Best Rugged smartphones you can buy in 2018

By Subhrojit Mallick | Updated May 15 2018
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There are phones that look good with generous use of glass and ceramic, some with metal unibody and a delicate display, and then there are those that are built from the scratch to take some beating. This list is about the latter. For most users, the average smartphone is durable enough, but there are those that needs to be present in dangerous areas like a construction site, where the chances of a smartphone getting damaged is high. It’s a niche category, yes, but served well by a few brands that are known to make smartphones that are rugged, long lasting and durable. Scroll through this list to know more: 

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Ulefone Armour 2

The Ulefone Armour 2 is an affordable rugged phone available on Amazon India for Rs 28,000. The phone has a rugged design with rubber padding around the edges over a tough metal casing. It’s IP68 water resistant and is powered by a MediaTek HelioP25 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage, and Android 7.0 Nougat on top. A 5-inch full HD display sits on top of the phone. 

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Caterpillar Cat S61
Catterpillar aimed to build the Swiss-Army knife of smartphones and the Cat S61 is the answer. Announced at MWC this year, the phone comes with an FLIR Thermal Imaging camera. It’s an upgrade from its predecessor and can sense heat upto 400 degrees. Additionally, there’s an air-quality sensor that can alert users of dismal air quality immediately around them. There’s also laser-assisted distance measuring sensor on the phone. The phone is enclosed in an aluminium casing with rubbery finish. There’s a 4,500mAh battery and a full HD display. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 630 chipset coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and runs on Android 8.0 Oreo with a promise of upgrade to Android P. There’s also IP68 water resistance. It remains to be seen whether the phone will launch in India. 

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Moto Z2 Force
While not particularly rugged, the display on the Moto Z2 Force is one of the strongest ever. The phone sports a ShatterShield display that is made out of five layers to add strength to the glass panel without tampering much with the image quality. Most rugged phones doesn’t promise good display quality. The Z2 Force does with a 2K display. But apart from that, the phone is mostly standard. It doesn’t have water resistance either and made out of a lightweight aluminium alloy. There’s the Snapdragon 835 chipset underneath coupled with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage along with near stock Android Oreo. The Moto Z2 Force retails for Rs 34,999 on Flipkart. 

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Caterpillar Cat S60
Caterpillar is a company known mostly for their construction machines and vehicles, but the company is also known for its range of rugged phones. The Cat S60 is the latest and comes with a feature that’s not there in any smartphone, rugged or not — An FLIR Thermal Imaging camera designed to track heat signatures not visible to the naked eye. 
The phone is aimed for construction inspectors to find where there’s any heat that’s being lost around windows and doors or whether an appliance is over-heating. It’s like heat vision seen in sci-fi movies, only this one’s real. 
As for the specs, the Cat S60 has a Snapdragon 617 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. There’s a 4.7-inch HD display and a 13-megapixel camera on the back along with a 5-megapixel shooter on the front. There’s a 3,800mAh battery to boot. 
The phone is also water resistant in up to 5 meters for up to 60 minutes with a lockdown mode. Furthermore, it can survive a fall from 1.8 meters. Dust also has no effect on it. The phone is available in India on 

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
The Galaxy S8 is quite a good looking phone. But it isn’t rugged by any means. Enter the Galaxy S8 Active. It’s a regular S8 but with a toughened exterior. The phone is only available in the US from AT&T though. The display on the S8 Active is engineered to prevent from shattering and the phone is IP68 water resistant. It also has the same camera as the Galaxy S8 (which is amazeballs in fact), and overall this is a flagship that will not make you feel you squander away your money just months after purchasing. It’s a little pricey though at $849.

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The AGM X2 is perhaps the most sensible of all rugged phones. It’s MIL-STD—810G Military standard durable and IP68 water resistant. The company claims the phone has been to the North Pole and back.It’s tuned to work under -30 to 60 degrees temperature. The best part about it though, is it floats. Literally. This phone doesn’t sink which additionally ensures no damage happens to the phone. It has a mid-range but powerful Snapdragon 653 chipset coupled with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage along with an 5.5-inch AMOLED panel, all housed inside a tough casing outside. Once again, this isn’t officially available in India but you can always tap global e-commerce portals to source it in the country. 

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Blackview BV7000 Pro
Hong-Kong based Blackview has built a reputation of making rugged smartphones. The B7000 Pro is one of them. It has entry-level hardware underneath but nothing about the exterior is ‘entry-level’. The Phone is housed in a CNC Metal frame that protects it from bumps and scratches with IP68 waterproofing. There’s Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top of a 5-inch Full HD display. There’s a 13-megapixel camera at the back that can shoot underwater. It’s powered by an entry-level MediaTek processor coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Also it runs on an older Android 6.0 Marshmallow build. 

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Nomu M6
Now Rugged phones last long alright, but they are far from looking as exquisite as a regular flagship phone. This Hong-Kong based phone maker intends to change this notion. The Nomu M6 is sleek, stylish and rugged. It has military standard durability and IP68 water resistance with a 3D glossy cover on top. The mirror-like finish sets it apart from other rugged phones which all look the same. The frame is lined with soft rubber that can absorb shock. There’s a 5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with anti-scratch coating on top. At the back is an 8-megapixel camera while on the front is a 5-megapixel shooter with a soft-flash. There’s also a NXP speaker and a 3,000mAh battery. Also, it’s only 10mm thick. 

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Blackview BV9000 Pro

The rugged phone maker’s latest smartphone comes with an 18:9 full HD display and claims to be earthquake resistant. It’s certainly more powerful both from the outside and the inside with a Helio P25 Chipset and a 4,180mAh battery. There’s a 13-megapixel camera at the back and a 5-megapixel shooter up front. There’s also 6GB RAM and 128GB storage to boot. Blackview positions this device for miners, firefighters, long distance drivers and mountain climbers. It has military standard durability and IP68 waterproofing along with a more recent Android 7.1 OS. 

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