Archives for

Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro

Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy (2019 update)

If you are looking for a rugged phone you can toss around in the mud and go to battle with in the trenches, then continue below for our top 7 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 or the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active as the most rugged smartphone for everyday use.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CAT PHONESCAT PHONES S60 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR cameraBuy on Amazon|$484.46(Price as of 02/22/2019 06:31 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Made by the same company that makes industrial heavy equipment, Caterpillar also has a phone division that makes rugged phones.  Their latest phone, the Cat S60, was released in June of 2016, so it has most of the modern technologies you would look for in a smartphone, and combine it with the rugged protection, this just might be the perfect and best rugged smartphone available today.  It comes with a 3GB RAM, huge 3800mAh battery, 13MP camera, IP68 certified for waterproofing, running Android 6.0.

Galaxy S7 Active should handle most of the daily mishaps you may entercounter.  It is built with shatter-resistant screen, rated the highest possible IP68 for water and dust protection, and comes with a huge 4,000 mAh battery to get you through the day.

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.

Bruce Willis phone

Bona fide 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, tough, rugged models are around, and we picked seven we think might make even Machete reconsider his stance on texting.

rugged phone

Before getting to it, we’d like to underline the “magnificent seven” was selected based on a number of criteria. Of course, the exact grade of toughness carried the most weight (sorry, Galaxy S5), but we also looked for hardware specifications from this century, relatively new software, quality-price ratio (not even Rambo’s budget is unlimited), decent design (you can’t walk around with a brick in your pocket), and finally reliable, more or less well-known mobile brands. Here we go:

7. Runbo X6

Not only does this ruggedized beast’s name have an awesome ring to it (Runbo, Rambo, get it?), but it’s also water protected for dunks of up to 30 minutes in 2 meters deep rivers, lakes, whatever. And reportedly, impossible to break unless, I don’t know, a sniper has it out for you. Plus, get this, it doubles as a walkie talkie with a 5 km range. Why would you ever need a walkie talkie? Beats me, but it sounds oh so kewl.

Runbo X5

Any downsides to the Runbo X6? You bet. For one thing, it comes from a no-name Chinese OEM. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (2011 called…), packs a modest dual-core 1 GHz chip, and the 4.3-inch screen is cringe worthy, with 800 x 480 pixels resolution. On top of it all, it’s a little on the expensive side of things, at $400 via Amazon.

6. CATERPILLAR CAT B15

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 B15 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 B15

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. Price? A measly $370. On-board software? Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Hardware specs? That’s its Achilles’ heel, as it sports a 4-inch 800 x 480 pix res panel, dual-core 1 GHz SoC and 512 MB RAM.

5. NEC Terrain

Yes, the design is a violent blast from the past. I mean, I was under the impression candybars were outlawed in certain parts of the world years ago. Jokes aside, the Terrain is sure ugly, but it has one very important thing going for it. It’s cheap. $79.99 outright through Amazon, or $100 with AT&T contracts.

NEC Terrain

It’s also dust tight, water proof, plus MIL-STD-810G certified, just like the B15. Bottom line, if you’re on an (extremely) tight budget, this is your guy. Just maybe don’t ask a lot of questions about screen resolution, pre-loaded software, or cameras.

4. Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro

Looky here, an MIL-STD-810G-approved rugged handheld from the world’s most popular mobile phone maker. And affordable too, at least with AT&T pacts: $20. Off-contract, it’s a preposterous $450, albeit you can find refurb or used units at less than half the price.

Galaxy Rugby Pro

Aside from resisting shocks, water and so on and so forth, the Rugby Pro offers 4G LTE connectivity (nice), a punchy dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 chip, and 1 GB RAM. Too bad it’s still on Ice Cream Sandwich.

3. Kyocera Hydro XTRM

This little survivor resembles the Galaxy Rugby Pro greatly, pretty much withstanding the same “pressures” with similar grace and supporting 4G LTE. But it’s so much cheaper, at $50 (yes, fifty bucks) free of contract restrictions via MetroPCS. Plus, it’s on Jelly Bean.

Kyocera Hydro XTRM

Drawbacks? Technically, it can endure shorter, more “casual” swims than some of its rivals, including the #2 on our rankings. It’s also extra prone to cracking if you drop it from higher than, say, your hip. The battery isn’t ideal either, and the 4 GB internal storage almost pitiful.

