Best Rugged Phone for Sports and an Active Lifestyle: Buying Guide

Best Choice

Doogee S95 Pro

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Best Value

Blackview BV5500 Pro

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Premium Pick

Land Rover Explore

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Mobile Phone

Mobile phones are an essential part of our daily lives. But sometimes, we need a phone that can keep up with daily wear and tear. Some of us just need a heavy-duty gadget because of our lifestyle and other regular activities. And admittedly, most of us do tend to be careless with our mobile phones. We would oftentimes just throw it in our bag with our house keys and other pointed objects. Other times, it would slip out of our hands. As much as we’d like to take care of our phones, there are just instances when little accidents to handling happen.

A rugged phone won’t show signs of wear and tear very easily. Scratches and cracks on rugged phones won’t be as obvious because of their hard-wearing build. Rugged phones will be able to withstand submersion in water, dusty and dirty encounters, as well as high drops. It’s a great gadget for those who know themselves well that they can’t always be gentle with their device.

Having a rugged phone lessens your worry when it comes to handling your phone. If you are on a water adventure and you want to take photos, then a rugged phone is what you need! Take photos underwater or while on your surfboard or boat. Riding a bike and your phone slips out of your pocket? Don’t worry about your phone being useless after a fall. Planning to go snow skiing and wanna use your phone without any problems? Then a rugged phone is just the right gadget for you!


What are Rugged Phones?

Image from SlashGear


Rugged phones are phones that are built to withstand impune weather. They are completely water and dust resistant. Some can be submerged in water for long periods. Whether you’re a mountain climber, trekker, explorer, or just someone who enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, you will surely benefit from rugged phones. Or maybe you’re just (embarrassingly) clumsy and you don’t have to baby your phone all the time.

Well, owning a rugged phone is the solution to your problem! Unlike usual Smartphones that are very aesthetically pleasing but need extra care in handling, rugged phones don’t need special care or protective cases. Before, rugged phones looked very utilitarian. Nowadays, rugged phones look smoother and sleeker. You can get them in different designs and they look pretty stylish. In this article, we will be featuring our top picks for the best rugged phones for all the adventure junkies (and clumsies) alike.

If you’re looking for phones with the best processors, this article might interest you.


Best Rugged Phones for Sports and An Active Lifestyle

The Doogee S95 Pro is one of our top picks for the best rugged phone. It offers a very decent amount of processing power. The build is very well-protected with a metal and rubber frame around it. So you’re sure that it won’t break easily if you accidentally drop it. It features a fingerprint sensor and three cameras on the back, so you can take the best quality pictures. Aside from those, you also have a dedicated SOS button in case of emergencies.

It also features two sim trays and the best Mediatek chipset of our picks. With a RAM of 8GB, it’s one of the few rugged phones that has that capacity. The good processing power of this phone is what makes it a cut above the rest. Check out the Doogee S95 Pro on Amazon and get a selection of inclusions or accessories that you’d like to come with it.



Looking for a rugged phone with a big high-definition screen? The AGM X3 rugged phone is just the right gadget for you! It boasts a 20-megapixel front camera and a 12-megapixel back camera. This rugged phone is the third flagship phone of its brand. It is certified with iP69, which its company has claimed it to be the most rugged phone available in the market.

Not only has it passed the MIL-STD 810G test, but it’s also apparently thinner and lighter compared to other rugged phone competitors. Having the best chipset with Qualcomm Snapdragon 846 and 6GB RAM, it packs a punch for how sleek it is.

The battery of the AGM X3 rugged phone isn’t as powerful, however. It only has a 4100mAh power, so you may need to charge it half-way through the day. Check out the AGM X3 on Amazon and get a portable rugged phone with many features.

If you’re looking for an affordable rugged phone, then the Unihertz Atom the right phone for you! It’s a tiny phone with decent specs. What’s truly unique about it is that its unusual design will draw you in. You can consider this rugged phone to be the kind of phone you would bring for practical reasons. It has smart features, but will not divert your from its main use: a rugged phone for outdoor activities. Although it may look like a tiny toy, don’t prejudge it by its outer looks. When held, it feels very sturdy and weighty, assuring you that this is a well-built phone. You’d be surprised to find that the charging port on this rugged phone is already a Type-C! And it also has a 3.5mm headphone jack for those who want to jam to their fave tunes while out on an adventure.

You may find that the bezels on this phone are huge and you may need a bit of time to get used to it. And although the colors on the screen of this rugged phone are very vibrant or highly saturated, you may find yourself seeing that it doesn’t depict graphics very well. Colors on this phone aren’t accurate.

Check out the Unihertz Atom today to get an affordable rugged phone.


The Ulefone Armor 7 rugged phone runs on the latest Android 9.0 Pie. It supports NFC and wireless charging and a triple rear camera, as well as a 16-megapixel front camera. This phone uses a Sony 48-megapixel sensor for its cameras, which means you’re going to get the best quality photos. It also has a whopping 5500mAh battery which will surely last you the whole day. Although it isn’t considered to have the best or top features, it’s still definitely worth looking into with its very competitive price.

