Most modern smartphones today come with glass backs that match the glass display, but all of that glass makes a phone fragile if dropped. Phone manufacturers and carriers are happy to sell you insurance in the event of breakage, but there is another option available to you.
You can also pay $ 50 or more for a sturdy suitcase to wrap around it. These cases usually come with some level of drop protection (6 feet to 13 feet), but even in such a case, this case and phone combo has not undergone the MIL-STD 810G suite of tests that we find in almost every rugged phone List. What’s also interesting is that most of these rugged phones are much cheaper than flagship phones because they are designed to get the job done and not come with high-end cameras and other advanced technologies. Because of their price and usefulness, these options are great as a work or outdoor adventure phone, while having a flagship close by to insert your SIM card when you want the latest and greatest in mobile technology.
The glass displays in phones are the weak link, and even with these rugged phones, this is an area where breakage can occur. The material surrounding the display is built into these phones so the screen’s chances of survival are better on these phones. However, if they break you will have less money than if your flagship phone had a cracked display.
The following phones are all designed to withstand the elements with high IP ratings for dust and water resistance. In addition to the durability characteristics of phones that meet MIL-STD 810G standards.
You can find more tips on buying phones and how we make our recommendations here.
Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW
Rugged phones are designed to withstand the elements of field work. With the new Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW we get the additional support of the 5G network from Verizon. We have this phone in hand for evaluation and have already taken it to the sands of a Florida shipyard to test its durability and performance.
The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G, priced at $ 899.99, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, dual rear cameras, a 5.45-inch IPS LCD sapphire shield display, and a 4500 – Large capacity powered mAh battery. It supports wireless charging so you don’t have to remove the bottom USB-C port to fill it up.
The phone is built to withstand the elements and rough handling with IP68 dust / water resistance, MIL-STD 810H shock test certification, and a display to protect against drops and scratches. The phone is encased in a case with extra corner protection and tactile texture so you can always keep it in your hand.
View it now on Verizon
Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro
In contrast to bulky, rugged phones of the past, the XCover Pro has dimensions that match those of other standard smartphones, while also offering better protection against the elements and accidents. It’s powered by a Samsung Exynos 9611 processor with a 6.3-inch display, two rear cameras, and a lot more.
Rugged features include 1.5m drop test certification MIL-STD 810G, IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, a removable 4050mAh battery, and pogo pin support for accessories.
It also supports push-to-talk with upcoming support for Microsoft Teams. The $ 500 price tag is right for such a capable, rugged phone.
$ 499 at Samsung
Unihertz Atom XL
The Unihertz Atom XL is an affordable, powerful, rugged phone. A unique aspect of this Android smartphone is that it is tiny, so it fits nicely in a pocket in the field.
This phone has a 4 inch display that runs on Android 10 with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. It has protection class IP68 and certification according to MIL-STD 810G. A 4,300 mAh battery also keeps the phone running all day.
The Unihertz Atom XL also supports Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), so you can use the phone with the supplied antenna as a walkie-talkie when no cellular connection is available. This is a great feature for those who work or play outdoors.
$ 329 at Unihertz
Some people in the field prefer to enter text with a physical keyboard on the phone, and the Unihertz Titan offers a QWERTY keyboard with a 6,000 mAh monster battery. It is IP67 water and dust resistant with a matching sturdy shell.
There is a 4.5-inch display with 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of internal storage and a 16-megapixel rear-view camera. It’s a hefty 303g phone, but if you want a BlackBerry-like keyboard this is the phone for you.
$ 349 on Amazon
Cat S62 Pro
One great feature we’ve seen on some Cat phones is thermal camera support. A thermal imager is a perfect tool for field work, whether you’re looking for hot spots in a switchboard or looking for them in an emergency situation.
The Cat S62 Pro has a 5.7 inch display with glove mode, IP68 dust / water resistance, MIL-STD 810H drop test up to 1.8 meters and more. Android 10 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor.
The FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal imaging camera is the star of the show with the ability to measure temperatures between -20 degrees Celsius and 400 degrees Celsius.
$ 655 on Amazon
Unlike the Cat S62, the S42 is a more typical rugged phone with a design that can withstand the elements. It has an IP68 rating, MIL-STD 810H certification, and push-to-talk support.
Cat is known for having built some useful utilities into the phone that you can use to get your job done. There are tools for agriculture, construction, nature and more.
$ 299 at Cat
DOOGEE S68 Pro
Like most of the phones in this robust smartphone collection, the DOOGEE S68 Pro has an IP68 protection class against dust and water resistance. In addition, the S68 Pro has an IP69K high temperature resistance, which is no longer found on many cell phones these days. MIL-STD-810G certification is also in place, so this is a tricky phone to use.
The phone is reasonably priced at $ 220 with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, triple camera array on the back, and a large 6300mAh battery that supports wireless charging and wireless reverse charging.
$ 189 at DoogeeMall
In contrast to most rugged cell phones, the Cat S52 is quite slim at 9.69 mm and weighing just 210 g. It has a 5.65-inch display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 6.
The phone is rated IP68 for dust / water, meets MIL-STD 810G standards and has glove support.
$ 320 on Amazon