2. Kyocera Torque

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, etc., etc. 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 average use.

kyocera-torque

Available with Sprint contracts starting at a penny, the Kyocera Torque is no catwalk supermodel, weighing in at close to 170 grams and being way too curvy for my own personal taste. It’s also stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich. So close to perfection, Kyocera, so damn close.

1. Casio G’Zone Commando 4G LTE

Did anyone say perfection? Ahem, meet Verizon’s Commando. A striking, robust, muscular, hunky yet also stylish phone, the 4 incher is a near flawless blend of physical strength and high-performing Android-backed hardware.

Since Verizon eliminated the contracts, you would need to buy this phone outright, which is going for $499.99 currently on Amazon.  The LTE-enabled hunk is sheltered against 4-feet drops, 30-minutes 1 m 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.

GzOne-Commando-LTE

Oh, yes, and it features a snappy 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB built-in storage, 8 MP rear-facing camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, so it’s really the best of both worlds.

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 seven differently? Let your voices be heard.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CAT PHONESCAT PHONES S60 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR cameraBuy on Amazon|$484.46(Price as of 02/22/2019 06:31 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy – Updated for October 2014

Alright, manly men, hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, war seekers, iPhone haters and, last but not least, Android lovers. We’re back with a new set of rugged gear recommendations. We’ve just tackled the best, most durable tablets around, so this time, we’ll shine the spotlight on some of the toughest smartphones in the world.

Bruce Willis phone

Better put, we’ll shine it back, as, believe it or not, a lot has changed in the world of John McClane-friendly Android handhelds these past months. Specifically, four brand new contenders want to bid for the heavyweight title in robustness, pushing out of our top seven four aging heroes.

Farewell, Kyocera Torque, our silver medalist from back March, bye-bye, Hydro XTRM, CAT B15 and Runbo X5. We wish we got to know you better. But there’s no time for nostalgia. Without further ado, we’ll sink our teeth in the rookie quartet, then evaluating the wow factor and vigor of our veteran trio.

Army phone

For the record, we haven’t ordered the list this time around, as we didn’t feel comfortable directly pitting two-year-olds against gadgets literally just launched. Here’s the magnificent seven ergo, in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active – $150 with AT&T contracts, $660 outright

Okay, so the S5 Active isn’t exactly the sturdiest of the bunch. As Pocket Now put it in their review, it’s not “everything-proof”. But it is really your only flagship rugged option. Flagship through and through, that is, with not just a muscular exterior.

There’s brawn under the hood too, courtesy of a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2 GB RAM, and the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display is extremely sharp, at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, aka Full HD resolution.

Galaxy S5 Active

Available exclusively on AT&T, the GS5 Active is perfect for Android power users who spend a fair amount of time outside, but don’t intend on starting a war anytime soon. Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes, the camo green or titanium gray-coated device is also theoretically protected against vibration, solar radiation, dirt, humidity or thermal shock.

Kyocera Brigadier – $100 with Verizon pacts, $400 outright

Considerably cheaper than the S5 Active, both on and off-contract, the Brigadier is the exact opposite of Samsung’s top-shelf rugged effort in almost every way. It’s nowhere near as zippy, the spec sheet on the whole is mediocre, but it’s virtually indestructible.

Kyocera Brigadier

And it definitely looks the part, tipping the scales at 187 grams and measuring 13.2 mm thick. That’s 17 grams and over 4 mm more than the S5 Active, even though this is a 4.5 incher.

But did we mention exactly how unbreakable the Brigadier is? Phandroid’s abuse compilation video, embedded below, speaks volumes to that. Spoiler alert: these torturing guys dunk the chunky phone in various liquid-containing objects, toilet bowl included, drop it… repeatedly, throw rocks on it, let a dog lick it (?!), knife it and try to blend it, and the 4.5 incher escapes without a single scratch.

But, but, but how does one kill it in a rise-of-the-machines scenario?

CAT S50 – $600 factory unlocked

Standard drop test? You’ll have to do better than that to harm a single hair on CAT S50’s head, as this Terminator candidate can bounce back after hard contacts with concrete from heights of up to 1.8 meters.

