The Best Rugged Smartphones of 2020

Everyone knows the terrifying feeling of dropping your telephone face down on the concrete, and that temporary second between dropping it and choosing it up the place you pray that your display isn’t cracked. The fragile nature of our principally glass and more and more costlier smartphones is the bane of the trendy tech-addicted existence, and whereas in the present day’s telephones are a bit extra resistant to break, they’re nonetheless removed from indestructible.

Over time, smartphones have gotten extra water resistant, and for most individuals, a protecting case is all they’ll ever want. However a case and a few water resistance aren’t sufficient for individuals who work in development or engineering and wish one thing that may survive rain, mud, and the occasional fall onto laborious supplies.

We’ve scoured the web to seek out the whole lot from a telephone developed by a development firm to a flip telephone that may cling with the most effective of them. These are the most effective rugged telephones available on the market. Understand that not all of those telephones may match on your service, however there are methods to repair that.

cat s61 laying on rock
Simon Hill/Digital Traits

Who higher to produce your rugged telephone than an organization recognized for making development automobiles and different gear? The Cat S61 is the hardest in a collection of robust telephones from Cat, and as you would possibly count on, it comes with the most recent instruments to make life simpler for anybody who wants a dependable telephone for the hardest working circumstances. They’re continually innovating with new merchandise quickly to hit the market.

However earlier than we get to that, allow us to guarantee you that this telephone is hard. It’s constructed from a mix of thick aluminum and black plastic, giving the telephone an ideal vary of resistances, and making it supremely sturdy. It’s IP68 and IP69Ok rated, so it could possibly survive being immersed in water for as much as an hour and is immune to high-pressure water jets, and it could possibly resist drops as much as 1.Eight meters onto concrete. The 5.2-inch display shows a 1920 x 1080-pixel decision, and it may be used with moist fingers and with gloves on — although there are additionally navigation keys under the display simply in case.

The telephone’s efficiency is common and it comes with 64GB of storage, however what actually units the Cat S61 aside is the huge vary of instruments you gained’t discover anyplace else. The built-in Flir digital camera offers the telephone Predator-esque thermal imaginative and prescient, helpful for locating sizzling water pipes, inside swelling, or individuals hiding in bushes. There’s additionally a built-in laser measurement software, which permits for fast measurements of distances, and an air high quality sensor which helps you to know when the air high quality within the surrounding area has dropped to harmful ranges. Rounding all this up is a Four,500mAh battery that has the potential to final for 2 days.

All of those instruments are unlikely to be helpful to most individuals however must be invaluable for anybody who requires them of their day-to-day. Nevertheless, the Cat S61 is priced to match its vary of instruments, and it’ll set you again a cool $729. Nonetheless, if you would like an exceptionally robust telephone with some superb instruments, look no additional.


land rover explore with battery

If the Cat S61 is the rugged telephone for contractors and different related professions, the Land Rover Discover is the final word rugged telephone for the nice outdoor. It’s super-tough, coming with IP68 rated water-resistance, a sturdy construct, and the safety of Gorilla Glass 5 and a glass display protector on the 5-inch show. The show runs a Full HD 1920 x 1080-pixel decision with midrange specs, and it ran Android Nougat out of the field, however has since been up to date to Android Eight.1 Oreo.

The true allure of the Land Rover Discover is within the particulars. Whereas it boasts an already hefty Four,000mAh battery, the Discover comes with modular choices together with the Journey Pack, an extra battery pack that provides one other three,600mAh and a Ceramic Patch GPS antenna. That further antenna boosts the telephone’s GPS capabilities, ensuring you at all times know the place you’re, even in probably the most difficult areas. The additional GPS functionality attracts much more energy, however the further battery is greater than as much as the duty, and we noticed the Land Rover Discover nonetheless final a day regardless of a persistent GPS connection and near-constant display use.

The ViewRanger app additionally contains further instruments for climbing and biking, displaying a compass, barometric information, distance traveled, and different particulars relying in your exercise. The Land Rover Discover is supposed for individuals who like to vary into the wilderness, and who need their telephone to be an enormous a part of their adventures. It’s robust, dependable, and supremely well-suited to life outdoor. The catch? It’s presently solely obtainable in the UK and would require importing to the U.S. Whereas the telephone was once far pricier, it’s presently being offered for ~$320 USD. Nonetheless, for a life spent loving the nice outdoor, there’s no higher possibility than the Land Rover Discover.

Land Rover

Cat S48c
Simon Hill/Digital Traits

The Cat S61 isn’t the one Cat telephone up for taking a tumble by way of some harsh environments. The Cat S48c comes at a decrease $500 value level — which is ideal if the $700+ tag on the S61 is a bit an excessive amount of.

Fortunately, Cat has solely stripped out a number of the extra outlandish parts from the S61 to slash down the worth, so the protecting qualities are untouched. That is very a lot a rugged telephone, with a tricky rubberized physique and a hefty weight of 248 grams. Protecting flaps cowl every port and raised edges shield the display from surfaces. An IP68-rating means it could possibly address drops into water with few points, and the MIL-SPEC 810G and Non-Incendive Class1 Div2 certification imply the S48c can take a number of drops onto concrete and resist excessive temperature adjustments. There’s a customizable Push-To-Speak (PTT) button on the aspect, a 5-inch IPS LCD show protected by Gorilla Glass 5 that can be utilized with moist or gloved fingers, and bodily buttons on the backside.

