10 Best Rugged Android Smartphones
Rugged Android phones are creating a revolutionary change in the rugged arena. According to a report published by Bullitt Group Research, “Up to 34% of consumers in Western Europe experience damage to their phones.” This means that a lot of people have a poor product experience because of damage.
To reduce costs and improve the quality of services, many businesses that require workers in the field are using Rugged Phones. In this article, we have put together a wide list of devices that offer superior functions but also extreme durability. So which is the best rugged phone?
Understanding Rugged Android
Rugged devices are designed to withstand harsh environments and rugged usage. These tablets are built with reinforced exteriors and durable materials, making them resistant to water, dust, drops, and other types of damage. They also typically have longer battery life and brighter screens than consumer-grade tablets, allowing them to be used in bright sunlight and outdoor environments. These features make the best rugged phones popular in industries such as construction, manufacturing, logistics, and field service, where employees need reliable and durable devices that can withstand daily wear and tear. The best rugged phones come in a variety of sizes and styles, including those with detachable keyboards or integrated barcode scanners, allowing them to be customized to specific industry needs.
What To Look For in Rugged Phones
When searching for the best rugged phone, it is important to look for features that ensure an extremely durable design. For instance, you want a device that can withstand accidental water damage, dust resistance, and accidental drops. Drop protection testing is also an important consideration since it indicates how well the phone can withstand impact and bumps. You should also check if the phone has a huge battery that can last for an extended period, allowing you to remain connected even when working remotely.
Another key factor to consider when choosing for the best rugged phone is the availability of expandable storage. This feature allows you to store more data, including documents, photos, and videos, without worrying about running out of space. High IP ratings are also crucial in rugged smartphones. These ratings indicate the degree of protection that the device offers against water and dust. Therefore, it is essential to choose a phone with a high IP rating to ensure its durability and longevity in harsh environments. Some phones with carry the Mil Std 810h further assuring its durability. By considering these features, you can choose a rugged phone that meets your needs and can withstand tough conditions.
Industries that Can Benefit from A Rugged Smartphone
Almost every industry can benefit when using rugged phones. Android is considered the top operating system in the world. When combined with rugged hardware, it can support a variety of tasks from the most demanding industries like mining, construction, warehouse management, delivery, healthcare, and more.
Thanks to the flexibility and user-friendliness of an Android operating system, it allows any team member to seamlessly use it while at work.
The list that we put together is some of the best rugged phones in the market this 2020 that run on Android.
Quick Peek At The Best Rugged Smartphones of 2020:
- Cat S61 rugged smartphone
- Conker ST60 – 6″ Rugged Android Smartphone
- Land Rover Explore rugged smartphone
- Ulefone Armor 7 rugged smartphone
- Unihertz Atom XL rugged smartphone
- Doogee S95 Pro rugged smartphone
- Blackview BV9500 Pro rugged smartphone
- Doogee S90 rugged smartphone
- AGM X3 rugged smartphone
- Elephone Soldier rugged smartphone
1. Cat S61 rugged smartphone
OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo) | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Screen size: 5.2-inch | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4500mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP | CPU: Snapdragon 630
➕ The only smartphone with an IP69 rating on our list
➕ Dual SIM
➖ More on the expensive side
➖ Only Android 8.0
For quite a while, the Cat S61 rugged smartphone held the title of being the best-rugged smartphone that you can buy. Don’t get us wrong, we still highly recommend this rugged smartphone even if it is already getting dated.
By being the only rugged smartphone with an IP69 rating on our list, it surely can take on the rest of the competition.
Combined with its unique features such as its laser-assisted distance measurement tool, indoor air quality sensor, and its surprisingly robust polycarbonate and rubber exterior, it is no wonder that it has been previously regarded as one of the best rugged Android smartphones.
