Which Rugged Phone is Best?
There are plenty of snazzy new phones to choose from with varying levels of performance. The problem is that the fancier a phone is, the easier it is to break.
In order not to worry about your phone breaking, consider a rugged smartphone. They are equipped with protection against all kinds of hazards, including bumps, dust, foreign objects and water immersion.
The best rugged phone is the Nokia XR20 5G for its premium performance and attention to detail.
What you should know before buying a rugged phone
They’re not literally indestructible
Some ads show trucks rolling over phones in the middle of a call, only for the phone to come out unscathed. This is not recommended and will likely damage your phone in real life. Even waterproof phones are no longer technically waterproof after a period of time. While a rugged phone can certainly take a lot more abuse than a high-end razor-thin model, it’s still something to look out for.
They are bigger and heavier than others
While rugged phones and regular phones use similar or identical components in most cases, the rugged ones also come with improved shock protection and water resistance. Many of them also have significantly increased battery capacity compared to similar non-rugged models. Together, these factors mean that your rugged smartphone doesn’t easily fit in your pocket or belt. At the very least, you can be confident that once they’re attached to your person, they won’t break.
What to look for in a quality, rugged phone
How long a phone has been released is a good indicator of its level of performance. Granted, the absolute cheapest phones still use components that are a few years old, but once you step up to the mid-range you can be reasonably confident that anything released in the last 18 months will give you decent performance or better bid for at least a year should be a few years.
storage and RAM
System memory or RAM helps your phone to run multiple apps at the same time and store the most important data in high-speed memory. Four gigabytes is the bare minimum for a smooth Android experience, and 6 or 8 GB is even better.
The internal memory is usually between 64 GB and 128 GB. Most Android phones (including almost all rugged models) allow you to install a microSD card for storage expansion. This is especially important when you are in remote places like the sea or in the forest and want to access music or other files when you don’t have an internet connection.
There are a number of smartphone features that might not make or break a phone on their own, but combined can be very compelling. For example, NFC connectivity means you can leave your wallet at home and pay securely with your smartphone at an ever-growing list of locations. With dual SIM compatibility, you can leave the country and add a foreign line without removing your old SIM card. Wireless charging is another helpful feature that more and more phones are including, even the budget models. Even 5G connectivity is becoming commonplace on affordable smartphones.
How much you can spend on a rugged phone
The cheapest rugged phones that offer a passable Android experience cost around $200. Meanwhile, the most powerful rugged smartphones on the market cost around $600.
Frequently asked questions about rugged phones
Do I need a case for my Rugged Phone?
A no Rugged phones are designed with drop-friendly and scratch-resistant materials on the back, sides, and screen. In addition, they offer strong waterproofing and may even have an underwater mode. Also, there aren’t many cases available for most rugged phones, which tend to have significantly different dimensions than regular phones.
Are there any rugged phones with a headphone jack?
A Unfortunately, these are incredibly difficult to find. Adding a physical headphone jack would make dust and water resistance a whole lot harder. So no, there aren’t any rugged phones that are easy to find and have a headphone jack. However, some have Bluetooth capability, so you can connect headphones that way.
What is the best rugged phone to buy?
Top robust mobile phone
Nokia XR20 5G
What you need to know: It’s a full-featured flagship from the historic leader in indestructible cell phones.
What you will love: It has impressive shock resistance and a full IP68 rating against dust and water ingress. It’s a particularly good choice for international travelers, as it’s one of the few US phones with dual SIM capability. It offers both face recognition and fingerprint login.
What you should consider: The only notable issue with the XR20 5G is that it’s not exactly cheap.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top rugged phone for the money
Ulefone power armor 14
What you need to know: There are quite a few features packed into this surprisingly affordable option.
What you will love: This is an impressive package for the cost, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage powering the Android 11 operating system. Probably the most impressive thing about it, however, is the incredible 10,000mAh battery, which can keep it going for days on standby.
What you should consider: It’s big, it’s heavy, and it won’t win awards for high performance.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
It’s worth trying
Ulefone power armor 13
What you need to know: This is an excellent all-round mid-range smartphone for someone looking for a sturdy device for everyday use.
What you will love: It’s not particularly expensive, fits reasonably well in your pocket and allows wireless charging with up to 15 watts. In terms of performance, it’s one of the best rugged models out there, thanks to 8GB of RAM and a high-speed eight-core CPU.
What you should consider: While it supports 5G communications, it only works on the T-Mobile network in the US.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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