Almost exactly as fat as the Brigadier, and 2 grams lighter, the S50 does offer a bit of extra screen real estate. 4.7 inches in total, with 720p resolution. Also, a decent quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and, get this, 2 GB RAM.

CAT S50

On the not so bright side of things, the rubberized corner-sporting device is bizarrely rated on-par with the S5 Active for water and dust resistance. IP67 certification is clearly not enough to justify the extravagant price tag, so it’s perhaps wiser to hold off for discounts. They’re definitely coming.

Kyocera Torque XT – $50 with Sprint service agreements

Well, well, well, what do we have here? A slightly tweaked version of the OG Kyocera Torque, available, like its predecessor, squarely on Sprint. Just as robust and unflinching in the face of danger as the original, the Torque XT offers 20 GB internal storage space (say what?), and improved battery life.

Also, pre-installed Android 4.4 KitKat software goodies. And sure, it’s disappointing to see it pack dual-core processing power and tout a sub-par 4-inch WVGA panel, but that’s perhaps for the best.

kyocera-torque-xt

If Kyocera were to increase screen resolution and size, they’d need to adapt with a different design and possibly mess the perfect indestructibility of the MIL-STD-810G-compliant Torque. There’s also the question of unrivaled pricing.

And if you want to save an extra buck or two, the OG Torque can be had at a penny with contracts, and $107 outright.

Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro – $1 with AT&T pacts; $200 unlocked

The first of our three veterans still standing is a classic. It almost needs no introduction, and right now it’s mighty affordable. For crying out loud, it’s dropped a whopping $250 outright in six months. Remember, the Rugby Pro continues to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (damn it, Sammy), and handle anything you throw at it, from dust to rain to solar radiation to thermal shock.

Galaxy Rugby Pro

NEC Terrain – $85 unlocked

This retro Alpha male wasn’t treated with the same discounts as the Rugby Pro, chiefly because it was dirt-cheap right off the bat. And it’s dirt-cheap these days too, plus it’s the only rugged smartphone aimed at elders.

NEC Terrain

Or just text messaging nuts who can’t wrap their heads around touchscreens and on-screen keyboards. IP67 certified for short, shallow water immersions, the Terrain of course adheres to military standards, and is thus usable on any sort of terrain, wink, wink.

Casio G’Zone Commando 4G LTE – $300, no contracts needed

The key selling point of Verizon’s latest G’Zone Commando? It’s in the name of the gizmo. 4G LTE connectivity, which is a pretty big deal at $300. Of course, the technically discontinued 4 incher cuts a number of corners in various areas, such as screen resolution (800 x 480), processing power (dual-core 1.5 GHz), or battery capacity (1,800 mAh).

Casio GZone Commando 4G LTE

Not camera performance, though, as an 8 megapixel sensor is fairly neat for this price range, and certainly not rugged features. You have water resistance, a shock and drop shield, incredible opposition to extreme temperatures, the whole nine yards.

That’s a wrap, gentlemen and… gentlemen, and now it’s time to take your pick. Will you go for affordability, power and good looks or maybe a retro feel in your hands? Let us know in the comments section below, and feel free to add any other rugged contenders we may have forgotten to mention. Let’s see some teamwork, mmkay?

AT&T Galaxy Rugby Pro Jelly Bean OTA Now Available

AT&T subscribers who own the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro will be pleased to know that the carrier has already rolled out a software update that will upgrade the current operating system to Android Jelly Bean. This tough smartphone was made available by the network last October for just $99.

samsung-galaxy-rugby-pro

Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro Technical Specifications

  • 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display (480 x 800)
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processor
  • Android 4.0 (ICS)
  • 4G LTE smartphone
  • Built to military specifications (810g)
  • Waterproof, shock resistant and dust proof
  • Submersible in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes
  • 5-megapixel rear-facing camera
  • Front-facing camera
  • Video recording in 720p
  • 1850 mAh battery
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Full device encryption
  • EAS corporate email support
  • Enhanced push-to-talk functionality

The update brings several enhancements to the device which includes

  • Camera enhancements – availability of new filters
  • Pop Up Play update –  resize or pause the Pop Up Play picture-in-picture video window
  • Easy mode – designed for new smartphone users
  • Blocking mode – disable notifications at a set time
  • Improved usability – new keyboard options

Before you update your device make sure that it is fully charged. It is also important to backup all your important data (photos, music, documents) as well as network settings just in case you will need it.