2. Conker SX50 – 5″ Rugged Smartphone
➕ Latest Android 10 OS & security update
➕ Just the right 5 Inch Display
➕ Push-to-talk button
➖ No Front Camera
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 5″ display | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Mediatek Helio P23 (MT6763) 2.0GHz Octa-core CPU | RAM: 4GB RAM | Storage: 64GB SSD | Battery: 4000 mAH | Rear camera: 8MP
Second, on our list of the Best Rugged Android Smartphones of 2020, we proudly listed the Conker SX50. This smartphone not only boasts a rugged and durable exterior but also offers an outstanding set of features.
The flagship rugged device from Conker offers a bright and clear display. Having a clear and bright display is very important as it improves the way you see your screen in daylight. The Conker Sx50 comes has an IP67 rating which means it is waterproof up to 3 meters, dustproof, sand, and dirt resistant.
Another notable feature of the Conker Sx50 is its dedicated button for its PPT or Push-to-Talk function allows you to seamlessly communicate with other smartphone users just like two-way radio or commonly known as a walkie-talkie. It is made mainly with the operations of a business in mind, making it the top rugged Android phone on this list.
In 2023, Conker also launched the Conker SX5L. This is for businesses who requires long range barcode scanning with their rugged android phone. The SX5L is one of the best rugged android phones in the industry as it gives the ultimate flexibility for your employees.
3. Land Rover Explore
➕ Screen Resolution
➕ Decacore Processor
➖ Low Storage
➖ Outdated Android OS
➖ Small Screen
OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5″ TFT FHD | Battery: 4,000mAh | Resolution: 1920×1080 | CPU: Deca Core 2. 6GHz 64 Bit MTK Helio X27 | RAM: 4GB RAM | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP | Storage: 64GB ROM
Yes, the Land Rover Explore comes from the same company that manufactures cars and SUVs. The brand manufactured their first Land Rover smartphone way back in 2009 and has slowly improved their smartphone lineup.
The Land Rover Explore has been proven to survive drops up to 1.8m and is IP68 certified. It can be submerged up to 1.5m for 30 minutes on fresh and saltwater. The screen on this rugged smartphone takes on a more conventional style with a 5-inch TFT display. People who love their Land Rover cars will also love this rugged smartphone as its overall design is reminiscent of its vehicle counterpart.
4. Ulefone Armor 7 rugged smartphone
➕ Affordable Price
➕ Wireless Charging
➖ Inappropriate Lanyard Placement
➖ Camera Positioning
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie) | Screen size: 6.3-inch | CPU: Helio P90 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 8MP | Front camera: 16MP | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels | Battery: 5500mAh
Making it to the fourth spot of our Best Rugged Smartphones of 2020 is the Ulefone Armor 7 rugged smartphone. This entry features a greatly built rugged smartphone at a very keen price for individuals who are on a budget. This rugged smartphone offers admirable features for its price and can be considered as an entry smartphone.
Although its features are impressive, we had encountered some problems with the design of the smartphone. The camera bump at the back extends too far that it is at risk of getting severely damaged if dropped and we’re also not a fan of the placement of the lanyard.
5. Unihertz Atom XL rugged smartphone
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 4-inch | CPU: Helio P60 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4300mAh | Rear camera: 48MP | Front camera: 8MP | Resolution: 1136 x 640 pixels
➕ Screen has Oleophobic Coating
➕ 48MP Rear Camera
➖ Outdated CPU
➖ Absence of covers on the ports
Fifth on our list is this tiny phone from Unihertz. Atom XL is by far one of the best from this brand. Although the Atom XL is the “extra-large” version of its predecessor, the screen on this device is actually really tiny coming at 4 inches. However, it does pay back with its massive 4300 mAH battery and its outstanding 48MP rear camera.
Some of the drawbacks that we found on the Unihertz Atom XL rugged smartphone are its outdated CPU which is an old Mediatek Helio P90 and the absence of a cover on its headphone jack and USB Port. It is a great Android rugged phone but its limited screen size may not be convenient for most companies.
