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rugged phones

Smartphone design has changed quite a lot over the past few years. We now have phones that are extremely sleek, with all-glass builds, and large displays with minimal bezels across the price spectrum. Unfortunately, most mainstream phones aren’t ideal for those that work in more intense environments, like construction. That’s where a good rugged smartphone can make all the difference. Here are the best rugged phones you can buy!

The best rugged phones:

Editor’s note: We will continue to update this list of the best rugged phones you can get as more become available.


1. BlackView BV9900

blackview bv 9900 - best rugged phones

BlackView is becoming an increasingly popular name in the world of rugged phones. The latest and greatest from the company — the BV 9900 — features impressive specs and features. More importantly, it can survive in almost any environment.

In terms of protection, the phone comes with IP68 and IP69K ratings for dust and waterproofing, a MIL-STD 810G certification for impact protection, and can withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) and as high as 55 degree Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit). It can also be charged wirelessly, supports NFC, and comes with a UV meter and hygrometer. Decent specs and a surprisingly good camera setup round out one of the best rugged smartphones currently available. There’s a Pro model, too, adding thermal imaging.


BlackView BV9900 specs:

  • Display: 5.84-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio P90
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 16, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,380mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

2. Doogee S95 Pro

doogee s95 pro rugged phone

The Doogee S95 Pro comes with all the specs and features expected from a high-end rugged phone. You get IP68 and IP69K rating for dust and waterproofing and a MIL-STD 810G certification for impact protection with this phone. It also comes with good mid-range specs, a large battery, and a surprisingly good camera setup.

However, what makes this phone stand out from the crowd is its modular capabilities. Two modules are available right now. The battery module, as the name suggests, lets you tack on an additional 3,500mAh unit to the phone and is ideal for those planning long outdoor trips. You can also get a speaker module that comes with its own battery to allow for up to 10 hours of playback. A built-in kickstand on the speaker module lets you have a great hands-free media viewing experience.


Doogee S95 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio P90
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,150mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

3. Ulefone Armor 9

ulefone armor 9

Credit: Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

Joining the growing list of decently-specced rugged smartphones with good cameras and thermal imaging is the Ulefone Armor 9. You get the similar hardware and protection features that are available with Doogee S95 Pro and more. The phone is completely dust and waterproof and should comfortably survive most accidental bumps and drops.

The standout feature of the Armor 9 aside from the FLIR thermal imaging camera is the huge battery that is packed into the relatively sleek phone at 6,600mAh. While the Armor 9 definitely looks like a rugged phone and has all the right specs including IP68/69K, it adds a 64MP rear shooter in a quad-camera setup for decent photos, latest Android 10, and 8GB of RAM.

There’s also an Armor 9E which swaps the thermal imaging setup for a cheaper price, while offering support for the endoscope camera, too.


Ulefone Armor 9 specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio P90
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 64MP, 6MP, 2MP and FLIR Lepton thermal sensor
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 6,600mAh
  • Software: Android 10

4. Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro

samsung galaxy xcover pro rugged phone

After a couple of years, Samsung returned to the rugged smartphone segment last year, but not with an Active iteration of an S-series device. Instead, after launching a successor its entry-level rugged phone in 2019, Samsung decided to bolster its Xcover rugged portfolio with an impressive mid-range offering this year.

The Galaxy Xcover Pro comes with everything we’ve come to expect from a Samsung mid-ranger, including a solid processor, decent cameras, and good battery life. Of course, the key selling point is how rugged the phone is. Like the other phones on this list, you get a MIL-STD 810G certification and an IP68 rating. The battery is also removable and the back cover opens on impact to keep the phone and the battery safe.


Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Exynos 9611
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 25 and 8MP
  • Front camera: 13MP
  • Battery: 4,050mAh
  • Software: Android 10

5. Unihertz Atom XL

Unihertz Atom XL

The company that is known for making extremely small and rugged phones in an age where 6.3-inch displays are average has a brand new device on offer. The Unihertz Atom get the XL treatment, with the screen size jumping from 2.45-inches to a whopping 4-inches. It gets even more rugged this time around too, with an IP68 rating for dust and waterproofing and a MIL-STD 810G certification for impact protection.

The Atom XL offers a unique walkie-talkie function with an impressive range of up to 8km. It’s one of the few rugged phones to come with the latest version of Android out of the box. It also gets an upgraded camera setup that is good enough to take on some mainstream mid-range devices out there. Overall, the Atom XL is quite an impressive upgrade over its predecessor and is one of the best rugged phones you can get.

Keep in mind that you can’t get your hands on the Atom XL just yet. You can, however, pre-order it via the company’s Kickstarter campaign by clicking the button below.


Unihertz Atom XL specs:

  • Display: 4-inch, HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio P60
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Software: Android 10

6. Cat S62 Pro

caterpillar cat s62 pro

Credit: Caterpillar

Caterpillar, best known for its huge construction vehicles and machines, also sells a series of rugged phones, and has a bit of a history of keeping up with some solid models. The company took some time to refresh its line-up, but it now has a great new device available that blurs the lines between rugged and mainstream phones — the Cat S62 Pro.

In terms of specifications, the S52 features decent mid-level hardware, quite a sleek design compared to previous Cat phones, and it’s jumped up to the military’s tougher MIL-STD 810H standard instead of 810G, boosting thermal shock performance. Plus, the new FLIR Lepton 3.5 sensor does a much better thermal imaging job over previous models. This is a phone that will survive. It is a touch more pricey than the previous Cat S52 and S61 but the jump in specs makes light work of any complaints.


Cat S62 Pro specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 660
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

That concludes this roundup of some of the best rugged phones you can get that can stay safe in any condition. And don’t forget, many brands make incredibly tough cases for all kinds of phones which can help with drops and spills. Here’s the best Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus rugged cases to get you started for ideas.