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It’s hard to find a device that combines the most important features and specifications you need for your business, as well as the ones you are looking for in a phone.

I have created this guide to help our readers choose which smartphone they should buy to protect their investment but not lose out on quality or performance.

Best rugged smartphones

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
DOOGEE S59 Pro Android 10 Rugged Smartphone

DOOGEE S59 Pro Android 10 Rugged Smartphone

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OUKITEL WP5 Rugged Cell Phone

OUKITEL WP5 Rugged Cell Phone

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CAT PHONES S31 Unlocked Rugged Waterproof Smartphone

CAT PHONES S31 Unlocked Rugged Waterproof Smartphone

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CUBOT Kingkong (2020) Android 10 Rugged Smartphone Unlocked

CUBOT Kingkong Android 10 Rugged Smartphone Unlocked

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Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro | Rugged (IP68 Rated)

Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro | Rugged (IP68 Rated)

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Unihertz Atom XL Android 10 Unlocked

Unihertz Atom XL Android 10 Unlocked

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Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 with Sapphire Shield E6910 Black

Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 with Sapphire Shield E6910 Black

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CAT S62 PRO LTE GSM Unlocked Dual

CAT S62 PRO LTE GSM Unlocked Dual

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Rugged Smartphone,OUKITEL WP10 5G Unlocked

Rugged Smartphone,OUKITEL WP10 5G Unlocked

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Ulefone 5G Rugged Smartphone, 8GB + 256GB

Ulefone 5G Rugged Smartphone, 8GB + 256GB

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Last update on 22nd March 2023 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our recommended rugged smartphones:

Rugged Smartphone, DOOGEE S59 Pro Android 10, 4GB+ 128GB, 16MP + 8MP Four Cameras

Editor’s Choice
9.7/10 Our Score
  • 【10050mAh Large Battery with 24W Fast Charge】A 10050mAh big battery promises long time use and stands by your side for 3-4 Days without charge. 12V/2A 24W fast charging technology, a full charge will only need a short time, keeping you power on all the time.
    【Rugged Smartphone with 2W Loud Speaker】Equipped with a Tonearm box and IC smart power amplifier, DOOGEE S59 Pro unlocked cell phone can be increased to a maximum output power of 2W and a volume of up to 100dB. Phone’s sound can be heard in very noisey places and ensures that making and receiving phone calls.
  • 【Custom Shortcut Key/Fingerprint Face Double Unlocking】The custom key on the left side of the DOOGEE S59 Pro can be configured as shortcut button to access diferent applications such as screenshots , SOS emergency call, or any third party application. DOOGEE 59 Pro rugged android phone supports fingerprint unlocking and face recognition two options exist in unison to offer your phone the safest and most unique key.
  • 【IP68 & IP69K Waterproof, Dustproof, High-Temperature Resistance and MIL-STD-810G】The S59 Pro passes the IP68 &IP69K waterproof, dustproof and shockproof, High-Temperature resistance and MIL-STD-810G torment tests outstandingly, it can withstand extreme temperature ranging from -67°F to 158°F. In addition, DOOGEE S59 PRO can survive under 5 feets of water for 30 minutes. It is the first choice for outdoor use.
  • 【16MP+8MP+2MP High Resolution Camera】Housing a high-end 16MP AI Quad rear camera with stacked CMOS and fast PDAF, S59 Pro accurately restores the rich details and colors of scene. Meanwhile, it matches an 8MP Wide-angle camera len and macro camera to shooting brilliant pictures as you want. DOOGEE S59 Pro unlocked smartphone features an unprecedented 16 MP Front camera which enables you to take high-quality selfies .
  • 【Dual SIM 4G & Warranty】DOGGEE could support this band: GSM(B2/3/5/8) WCDM(B1/2/4/5/8) TDD(B38/40)FDD(B1/2 /3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28A/28B/66. 4G Network can work with most carriers such as AT&T, T-mobile and so on. (But some frequency band do not support) Do not support parts CDMA network carriers, such as Sprint and Verizon. If you are not sure about SIM compatibility, pls check with the carriers before order it or contact us. DOOGEE will provide 2 years warranty service.