6. Doogee S95 Pro rugged smartphone
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie) | Screen size: 6.3-inch | CPU: Helio P90 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 8MP | Front camera: 8MP | Battery: 5150mAh | Resolution: 2160 x 1080 pixels
➕ Triple camera setup
➕ Massive battery
➖ Older Android OS
➖ User reports of HW failures
The Doogee S95 Pro rugged smartphone may not be at the top 3 of our lists but it doesn’t mean it’s not a great rugged smartphone. This rugged smartphone is well built with combined protection from its rubber and metal frame, it can surely take a beating. It also features a fingerprint sensor, three rear cameras, and an SOS button for emergency cases.
With its massive battery of 5150 mAH, you can expect the Doogee S95 Pro rugged smartphone to last you a day while you’re outdoors.
7. Blackview BV9500 Pro rugged smartphone
OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Battery: 10000mAh |CPU: MT6763T Octa Core | Resolution: 2160 x 1080 pixels | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 16MP
➕ Massive battery life
➕ Wireless charging
➖ Bulky and heavy
➖ Outdated Android OS
Blackview is a brand that has been offering a range of rugged smartphones. The Blackview BV9500 Pro rugged smartphone has the most massive battery life in our list. You are looking at maybe using this device for over a day with a single charge.
This solidly built rugged smartphone is more expensive compared to other products on this list. However, it comes with unique features that does not come with others in our list such as a PTT or Push-to-talk feature. While the specs are solid, it is fast becoming outdated in features and design.
8. Doogee S90 rugged smartphone
OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.18-inch | Resolution: 2246 x 1080 pixels | CPU: MT6771 (P60) 4*Cortex-A73 2.0GHz + 4*Cortex-A53 2.0Ghz | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 5050mAh | Rear camera: 16+8MP | Front camera: 8MP
➕ Bang for the buck
➕ Large display
➖ The screen has a very large notch
➖ Design is bulky
➖ Older Android SW version
With the launch of the Doogee S90, the company has also made it clear that it will be different from other rugged smartphones on the market. Well, they have certainly delivered.
The Doogee S90 comes with a modular design that lets it users build their own handset that is best suitable for their needs. It comes with several mods that you can attach to the device such as the Game Mod, Walkie-Talkie Mod, Night Vision Camera Mod and the Power Mod.
Due to its modularity, the Doogee S90 sits on the bulkier side of our list as it needs to cram up all the necessary components to run all the mods.
9. AGM X3 rugged smartphone
OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 5.9-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 20MP
➕ Great HW spec
➕ Triple Camera Sensors
➖ Battery Life
➖ Android version is outdated
AGM X3 is the third rugged phone released by its Chinese maker. At one point, it was also considered one of the best rugged smartphone in the market. AGM X3 is the brand’s attempt to break away from its usual market in East Asia. According to the company, this is the most rugged smartphone available on the market.
Looking into the specs, you can expect IP68 certification and tested with MIL_STD 810G standards. This smartphone is also light and thinner compared to other competitors.
Aside from being light, it also comes with a long list of features that will want to make you try this phone. Price is a major consideration to be had for this brand and model, as it is pricier than other brands.
10. Elephone Soldier rugged smartphone
OS: Android 8 (Oreo) | CPU: Helio X25 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 5000mAh | Rear camera: 21MP | Front camera: 16MP | Screen size: 5.5-inch | RAM: 4GB
➕ Very Affordable Price
➕ Offers Unique Features
➖ MicroUSB Port
➖ Outdated Processor
➖ User reports poor battery performance
➖ No NFC
➖ Android version is outdated
The Elephone Soldier rugged smartphone is at the last of our list but it’s certainly not the least. This rugged smartphone comes with unique features that you can compare it to a Swiss Army Knife.
This device comes with a physical compass, a flashlight, a Pogo connector (without documentation or clear purpose?!) and a lot more.
The Elephone Soldier is kind of outdated with the use of an old CPU Chipset, screw proliferation, microUSB port, and the phone can get hot when used continuously.