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Smartphones – once plasticky slabs without much in terms of visual appeal – have evolved quite a bit over the years. They wow us with their near-bezelless construction and they sparkle with their glass-on-metal designs. Beauty, comes at a cost, however. Modern smartphones aren’t really known for being durable, which is probably why making smartphone cases is a billion-dollar industry.
Their looks may be why most popular manufacturers are straying away from rugged phones, and we only have a handful of brands still providing these “professional smartphones”. This makes our compilation quite unusual. Here are the best rugged phones around, designed to withstand serious shock and to resist the elements!
The Motorola Defy is your typical Moto midranger, but in a rugged housing. You can expect all the things that make Moto phones beloved — pure Android, gestures, and timely software updates. The body is IP68 certified for dust- and water-resistance and the screen is protected by a Gorilla Glass Victus panel. There’s a lanyard loop on the side for some of the more extreme cases you might find yourself in with this phone.
Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro
Samsung finally decided to release a new rugged phone and the Galaxy XCover Pro is the most modern-looking phone in its class. It has a hole-punch display as the trend this year requires and its protective shell isn’t too big to the point of being ugly. Despite that, the XCover Pro is compliant with a bunch of military standards for durability, so you can be confident in its ability to withstand abuse.
CAT S62 Pro
Unlike most phones on this list, the CAT S62 Pro comes with Android 10 and will even get Android 11 at some point. If you care about software features and not only extreme durability, this is the phone to get.
Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G
It doesn’t sport fancy things like a FLIR camera, but the camera is capable of shooting pictures or video in underwater mode.
Blackview BL6000 Pro
Blackview is known for emphasizing on camera sensors. The main camera on the BL6000 Pro has a 48 MP Sony sensor with underwater mode for photos and videos. The phone is also equipped with barometer and air pressure sensors for useful readings out in the wild. It only has a single speaker, but Blackview says it emphasized on low frequency response and loudness to create depth.
Doogee S96 Pro
The Doogee S96 Pro has an interesting selling point. Aside from being ultra-protected for the most testing of environments, it sports a 20 MP night vision camera. No, this is not some normal camera with over-the-top exposure. It actually uses infrared projectors and a 20 MP ultra-light sensor to capture images with an up to 20 meter range in complete darkness. Aside from that, the phone’s main sensor is a 48 MP Samsung-made unit.
The phone comes with a 6,350 mAh battery and even supports 10 W wireless charging.
Unihertz Atom XL
We know Unihertz from making extra-small feature phones for the modern minimalist. But it also has a few rugged phones on hand. The Atom XL is still fairly compact, despite its name, and comes with a detachable antenna for a DMR walkie-talkie feature. So, even when out of range of cell phone towers, you can still stay in touch with the team.
It’s not really a performer, but its 4,300 mAh battery will make sure you don’t run out of juice anytime soon.
If the high-end CAT phones are too expensive for you, you can get one just as tough for about half the price. Of course, there are some drawbacks, like the 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, but there are always compromises with cheaper phones. At least when it comes to durability, you can be sure you’re getting one of the toughest phones out there. What’s even better, you can actually get it from the US Amazon, unlike its more expensive cousin.