Last update on 22nd March 2023 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking for a new phone to keep up with the times? The DOOGEE S59 Pro is an upgraded version of the earlier model that features extra security and more features. With its high-end specs, the DOOGEE S59 Pro is a force to be reckoned with.

With its high-quality speakers and microphone, you can speak clearly and loudly on this phone without interruptions. The DOOGEE S59 Pro has a powerful speaker and an amplifier that can increase the volume up to 100dB, perfect for noisy environments. With the DOOGEE S59 Pro, you can have a professional conversation in an area where the crowd is talking loudly, or there’s lots of ambient noise.

The stylish design of this phone will make you look like a pro! Not only that, but this device also has a fingerprint sensor and facial recognition so you can make sure your device is fully secure at all times. It’s also got a 16MP front camera and 8MP rear camera with 0.1-second photo capturing so you can take photos in a flash!

The most distinctive feature of the DOOGEE S59 Pro is its unique key! This rugged smartphone is perfect for those seeking a device that is not only strong and durable but also powerful and reliable. This rugged smartphone has an IP68 and IP69K waterproof, meaning it can function in any situation! Whether you’re backpacking in the mountains, taking pictures at the lake, or traveling to another country, this powerful smartphone can handle it all. It’s everything you could ever want in a phone, and then some!

What I like:

  • Comes with a 16MP front camera
  • IP68 waterproof
  • Reasonable price

What I don’t like:

  • High screen resolution not the best for rugged use

OUKITEL WP5 Rugged Cell Phone, 8000mAh Battery IP68 Waterproof Rugged Smartphone

9.5/10 Our Score
  • 【IP68 Waterproof Dustproof Drop-proof】The rugged phone OUKITEL WP5 is IP68 waterproof, operating temperature range is -10°C to 70°C (specific for outdoor use), with drop proof, waterproof and dustproof (1.2 meters fall-resistant and 1.5 meters water resistance for 30 minutes)
  • 【Android 10 System & 4GB RAM+32GB ROM】OUKITEL WP5 cellphone is equipped with 4x Cortex-A7 MT6761 processor and pure Android 10, which can provide an incredibly remarkable system operating experience. With 4GB RAM + 32GB ROM storage (expands to 128GB), the mobile phone has enough space to download all your favorite music, videos, and photos.
  • 【8000 mAh Battery & Global 4G LTE】 The battery of WP5 rugged cell phone is 8000mAh. OUKITEL WP5 smartphone can even act as a power bank! It can charge most smartphones over 3 times , and it can also charge tablets. Suitable for business trips or other outdoor activities. OUKITEL WP5 is a global phone wide-use covering all major carriers in Asia, Europe and America. It can work with GSM carriers such as AT&T, T-mobile, Metro PCS, etc (does NOT support Sprint and Verizon).
  • 【13MP+2MP+2MP Triple Rear Cameras & Dual SIM Cards】 OUKITEL WP5 smartphone is equipped with a 13MP + 2 MP + 2MP rear lens, allowing you to freely capture the moments and beauty of the world. It supports two cards simultaneously, you can insert 2 sims card or 1 sim card + 1 SD card. Now you can carry both your SIM cards or use a 128GB Micro-SD card. Store more, delete less!
  • 【Face ID Fingerprint & Rugged Outdoor Smartphone 】 The front camera can accurately identifies the facial features when unlocking your phone. In addition, fingerprint recognition is also a quick way to unlock the phone. Featured with 4 LED Flashes and many outdoor tools, such as Compass, Noise Test, Magnifier, Hang Painting, Plumb, extremely convenient for travel, outdoor works and sport.

Last update on 22nd March 2023 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just when you think your smartphone needs an upgrade, the OUKITEL WP5 comes along, and you’ll be amazed. With a battery capacity of 8000mAh, this rugged cell phone is the perfect companion for adventure! This phone is not just tough but also durable and long-lasting.

With a built-in 8000mAh battery, the OUKITEL WP5 rugged phone is a great option for those who need a dependable device that can keep up with their day. It can even act as a power bank! This cell phone is flexible and can be used by anyone. It is water-resistant and can be used in tough environments. This cell phone comes with 4G capabilities, making this the perfect cell phone for traveling internationally.