The only complaint that this phone has gotten is that the camera has a bump on the top right corner. Although it is a well-built phone, dropping it can still worry you. The camera bump is still not the most preferred design and at some point, it may look a bit tacky. It does include a lanyard hole so you can hold it without much worry, but some people might still be iffy with its unconventional design.

Check out the Ulefone Armor 7 and get a phone that can match your adventurous lifestyle.

We consider the Blackview BV550 to be the best rugged Smartphone overall. The problem with most rugged Smartphones is that their features are compromised. After all, you are paying for the durability and build of the phone and not the features. But the Blackview BV550 is so much more than just a rugged phone. It packs the most features and it’s built to last!

There is thermal imaging in the Blackview BV5500 Pro which most rugged phones don’t have. It’s a very unique feature on this phone. You can use thermal imaging on different activities which makes it very useful for all your adventures and outings. Thermal imaging detects radiation, smoke, and heat, among many other things. So, it has a thermal camera that has a 48-megapixel Sony sensor that can double as a night camera. It also has a built-in translation app and a good battery life.

Coming at an affordable price on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with the Blackview BV5500 Pro. It’s packed with features and it’s priced fairly. The sleekness of the phone is also a plus! It’s worth getting if you need a useful, affordable, and good-looking rugged phone.

Check out the Blackview BV 5500 Pro and get an affordable phone that is built to last.

The CAT S41 is covered in hard-wearing rubber material, so it’s sure to withstand high drops. Nature’s harsh elements have nothing against this very durable phone. The screen has a bright display so you won’t have a hard time using it under direct sunlight when you’re outdoors.  Boasting a 5000mAh battery, it will last you the whole day. A big battery like this also doubles as an external pack. No need to worry about having a dead phone by the end of the day, because you’ll still have enough power to spare.

Unfortunately, the CAT S41 rugged phone doesn’t have the best camera quality. It only has 8-megapixels for the front camera and 13-megapixels for the rear camera. Photos look noticeably washed off and blurry. Comparing it to mid-range phone cameras, this rugged phone cannot compete. Nonetheless, quick snaps for personal use (and not for blogging or sharing) is okay.

Let’s just be honest when we say that the camera quality on this phone is very mediocre and the performance is very underwhelming. It also doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor. Having to pay a price ranging from $420 to $520 might make you think twice. But once again you’re paying for the extremely durable build of this phone and long-lasting battery.

Check out the CAT S41 on Amazon to get a phone that can outlast other smartphones.

The CAT S61 was coined to be the best rugged phone for quite some time. Until today, it’s still one of the most highly recommended. It’s the predecessor of the CAT S60, which is truly a big improvement. Considered to be an amazing flagship phone in its category. It’s quite weighty at 259g which makes you feel how well-built it is.

This rugged phone is certified with both MIL Spec 810G and IP69 which means that it’s made to endure very high water pressure. Bring this with you during a scuba dive is completely okay. It is very shock absorbent because it’s covered in polycarbonate and rubber materials. The metal frame surrounding it also improves its overall structure. Dropping this phone won’t give you a heart attack because of its good build quality. It comes with a 4GB RAM and Snapdragon 630 SoC. Your viewing won’t be compromised with its 1080p 5.2-inch screen.

The CAT S61 rugged phone has gotten some complaints as to why it has a camera bump on the top right corner. Although it is a well-built phone, dropping it can still worry you. The camera bump is still not the most preferred design and at some point, it may look a bit tacky. It does include a lanyard hole so you can hold it without much worry, but some people might still be iffy with its unconventional design. This phone is also far from affordable. On Amazon, you can get it for a heft price. But after all, you are paying for quality, so it’s worth checking out!

Check out the CAT S61 and get a rugged phone that performs very well!

The CAT S52 is probably one of the most well-designed rugged phones in this list. It almost looks just like the iPhone 4! Just by looking at it, you might mistake it for a premium phone. The back has a nice classy-looking matte finish that gives you a secure grip, making it easier to hold. Unlike other rugged phones that have a plastic or rubber seal on the charging port and headphone jack, the CAT S52 relies on waterproof coating. This makes this phone a great choice for those who want a stylish and sleek-looking rugged phone. With a 5.6-inch full high-definition screen display, you’re sure to enjoy this phone even just for browsing or watching videos.

However, it only features a Mediatek Helio P70 as its processor which may feel a bit slow to some users. The screen is also prone to fingerprints, so you may need to keep wiping off the screen more regularly. Compared to the CAT S52’s predecessors, this rugged phone doesn’t have many unique features.

You can get it for under $740 on Amazon. It’s not a bad price considering that you’re paying for the overall sleek and classic design. It doesn’t look as utilitarian as the other phones in its same category.

Check out the CAT S52 on Amazon and get a durable yet reliable phone.

You may be wondering how a mobile got into this list. But hear us out when we say that it does manufacture a very good rugged phone. Just as their automobiles are made for the outdoors, so are their rugged phones. It features an “Adventure Pack” which is a module that has a bigger GPS antenna and an extra battery that can be attached (with a magnet) to the back of the phone. It includes a lot of preinstalled apps that can be very useful to your outdoor adventures.

