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Best Rugged Smartphones of 2019

by Nicole on February 14, 2019

Rugged Smartphones are a special breed, they’re able to withstand more punishment than a regular smartphone. We know that just because you need a tough phone doesn’t mean that you want to compromise on features. Mobile Geeks has pulled together the top rugged smartphones on the market to help you figure out which device is right for you!

CAT S61

The high tech CAT S61 is the handyman’s dream for rugged smartphones on the list with useful tools that make it perfect for construction or inspection operations. The tough and rugged smartphone includes an integrated thermal imaging camera, laser-assisted distance measure, and indoor air quality monitor.

The CAT S61 is designed with a metal frame body with a Gorilla Glass 5 display cover and includes both an IP68 and IP69 rating; it can handle drops from six feet, resist particles, can go three meters underwater for an hour, and even withstand temperatures ranging from -13 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. Its highlights are its sensory tools like its thermal camera that can read 752 degrees Fahrenheit in complete darkness, use lasers to measure distances, and even alert you of air pollutants like solvents and paints. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Land Rover Explore

The Land Rover Explore is the ultimate rugged phone for the great outdoors. It’s super-tough, coming with IP68 rated water-resistance, a durable build, and the protection of Gorilla Glass 5 and a glass screen protector on the 5-inch display. The display runs a Full HD 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution with midrange specs, and Android 7.0 Nougat (though an Android 8.0 Oreo update is on the way).

The real charm of the Land Rover Explore is in the details. While it runs an already hefty 4,000mAh battery, the Explore comes with modular options including the Adventure Pack, an additional battery pack that adds another 3,600mAh and a Ceramic Patch GPS antenna. That additional antenna boosts the phone’s GPS capabilities, making sure you always know where you are, even in the most challenging areas. The extra GPS power draws even more power, but the additional battery is more than up to the task, and we saw the Land Rover Explore still last a day despite a constant GPS connection and near-constant screen use.

The ViewRanger app also includes additional tools for hiking and cycling, displaying a compass, barometric data, distance traveled, and other details depending on your activity. The Land Rover Explore is meant for people who love to range into the wilderness, and who want their phone to be a big part of their adventures. It’s tough, reliable, and supremely well-suited to life outdoors.

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Ulefone Armor 6

The Armor 6 is a durable phone from Ulefone, mixing decent mid-range specs and long battery life with a tough outer shell, and is just the job for those who are known to break their phone as often as they break into a sweat.

For extreme sports fans, laborers and the downright clumsy, this tough phone has their backs with IP68 waterproofing, Gorilla Glass 5, and a metal- and plastic outer shell that is strangely alluring with its rugged looks.

Adopting the same full-display design as today’s flagships this trendy 19:9 smartphone, with its hulking 6.2 screen and modern comforts including wireless charging and a dual-lens camera, bridges the gap between a life on the edge and a life on the couch.

Ulefone keeps the OS relatively unchanged from vanilla Android except for a few custom icons and apps. There is also a toolbox app that includes features that may prove useful when using the Armor 6 outdoors like an altimeter, a compass, a magnifier, and a spirit level.

The Armor 6 has dual rear-facing cameras and a single front-facing sensor. The main rear-facing camera is a 16 MP Sony sensor with an f/1.8 aperture that supports phase detection autofocus (PDAF). The Armor 6 interpolates its 16 MP sensor to 21 MP and does the same with its 8 MP secondary rear-facing sensor, to create an effective 13 MP resolution instead.

The main rear-facing camera takes decent pictures in good light conditions with strong dynamics and a convincing level of detail. The colours are too saturated for our liking though, and objects generally look over sharpened.

 

The secondary lens supports the 16 MP camera in creating bokeh-effect photos which isn’t as good as flagship devices. We also found the low light photos to be very average and not in line with today’s flagship devices. However, for bright and sunny day’s it takes a great photo, as soon as the light starts to fade, so does the photo quality.

The Armor 6’s Helio P60 combines with 6 GB of RAM to ensure smooth performance with few delays in daily use. We noticed a couple of small jerks and stutters when multitasking, but it definitely was not a daily issue.

Ulefone has equipped the Armor 6 with a USB Type-C port that operates at the USB 2.0 standard. The device also supports USB On-The-Go (OTG) for connecting peripherals like keyboards or USB sticks via the Type-C port. The Armor 6 supports Miracast too.

When it comes to battery life we are looking at all day, with aggressive use and running benchmarks we often have 25-35% battery life, and a screen on time of 5:52min.

The Armor 6 supports dual nano-SIMs and wireless charging. There is an LED notification light too along with a fingerprint sensor, a UV sensor, and an FM radio.

If you’re looking for an outdoor smartphone that has good battery life the Ulefone Armor 6 is a good option.

Visit Ulefone here for more details or to purchase directly.

LG X VENTURE

It can be tough to find a rugged smartphone that doesn’t break the bank, but the LG X Venture is one of the few tough phones that you can pick up for a bargain price. It’s rugged, with an easy-to-grip textured back that won’t slip out of your hand unexpectedly. The lower price doesn’t affect the build quality — the phone feels extremely solid and comes with an IP68-rating for water and dust resistance, as well as military-grade (MIL-STD810G) shock resistance.

It’s not the most powerful phone on this list, but it’s packed with useful features, including the physical QuickButton on the side, and a toggleable Glove Mode. It’s a long-lasting phone that won’t break the bank.

LG Electronics X Venture Factory Unlocked Phone – 5.2Inch Screen – 32GB – Black (U.S. Warranty)

Price: $169.00

3.1 out of 5 stars
(44 customer reviews)

15 used & new available from $99.00

This post was sponsored by Ulefone but all opinions are our own.