As one of the thinnest and lightest cell phones globally, the OUKITEL WP5 is a must-have for any outdoor adventurer. From its speedy fingerprint recognition to its range of tools, this phone is as great for outdoors people as it is for people who just want to be safe and secure. I like that it comes with many handy tools like a compass and magnifier.

Many will appreciate that you can use two SIM cards on this device. In fact, you can even make calls while being connected to two different networks! With its strong battery, flexible construction, and useful tools, the OUKITEL WP5 offers plenty of benefits and features for a cost that is well within reach of most readers. Keep in mind that it doesn’t support Sprint or Verizon carriers but work with most major carriers worldwide.

It is rated IP68 and can withstand drops, dust plus it’s water-resistant for up to 30 minutes in 1.5-meter depth. The 32GB ROM and 4GB RAM make this device run smoothly. This phone is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want a reliable device used in any environment. If you are looking for a value for money option, make sure you have a closer look at this one too.

What I like:

  • Long-lasting battery
  • Safety lock
  • Lightweight and thin design make it easy to carry around in your pocket

What I don’t like:

  • Not a great option for someone looking to use Sprint or Verizon service.

CAT PHONES S31 Unlocked Rugged Waterproof Smartphone

Value For Money
9.1/10 Our Score
  • Powerful 4000 mAh non-removable Lithium Ion battery provides up to 38 days standby time and 15 hours of 3G Talk time
  • IP68 certified waterproof up to 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) for 35 mins; military standard 810G shock and drop proof up to 1.8 meters (6 feet); scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla glass 3 screen
  • Super bright 4.7” HD 720 x 1280 display can be read in direct sunlight and used when wet or with gloved hands
  • 8MP Autofocus rear Camera and 2MP fixed focus front Camera, with 720P video capture at 30fps
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4G), sim type: Nano sim, dual and single SIM variants. 16GB Internal storage, expandable with Micro SD up to 128GB (not included).Maximum Downlink Data Rate:150Mbps

Last update on 22nd March 2023 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The rugged smartphone from Cat Phones features a super bright display of 4.7″ that allows you to read the screen even in bright sunlight easily. The screen has a resolution of 720×1280, and it’s designed to work with wet hands or gloves. The device features an 8mp rear camera and a 2mp camera on the front, ideal for capturing photos and 720p videos.

According to the manufacturer, the smartphone comes with a powerful 4000mah battery that can provide up to 15 hours of talk time or up to 38 days of standby. As you might expect from any rugged smartphone, this is rated IP68, which means the device is waterproof (up to 3.9feet) and certified by military standards for shocks and drops.

The wifi connectivity allows you to connect to local networks wirelessly while using a SIM card. It features 16GB of internal memory, which you can expand via the SD card slot up to 128GB.

Overall, a great smartphone, built like a tank, can withstand extreme weather conditions; this is a great, cheap, durable smartphone, so you can’t go wrong with this purchase. While it’s not the best device on this list, I consider it an option that deserves its asking price.

What I like:

  • Rugged phone with military-grade durability
  • Affordable

What I don’t like:

  • It could have a higher screen resolution
  • Lower camera resolution than most competitors