There are two methods in getting the update either through Wi-Fi or through your computer.

Wi-Fi method

The Wi-Fi or otherwise known as the Over-The-Air (OTA) is an update that will need a Wi-Fi connection. You will be able to manually update the device by going through Settings > About device > Software update. As soon as the update has finished you will be prompted to restart your device. A confirmation message will also appear stating that your device has been successfully updated to Jelly Bean.

Computer Method

In this method you will need to have the latest Kies software of Samsung installed in your computer. Run the Kies software and plug in your device through the USB port of your computer. The software will automatically prompt you that a new update is available. Just follow the instructions on the screen. It’s going to take around 10-15 minutes for this to finish. Make sure not to disrupt the update process since this may leave your device inoperable.

One it is finished you can verify if the process was successful by going to Settings> About phone and check if this matches

  • Android version: 4.1.1
  • Baseband version: I547UCBLL1
  • Build number: JRO03L.I547UCBLL1

via att

A Closer Look at AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro

Earlier this month, I highlighted Casio’s G’zOne TYPE-L Military Standard Ruggedized Android Smartphone here whose main selling point will be resistance to scratches, dropping and other potential dangers to a phone’s health such as dust, moisture and water.  I wrote about how the phone would win over a group of users who want a mid-range android phone that can take abuse better than what is already in the market and how it was the only one of that kind at the time.

Well, now, I am happy to know that the Samsung Rugby Pro, which is available on AT&T, is also designed for the clumsy and for those who like to hike and ride dirt bikes with their phones in their pockets.  The Rugby Pro is a tough phone designed to withstand general rigors of daily use and other destructive elements.  Note though that this doesn’t mean you can run over it with your car and expect it to keep working; it is may not be that durable.

Build quality

Compared to other smartphones, the Rugby pro is a little thicker and looks sturdier than most other phones Samsung have released of late, but for a good reason.  It is still a very attractive handset though and one may not tell that it is actually rugged in design and build quality from the first look.  Other phones with similar screen sizes and features are certainly thinner than this but it certainly is not a phone you would be embarrassed to pull out in public.

Samsung put a lot of emphasis on the build quality of the Rugby pro.  Its sturdiness and thickness does not reflect in its weight though as it weighs only 159 g (4.6 oz). but measures 128 x 67 x 12.7 mm (5.04 x 2.64 x 0.5 inches).  I haven’t seen any disassembly of the phone to know just how thick the casing is or what protective material it is padded with but it has to be a strong yet light material.  The phone is MIL-STD-810G certified and is supposed to resist moisture, dust, salt, shock, vibration, water and other potentially harmful elements.

Specs

The Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro may pass as a high end phone based on its specs which include a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor with an Adreno 305 GPU, a 4 inch WVGA Super AMOLED screen and 1 GB RAM.  Most rugged phones often come with pitifully low end specs, but this one targets users who need power but still want a device that is durable enough for outdoor use.

The screen has a resolution of 480 x 800 and supports up to 16 million colors, there is 8 GB of onboard memory of which 5 GB is available for the user to store music, videos and pictures and other personal files and a microSD card slot that allows for external memory expansion up to 32 GB.  The memory card slot though is hidden under the memory cover, which is a little different from the tradition slot on the side but I think it is because having holes on the side could allow dust, moisture and water into the device.

The phone packs two cameras; a front 1.3 megapixels camera for video calls and a rear 5 megapixels camera that can take 1080p high definition videos.  Like all other smartphones, Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro supports 2G GSM and 3G HSDPA networks as well as 4G LTE.  It uses a mini-SIM card and supports other connectivity capabilities including Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB, WiFi, NFC and GPS.

Core Specs

Processor: 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 Krait with Adreno 305 GPU

Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Memory: 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Onboard memory, with microSD card slot up to 32GB

Display: 4.0 inch 480 x 800 pixels Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with ~233 ppi pixel density

Cameras: 1.3 megapixel front and 5 megapixel rear cameras

Connectivity: GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, microUSB

Battery: 1850 mAh