4 Finest Rugged Handsets of 2019

If you’re prone to dropping your smartphone or are an outdoors adventurer and need something reliable, then check out some of the top rugged handhelds to hit the market this year.

What Does Rugged Mean?

Rugged smartphones are both waterproof and dust-proof. These brilliant phones come in a shock-resistant case making them the ideal choice if you work outdoors. Also, if you’re into outdoor activities like climbing, hiking, and canoeing, then rugged smartphones were designed with you in mind.

Rest assured that top grade rugged smartphones have endured rigorous IP68 checks to make sure that they meet military-specified criteria to withstand shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, water (in measured environments) and dust.

It’s important to note that there is a difference between something being water-resistant and waterproof. Smartphones and smartwatches are usually water-resistant, meaning they can stop water from entering to some degree. Waterproof means something is impermeable to water no matter how long it is submerged, so this excludes many gadgets.

CAT S41 rugged smartphone
CAT S41 rugged smartphone. Photo via

You should also expect extra features from the best, rugged smartphones that make them stand out from their competitors, such as sound level meters, an infrared camera option, and volatile organic compound (VOC) detectors. VOCs are potentially harmful gases that are emitted into the air from products or processes.

Here are some models worth checking out if you’re looking for an answer to your ‘rugged’ requirements.

Cat S61 Rugged Smartphone

Possibly the ultimate rugged smartphone currently available is Bullitt Group’s flagship Cat S61. At 162 x 77 x 13mm with a weight of 259g, this Android 8.0 has an impressive 5.2-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, a 4500mAh battery, a 16MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera.

It also comes with a sensor to gauge the quality of indoor air that can measure humidity, temperature, and VOCs. The Cat has IP69, IP68, and mil-spec 810G rugged qualifications making it waterproof certified for up to 3 meters for an hour as well as sand, vibration, pressure, and salt mist resistant. It costs $824.97 on Amazon.

Cat S61 Smartphone – Hands On Review

Doogee S90 Rugged Smartphone

This go-getting Android 8.1 rugged smartphone is unique in that it offers a Lego-type modular design that lets you build the handset according to your needs. This makes it bulkier than other phones, but it has many plusses. The phone has a 6.18 inch 1080 pixel screen, 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, a
5050mAh battery, a rear and front camera, night vision camera capability, and more. It offers excellent value for money (price after Kickstarter will be $369.99) and impressive performance.

AGM X3 Rugged Smartphone

Established in 2008, AGM Group Ltd. envisioned its AGM as a smartphone made to endure and operate in the toughest of environments. Being shock-proof, water-proof, and dust-proof, it is now a pioneer of outdoor mobile phone devices. AGM’s newest rugged smartphone is the AGM X3. The military-grade smartphone features a 5.9 inch 1080 pixel screen, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, a rear, and a front camera, and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and a hefty 4,100mAh battery.

The phone is MIL-STF-810G certified – a guarantee against drops and bumps, it can survive temperatures of -25°C to 55°C, and has the complete IP68 warranty for dust and water resistance. With all this on board, you can still enjoy dual JBL speakers and wireless charging. The 6GB RAM model with internal storage of 64GB costs £560, while the 8GB version sells for £600.

AGM X3 hands-on preview

Zebra TC75x Rugged Smartphone

This phone has been called the Swiss army knife of rugged mobiles and if you look at the massive amount of features it comes with you’ll understand why. The Android phone is built like a tank and has a 4.7 inch 1280 x 720 pixels screen, superb battery life from a 4620mAh battery, is powered by Snapdragon 650, has 4GB/32GB, and a rear and front camera.

The phone is designed for the outdoor field workforce (it has both IP65 and IP67 certification), but also impresses with its plethora of accessories as well as enterprise-level applications and support putting it at the forefront of the rugged niche. As such, it has a hefty price tag at a suggested retail price of around $2,580.

Although the market for ruggedized smartphones is still relatively small, there are several notable ruggedized phones up for grabs – it all depends on what you’re looking for and, of course, how much you’re prepared to pay.

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