CUBOT Kingkong Android 10 Rugged Smartphone Unlocked

Honourable Mention
8.8/10 Our Score
  • 【5.0 Inch IP68 Waterproof Dustproof Display】 The 5.0 inch hard screen not only offers you a superior viewing experience also could withstand violent crash, rolling and torsion. You don’t worry any scratching and accidental drops. By meeting the highest waterproof rating standard IP68, the device could guard against the water, dust, dirt and sand. Fitting the temperature ranges from -35℃ to 60℃, it could work in all geographical environments such as desert, highland, swamp.
  • 【4400mAh Big Battery & 13MP+8MP Dual Cameras】 4400mAh big battery provides stable output and long standby time. No matter you are going for a business trip, a happy travel, or playing a long time mobile game, it will offer you enough energy. 13MP rear camera accurately capture picture with vivid clarity and sharp details. 8MP front camera with the face beauty in soft light makes every selfie lovely, recording all your happy moments.
  • 【Pure Android 10 Operating System】Updated with the newest Android 10 system, the phone supports system-wide dark theme, privacy controls and more features . This phone is more simper, smarter and helpful.★【2GB+16GB & Dual SIM Dual Standly】 The device works at a high speed and lower power consumption with MT6580 Quad-Core 1.3Ghz processor. 2GB RAM provides an enough space for multiple apps work simultaneously. 16GB ROM with 32 GB expansion storage could store your pictures, video, songs and so on. Supporting Dual SIM Dual Standby and Compatible with 3G WCDMA, 2G GSM network, allowing you to browse the Web anywhere anytime.
  • 【After Sales Service & Tech-Support】Unlocked cell phones are compatible with GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, BUT are NOT compatible with CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint. Please use the small tool to open the rear cover for you to put the sim card.★Note: There are some customers said the phone can’t read the sim card. It is not the phone can’t’ read the sim card but you should put the sim card in showdown condition that the phonw could read the sim card.

Last update on 22nd March 2023 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

CUBOT Kingkong is your everyday and travel companion with a 5.0-inch display and powerful quad-core processor. It has high-quality cameras, HD sound, and amazing battery life that will last you all day long. It runs on a 4400mAh battery that will keep the phone’s performance constant for a long time.

With this model, you don’t need to worry about protection against scratches or accidental drops as it’s not just water-resistant but also dust-resistant, dirt-resistant, and sand-resistant! Designed for use in extreme weather conditions, you can’t go wrong investing in this one.

The Kingkong comes with a 13MP rear camera that delivers sharp, clear photos with vivid colors. With the powerful 8MP front camera that is perfect for selfies, you’ll never miss a moment of your life again. The 2GB RAM is enough unless you run multiple apps simultaneously. You can expand storage capacity so you could store your pictures, video, songs, and so on.

With dual SIM cards, you’ll be able to text your friends while you’re on a flight, get work done anywhere, anytime. You have to double-check if it’s compatible with your carrier, especially when traveling abroad. Overall, an affordable option that I think is a great starting point for your research. If you are on a limited budget, try having a closer look at this one before making up your mind.

What I like:

  • Affordable price for a great phone
  • Durable, dust-resistant, water-resistant and shockproof

What I don’t like:

  • I think 2GB of RAM is way too little if you a multitasking

Rugged smartphones can increase the lifespan of your investment. If you work outdoors or do your job in the field, having a smartphone is essential. If you need your smartphone for work and business purposes, then investing in a rugged one is the way to go because this way, you will have one thing less to worry about.

What is a rugged smartphone? Why invest in one?

One of the most frustrating things about using a regular smartphone outdoors is that there’s always a chance you’ll break it due to exposure to dirt, sand, water, and other elements that come it’s the way. Rugged smartphones keep these dangers at bay by protecting against dings and bumps if dropped or crushed by pressure on top of them.

Rugged smartphones are designed to be tough so you can use your phone anywhere, no matter the conditions. A rugged smartphone is designed to stand up to any obstacle it meets. Whether your phone might get wet from rain or from accidentally spilling water on it, the chances of damaging it are much lower with a rugged smartphone because the case is waterproof and dust resistant.

Things to consider when looking for the best rugged smartphones

Consider the size of your hands

Remember, rugged smartphones are bigger and heavier than normal smartphones, so take that into consideration before buying one. Bigger devices are harder to use and carry with you at all times. Take a look at the device’s dimensions to ask yourself if you can live with it in your pocket or handbag.

On the other hand, their large screen makes them very convenient for outdoors, because you can see better. Some manufacturers have compensated for the extra size of their devices by adding a second battery, which extends the life of the device even further.

I advise you to have a closer look at them, to feel for them. If you want to buy from an online retailer, pick a store that allows you to return them, should you change your mind at the last minute.

Think about how often you will be using the phone and what activities you will use it for

When deciding on the best rugged smartphone for you, it’s good to remember that the durability of any smartphone relies on its use. If you will be hiking with your phone, you should consider buying a waterproof, shockproof or dustproof rugged model.

