Saturday, May 21

Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider When Buying a Rugged Phone in SA


A broken mobile phone is quite possibly the peak of frustration for those who live their lives on the go. Whether your phone is your lifeline to the office or friends and family, it’s important that your phone is able to keep up with your lifestyle. Not just for workers in the construction industry, rugged mobile phones can help solve many of the daily frustrations we have with fragile smartphones. People who live a very active, outdoor lifestyle can also benefit from a phone that can withstand what they throw at it.

When it comes to choosing a phone that is tough, it’s all about going back to basics. You want a phone that enables you to communicate and has a dependable battery life, but that also won’t break if you accidentally drop it. We’re talking mobile devices so tough it would take a serious effort to damage them. But what should you look out for when deciding which rugged smartphone to buy? Whether you need a tough cellphone for personal or business use, here’s what to keep top of mind when shopping around.

Meet the grade

Crosscall Core X4

The first thing to look for when choosing a rugged phone if the device’s toughness rating. Look for a phone that boasts MIL-STD-810G compliance — this is a US military specification that guarantees a level of durability for a piece of technology. Specifically, it means the equipment has gone through a series of 29 tests.

Rugged phones are designed, and tested, to last more than just a few months or a year and to withstand scratches, shocks, intense vibration and falls. Screens are thicker and more resistant to pressure and most rugged phones can survive a drop of 1,5 to 2m without much damage.

What it’s made of matters

Crosscall Core X4

A good rugged phone should also have shock-absorbent material on the corners. This is important when it comes to the screen. As many as 60% of ordinary phone screens will crack or break within the first year — and this just from basic usage.

Also read: Top 5 Affordable Smartphones for Shoppers on a Budget

Truly rugged features

Crosscall Core X4

Check that the phone also has a tough exterior that won’t shatter when dropped and that’s also waterproof. But beware, there’s a trend in the smartphone industry that waterproof equals rugged. There are in fact a number of features a phone should have to be considered truly ‘rugged’ and tough. To be fully-rugged, a device should be waterproof, drop-proof, and dust-proof. A rugged phone should also be able to withstand temperatures ranging from -25 °C to 50 °C and continue to work without a hitch.

For outdoor use, a rugged phone must be liquid and dust resistant. Phones must be tested to ensure that they can survive being immersed in different kinds of liquids, like water and oil, saltwater and even mud. These phones must have a high rating on the International Protection Standard (IP), which rates the level of protection a device has against the intrusion of solid and liquid bodies. A rating of IP68 would indicate a phone that can withstand everything from humidity to prolonged immersion. You will know your rugged phone is worth its salt if it can survive immersion in depths of up to 2m for 30 minutes.

Battery life is key

Crosscall smartphone

If you’re always on the go then it’s important to have a phone that can keep going for long periods of time in between charges. If battery life is important to you then look for a device with extended battery life.

A good rugged phone will enable you to work all day, and still have at least 15% of battery life left at the end of your workday. For added peace of mind and if you are going to be away from a power source for days, look for a rugged phone that comes with accessories like a battery pack for a huge level of autonomy.

Accessories to match

Crosscall smartphone

If possible, opt for a rugged phone that comes with a range of accessories to transform the device into a complete and practical working tool. Indeed, you must be able to protect and carry your phone, and in this regard, accessories are as important as the device itself. Whether it’s specially designed covers for extra protection, rugged headphones, or charging cables, the accessories matter.

Not all rugged devices are created equal. So make sure that you can tick all the boxes when choosing your next phone — whether you need it to run your business from a construction site, or whether you need to keep your phone with you when you go windsurfing or mountain biking in the rain.

Our pick:

Crosscall Core X4

For a rugged smartphone that does it all check out the Crosscall Core X4. This device comes with a three-year warranty, is ultra-tough and a long battery life. The mobile phone manufacturer specialises in designing phone models that are ideally suited to hostile and unpredictable environments, making it the ideal choice for active types.

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