19 January 2015 by

While smartphones like the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S series offer many features and a slick design, they may not be durable enough for some users. Whether you live in a remote area, work in an outdoor setting or are just rough on your phone, selecting a more durable and practical phone will probably save you a lot of frustration in the end versus a fancy, less substantial model. Fortunately for users that need a more rugged phone, a few excellent option exist.

Most major phone makers produce at least one rugged-phone model. Some of the most popular rugged phones with the best reviews include the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2, the Caterpillar CAT B15 and the Kyocera Hydro Xtrm. Nevertheless, there are many more rugged-phone models available.

Before you select a rugged phone based solely on reviews, though, it is imperative that you understand what qualities to look for in one. Generally speaking, the design of rugged phones is considerably different than that of most standard cellphones and smartphones. For the most part, the design differences associated with rugged phones are associated with the shell or casing.

Many rugged phones are made from hardened plastic or rubber to withstand drops from considerable heights. If you've ever dropped a smartphone, chances are good that you already know how easy their screens break. The hardened design of rugged phones makes make broken display screens much less likely.

Most rugged phones use a flip or clam-shell design, which means the phone is made up of two parts - the screen and keypad - that open and close using hinges in the middle. This type of design protects both the screen and keypad in the event of a drop. While most rugged phones are of the flip variety, there are a few that use the more standard "candy bar" design - screen and keypad integrated into one front-facing piece.

While many of the design characteristics of rugged phone are intended to protect the units when dropped, other enhancements help shield the cellphones from the elements. For instance, many rugged cellphones include reinforced seams and joint substances that make the dust and waterproof; thus, making them ideal in in dusty, sandy environments or those where the phones may get wet. It is for this reason that many member of the armed forces opt to use rugged cellphones rather than trendy, less durable, models.

The durability of a quality rugged phone cannot be stressed enough, and the more hardened features one has, the longer it will last. To that end, makers of premium rugged phones don't just stop with a durable casing or shell. The best rugged phones include oversized speakers to make using the speakerphone feature more productive in outdoor or noisy areas. Additionally, premium rugged phones not only protect the screen with a clam-shell casing, but also include special coatings such as Corning Gorilla Glass or DragonTail Glass that protect the LCD displays from mars and scratches.

If you work or play outdoors frequently, the advantages of a rugged phone should be obvious. Therefore, if you're in the market for a new rugged phone, make sure you browse your carrier's line up of rugged phones carefully before making a decision. To help find the rugged phone most suitable for you, ReviewGist has put together a listing of popular models with the best expert and user reviews. While opinions and reviews vary, they are a good starting point when shopping for a rugged cellphone.

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 S7710


1. Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2    $228 - $260

Kyocera Hydro Xtrm Smartphone


2. Kyocera Hydro Xtrm   

Caterpillar CAT B15 Smartphone


3. Caterpillar CAT B15    $296

Sonim XP STRIKE Phone


4. Sonim XP STRIKE   

Caterpillar CAT B10


5. Caterpillar CAT B10    $250

Buying tips to find the Best Rugged Mobile Phone of 2015

This list of the best rugged mobile phone is also applicable for the following topics:

  • best rugged waterproof phone reviews
  • best waterproof cell phone reviews