The low value reveals within the inside although, and whereas the Snapdragon 630 is greater than sufficient for many every day duties it’ll wrestle to maintain up with different telephones on this value bracket. Nevertheless, we had no points throughout use and it even ran Asphalt 9 pretty effectively. Any points you’ve got will most likely be offset by the large Four,000mAh battery that lasted for at the least two days throughout our assessments. The digital camera is — as anticipated — considerably disappointing. However it should take ok footage in sturdy lighting, and it takes underwater images too.

However the value is a critical draw. The Cat S48c is on the market from Dash for simply $480 (plus tax), or $20 monthly for 18 months on Dash’s Flex Lease possibility. The Cat S48c can also be obtainable from Verizon for $499.

Cat Sprint Verizon

Unihertz Atom Review
Mark Jansen/Digital Traits

Small and strong, the Unihertz Atom is a tiny titan that ought to serve you effectively in a wide range of conditions. It’s a small telephone, with the display measuring in at a teensy 2.Four-inches — for comparability, the iPhone X has a 5.Eight-inch display — and the physique isn’t a lot larger. Chunky bezels encompass the show, and also you’ll discover a robust TPU-style materials encasing the physique of the telephone, some pink accents for added model, and full IP68 waterproofing. It’s actually not fashionable, nevertheless it appears to be like and looks like a tank.

Regardless of the small measurement, it doesn’t skimp on energy. There’s an octa-core processor inside, together with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Android Eight.1 Oreo. It proved highly effective in our evaluation, holding its personal in opposition to a number of the greatest midrange telephones on this planet proper now, just like the Moto G6. It comes with a ton of mod cons too, like a fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, and assist for NFC card funds.

It’s not good — the digital camera is unreliable, and the small show makes typing a nightmare — however due to the modest specs, the battery lasts a lifetime, and you’ll count on to get days out of this little machine. With sturdy waterproofing, a sturdy physique, and loads of stamina, the Unihertz Atom is constructed to outlive constructing websites, lengthy hikes, and bike rides.

Following a profitable Kickstarter campaign, the Unihertz Atom is now obtainable from Unihertz’s website for $260, or Amazon.


Mark Jansen/Digital Traits

Little-known model Doogee has cranked out a substantial variety of rugged smartphones over time, so that you’d count on it could be capable of do an excellent job. That’s actually the case, and the Doogee S90 is a succesful rugged telephone — nevertheless it’s the magnetic Moto Mod-style modules that make it actually stand out from the gang.

Preliminary impressions present it is a severely rugged machine. It’s extraordinarily heavy at 300 grams, and the titanium alloy construct, backed up with a rubberized physique, offers critical safety. It boasts IP68 and IP69Ok water resistance, has protecting port covers, and the large 6.18-inch LCD notched show runs a 2246 x 1080-pixel decision. The efficiency is strong and makes use of Mediatek’s Helio P60 processor effectively. You gained’t be taking part in the most recent video games right here, however Alto’s Odyssey ran easily. An impressively massive 5,050mAh battery offers a number of days of battery life on a single cost.

However the meat of the telephone is within the add-ons. Some are a bit area of interest — the gamepad and the night time imaginative and prescient digital camera fall neatly into this class — however we will see some individuals being within the walkie talkie module that turns the telephone right into a full-fledged walkie talkie. The one everybody will need, although, is the battery module. Including 5,000mAh of additional energy, this module principally doubles the telephone’s battery life. We reckon you might simply take this telephone out for longer than a weekend on a single cost and it could most likely be alright — and there can be some individuals who will adore that concept.

The Doogee S90 is on the market for $279 from Doogee’s website.


LG Venture X phone
Adam Ismail/Digital Traits

It may be robust to discover a rugged smartphone that doesn’t break the financial institution, however the LG X Enterprise is without doubt one of the few robust telephones you can decide up for a discount value. It’s rugged, with an easy-to-grip textured again that gained’t slip out of your hand unexpectedly. The lower cost doesn’t have an effect on the construct high quality — the telephone feels extraordinarily strong and comes with an IP68-rating for water and dirt resistance, in addition to military-grade (MIL-STD810G) shock resistance.

It’s not probably the most highly effective telephone on this lineup, it’s possible you’ll discover some points with velocity and apps taking longer to load than traditional, and Android Nougat is now very dated. However it comes with a succesful digital camera that supplied good efficiency in our evaluation, and a very monumental Four,100mAh battery that ought to preserve your telephone going for a very long time, which is particularly helpful for those who’re away from the charger for some time.

It’s not probably the most highly effective telephone on this checklist, nevertheless it’s packed to the brim with helpful options, together with the bodily QuickButton on the aspect, and a toggleable Glove Mode. It’s a long-lasting telephone that gained’t break the financial institution.


No, your eyes don’t deceive you — that’s a flip telephone up there. However actually, a telephone that curves up right into a clamshell to guard its most weak components does make sense as the premise of a rugged telephone, and Kyocera has constructed up from there to create the delightfully retro-rugged DuraXE.

However first, there’s an admission to be made. This put up could also be known as “the most effective rugged SMARTphones,” however this isn’t a smartphone. You gained’t discover Android on right here, and the proprietary OS isn’t even touch-capable. However regardless of that, that is nonetheless a really effectively protected little telephone that’s good for you for those who simply want one thing small however robust that’ll preserve you in contact. It’s rated at IP68 for water and dust-resistance, and the drop safety has been examined as much as Navy Normal 810G. There’s even a programmable aspect key for simple entry to required apps.

So it gained’t play Indignant Birds, and also you gained’t take unbelievable footage with the 5-megapixel digital camera lens — however with a 1,500mAh battery that Kyocera claims will final on standby for as much as 16 days, this could possibly be all of the telephone you want for lengthy journeys out. It’s solely obtainable on AT&T, however Kyocera has a protracted checklist of handsets for other carriers.


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