It’s also good to consider what activities your phone will be used for. Are there any specific features you need from the smartphone? Some models even have thermal imaging capabilities, so rest assured there is a model for every person and every purpose.

What is your budget?

The prices of rugged smartphones vary from $200 to $1,000. However, if your job is more professional and demanding and you need military-grade durability, then expect to spend between $600 and $1000 for the best model available on the market.

It is advisable to pick your budget before shopping around and try not to go too low or too high. People thaw hot for used smartphones because they can’t afford the new ones, but you should remember that a used smartphone is not as durable as a brand new one. While it might be tempting to get a cheaper model of the brand you like, I don’t advise it. If you are thinking about getting a used one, consider that if it has been dropped or submerged into the water before, it can be damaged in many other ways as well.

Make sure you pay special attention to the warranty period when choosing a rugged smartphone. Pick a model from a reputable brand, preferably one that has replacement parts in case you need the device serviced. After all, you should consider this an investment and treat your smartphone as such.

Are there any features that you absolutely must have?

Push to Talk

A lot of people who choose rugged smartphones do so because they prefer to use push-to-talk (PTT) phones. These are phones that allow you to talk through a walkie-talkie and can also be used as two-way radios in emergency situations. If you will be using the phone in such scenarios, make sure you pick a model with 2-way talk support.

Dual SIMs

I have known many many people who would never need more than one SIM card, but others need, wh, wh, wh, which is why smartphones have dual SIM support.

If you need a dual SIM smartphone, you need to be very careful when choosing the model. Some of them don’t allow data connections on both at the same time, which is a deal-breaker for many people. Consider carefully whether or not you need it.

Extra batteries

Think about the times when you will be far from any power source. It’s always better to have an extra battery instead of having to worry about your phone running out of juice at the wrong time.

Most smartphones have a built-in battery, but there are cases where replacement batteries can be a lifesaver. Buying an extra battery can be a good idea for people who use their phones until the battery runs out. If you are one of those people, it makes perfect sense to invest in a rugged smartphone that has a removable battery.

If you need to work off the grid for a few days, extra batteries will allow you to charge your smartphone when far from outlets. They are not extremely expensive, especially if you are buying them in bulk. Why not get an extra one and keep it in your bag all the time? It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can always opt for a power bank, but if you need to keep weight low a few batteries could be a better choice.

Make sure it is water and dust resistant

Nobody likes a phone that breaks when they drop it, get it wet, or even worse when it gets covered in dust. Dropping your smartphone is a rite of passage for every single person who owns one. No matter how careful you are, accidents will still happen. Water and dust resistance is very handy and can come in handy when traveling around outdoors. Once you get a rugged smartphone, it will offer peace of mind in case something happens.

All phones are rated based on the sealing effectiveness of their enclosures. This is where the IP rating comes in handy. It measures how well a device is protected from dust and water.

The best-rugged smartphones are rated IP68, where the two number indicates the protection they can provide. In this case, “6” refers to the scale the device is sealed against particles like dust, and in this case, “6” is the maximum which means total protection against dust. The second number “8” refers to water protection which in most cases “8” is the highest rating of water protection you will see on these rugged smartphones.

Screen Size Considerations: Size Matters! Find one with an easy to read screen

Rugged smartphones come in all shapes and sizes. Remember that the larger your phone, the less likely it is to fit in your pocket or handbag. That’s why screen size is key when choosing a rugged smartphone.

A large screen makes it easier for you to see what’s on the screen, especially when working outdoors because of the sunlight. Still, it’s not always the best choice for people who need to use the phone in less-than-ideal conditions. It comes down to personal preference, so try to see some models in action before you make up your mind. After all, you’ll be using the screen every day as your way to connect with your device.

Storage Capacity

You can use the built-in storage space, but it’s ideal to pick a model which allows you to expand its storage capacity. Some models come with huge internal storage space but I assure you, you will run out of storage space sooner or later.

The most common way to expand storage space is via a microSD card. They are not expensive at all, and you can even find them in bulk packages for less than $10 per microSD card.

