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.


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

Doogee S96 Pro

doogee s96 pro
Doogee

 

The Doogee S96 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, including 8GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a big 6,350mAh battery that supports 10W wireless charging.

In terms of this rugged phone’s camera, you are getting a 16MP front camera and a quad rear camera setup. There’s a  48MP main sensor, an 8MP wide-angle camera, and a 2MP macro camera. However, the coolest rear sensor is the 20MP night vision camera. It allows you to take high end black and white images at night with the help of four invisible infrared LEDs. This is perfect for people who are out in the woods and want to record the nocturnal wildlife.


Doogee S95 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.22-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio G90
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, 2, and 20MP Night vision
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 6.350mAh, wireless charging
  • Software: Android 10

Ulefone Armor 11 5G

ulifone 11 5G
Ulefone

The Ulefone Armor 11 5G is the latest in a long line of rugged phones from Ulefone, and the second to support 5G networks. That’s due to the fact that it uses the MediaTek Dimensity 800 5G chipset. This should work with T-Mobile’s 5G network. Like the Doogee S95 Pro, this phone has IP68 and IP69K ratings for dust and water resistance. Yes, you also get MIL-STD 810G certification so you can drop this phone from several feet and it will still work.

You also get a 6.1-inch display, along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. You are also getting a big 5,200mAh battery, and it even supports 10W wireless charging. The big changes are in its cameras. You are getting five rear sensors with this phone. It starts with a 48MP main camera, a 13MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP sub camera. Finally, there’s a 20MP sensor made especially for night vision photography. It uses two  two IRLED lights so you can take pictures in complete darkness. There’s also a 16MP front facing camera.


Ulefone Armor 9 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Dimensity 800 5G
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 48MP, 13MP, 20MP, 2MP and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,200mAh
  • Software: Android 10

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

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 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.

The Atom XL launched via a Kickstarter campaign. However, the phone is now available for everyone to buy via Amazon.


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

Cat S62 Pro

caterpillar cat s62 pro
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

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW

kyocera duraforce 5g
Kyocera

If you use Verizon Wireless as your carrier and can use its ultra-wide 5G network, and you want a rugged phone, you might want to consider the Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW. Right now, it’s the only rugged phone that can connect to Verizon’s fast UW 5G speeds.

The phone itself has a 5.45-inch display that’s protected by tough Sapphire Glass. It’s supposed to protect the screen from falling into a gravel driveway or from accidental key scratches. However, the screen can be used with wearing gloves, or in the rain. It has an  IP6X dust resistance rating and an  IPX5/IPX8 water resistance rating. Inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. There’s a microSD card slot to add up to 1TB of additional storage.

The rugged phone also has a 24MP rear camera with Super Night Vision for better nighttime photos and videos. It also has a 16MP ultrawide rear camera and a Time of Flight sensor for faster autofocus. There’s also an 8MP front-facing camera. One of the phone’s cooler photo features is the Action Overlay mode. It can put in data in a photo or video that shows info like speed, elapsed time, travel distance, and more.

The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW also has a 4,500mAh battery and supports wireless charging. Be prepared to pay a lot for this phone. It costs $899.99 without a contract or $37.49 a month for 24 months.


Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW specs

  • Display: 5.45-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765 5G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB, expandable
  • Cameras: 24MP and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • 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.