubot King Kong

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.

Kyocera Torque

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!

17 thoughts on “Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy”

  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 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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