Better safe than sorry, invest in a device with enough storage for your apps and use SD cards for your multimedia and documents.

Discover rugged smartphones that can withstand the most extreme conditions.

Processor Speeds: Can Your Phone Keep Up With You?

Most rugged smartphones have powerful processors, but there are models that go beyond that. If you need your device to do more than just calling and messaging, then a powerhouse smartphone could be what you are looking for. It can even support multiple applications at the same time with ease.

A CPU working at high speeds will allow your phone to operate smoothly, regardless of how demanding your daily tasks are. Invest in a rugged smartphone that can handle multitasking.

Memory: The Keys to Successful Dual-Tasking

Pick a device that can handle more than one app at the same time. If you’re multitasking like crazy while working outdoors, then I suggest you invest in a model with high RAM memory.

This is how memory works:

While the applications are installed in your storage space, they need to use the internal memory to store information and do their calculation to operate.

The more applications you run at the same time, the more memory they are going to need. But not all applications use the same memory.

Some as optimized to be very light, while other applications like browsers can fill your memory quickly, especially if you like to open many tabs simultaneously.

Long story short, the more memory you have, the more applications you can run simultaneously, as long as the CPU (and storage space) can keep up.

Check out the camera quality before buying your new rugged smartphone

If you find yourself using your phone’s built-in camera a lot, you need to be very careful. A lot of smartphones have poor-quality cameras, especially in low-light conditions. It’s not a problem with all models, but if you want high-quality images, then make sure you check out the camera and its capabilities.

I have found that smartphones have hugely improved their cameras the recent years. If you use the camera during the daytime, most models will capture stunning pictures, even with sensors as low as 8 megapixels. A greater resolution can be handy if you want to zoom in on your photos and use a portion of the original photo without losing detail.

The same applies to video capabilities. A safe starting point is picking a model that can capture video at Full HD (1920×1080) resolution. If you find yourself recomposing and zooming in whiting your foot, it might be better to go for a 4k option.

Operating system (iOS, Android, Windows)

It’s time for you to decide whether or not you want an Android, iOS, or Windows operating system. In terms of rugged smartphones, most models are based on Android OS. There are some exceptions, that are is based on Windows Phone OS. I’m not familiar with them, as I have an android phone, so I cannot say if it’s worth investing in. Generally speaking, I think an Android device will be more reliable than a Windows one because of higher quality software support.

The iOS devices have improved their durability with their latest models, but to be honest they are not my first choice. With the last iOS device I had, I had accidentally broken its screen three times while inside my home. I can’t think of what could happen if I were using it outdoors. The good news is that a friend of mine got the latest iPhone so I will have the chance to test it in person, and I will update the article with my findings. Stay tuned.

Final Thoughts

Rugged Smartphones vs Regular Smartphones?

Smartphones are popular nowadays, and most people have one. They are used for a variety of daily tasks, and they even replace some of the traditional instruments we have, like watches and cameras. But smartphones are not indestructible. Nowadays, most smartphones need glass screen protection and cases; however, this isn’t enough to ensure their durability. Enter the world of rugged smartphones.

These devices are designed for heavy-duty use, and they are built like tanks. They have thick cases and the screen is protected by an extra layer of glass, usually made of sapphire. These phones are great for those who work in extreme conditions where a normal device might break fast.

You should consider buying one of these devices if you:

  • Work in the construction industry
  • You are a firefighter or police officer
  • Are often outside on adventures such as hiking or camping, etc.
  • Like to take photos in the wild
  • Still want a smartphone that can survive jumps and falls

Anyone that has a demanding job or enjoys life outdoors will greatly appreciate any of these rugged smartphones. They meet military standards for anti-shocking, water, and dust resistance and can withstand extreme temperatures.

Depending on your preferences, you can find models that feature processing power and memory storage that matches your requirements. Most models feature a camera, while some even have a second camera or even thermal cameras installed. It all comes down to your budget but try to pick a model with enough internal storage for your needs and the most ram you can afford. All models are waterproof, and some even remain waterproof until 2-3 meters of saltwater for up to 30 minutes.

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