Unfortunately, data transfer speed is noticeably slower. It only supports 5 LTE bands. Although it is very good for outdoor activities, you may find yourself giving it second thoughts when taking it to your next trip abroad.

Given its brand name and Adventure Pack feature, it does come with quite a hefty price. You will find yourself having to shell out a good sum of money for the Land Rover Explore. But then again, it’s quite worth it!

Check out the Land Rover Explore and get a phone that is built for the outdoors.

The Nokia 800 Touch rugged phone is the only “basic” gadget that we’re featuring in this list. If you still remember the original Nokia 3310, then you would deem the Nokia 800 Tough as its younger brother. It’s built to be so durable that if you find yourself throwing it on the wall, then the wall would crack, not the phone itself. Since it’s technically still considered as a basic phone, you’ll get up to 6 weeks of standby time. For a basic phone, it does have a decent camera for quick photos and can support navigation apps, as well as other essential apps

This rugged phone isn’t a touchscreen, so you’ll need to be patient with how navigation and other apps load on it. The tiny screen may turn off some users because navigating your way to your adventure on it isn’t the easiest.

You can get it on Amazon today for under $400 and it’s not a bad price for the quality that old Nokia phones are known for and the battery life. It’s something worth considering.

Check out this offering from Nokia to get a phone that is tough and functional.

Looking for a good rugged phone that’s built like a tank? The Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 might just be right up your alley! Two speakers on the phone sound amazing! So you can jam to music while going on your outdoor adventure. You’ll be able to use this rugged phone with smoothness and ease because of the upgraded processor and a RAM and ROM that has high standards. It even has a 4K action camera, so you can easily take photos of your adventure!

Although the action camera on the Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 rugged phone is very unique, it will still need some help with other apps to take the best photos. You may find yourself having to read how to edit photos on your phone guide to make your images look good for sharing on social media. The battery life on this phone isn’t the best either. It only has a 3420 mAh battery which isn’t meant to last your throughout your whole-day adventure.

The Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 is available on Amazon for under $500. It’s quite a reasonable price with how well-built the phone is. And since you get very good speakers and an added action cam, it’s worth looking into.

Check out the DuraForce Pro 2 on Amazon and get a tough phone that you can use outdoors.


Things to consider when choosing the best rugged phone

This article has featured the best rugged phones you can get on the market today. There are a lot of things you need to consider when buying a rugged phone. Although it is already given that a rugged phone should be durable, you should also consider other features to get the most out of your money’s worth. It’s also good to get the most of your gadgets. So here are a few things to keep in mind before you get a new rugged phone.



Will your rugged phone withstand a high drop? How much impact can it handle? Is it weatherproof, and what are its limits? You need to know the capacity of the durability of the rugged phone you’re eyeing on. This will help you choose which one is right for you and your usual adventures. A good rugged phone will offer decent waterproof capacity and impact resistance. This is good for water activities and cold weather, as well as extreme sports.



There can be some compromisation on the quality of a rugged phone’s display. The very focus of a rugged phone isn’t its display after all. We would recommend that you check out the specs of your potential phone display. See which ones have the best quality so that your viewing activities won’t be compromised.


Battery life

A long battery life for any gadget is always good. Check out the battery capacity of the rugged phone you’re eyeing on because purchasing it. You don’t want to have a drained battery even before your day or adventure ends. And having to carry a portable charger isn’t convenient either. So make sure that your phone’s battery life will last as long as your adventure.


Signal reception

Some materials can hinder a good signal or reception. Since rugged phones are built with tough and oftentimes, thick materials, there may be a chance that your reception can be affected. You will need to check the signal capabilities and specs of the prospect phones that you’re eyeing on. The best way to check this is to see if your phone is on 4G. Having a 4G connection can ensure that your Wi-Fi and internet connection is strong, fast, and stable.


Benefits of getting a rugged phone

Having a rugged phone means you won’t need to baby it all the time. Of course, you will still need to take care of your phone and be mindful, but you don’t have to worry about it all the time. You can just throw it in your back or slide it in your pocket without being overly careful. Other than durability, you can also be sure that your phone is protected from weather and other unexpected events. You can use a rugged phone when it’s raining and not worry about water leakage. And if you’re out in the snow, you can still confidently use your phone. It’s a great investment for the adventurous (and clumsies alike).


Perfect for keeping up with your active lifestyle

Being a mountaineer, surfer, or swimmer is fun! Having a phone that can keep up with your active lifestyle will make your life much easier. Your phone will adjust to your activities. You won’t get that feeling at the back of your head that your phone would break anytime soon with all your extreme activities.


Highly durable

Whether you drop your rugged phone from the second floor or while carelessly taking a selfie, you won’t need to worry too much about breaking your phone. Rugged phones are built to be durable. You won’t need to keep babying your phone because it won’t crack or break easily. So you can go on your adventures with worrying.

We’ve featured the best rugged phones for adventure goers and clumsies alike. Always consider what you need from your gadget, sans durability. We hope this article helps you have an idea of which phone you’re going to get for your next shopping plan. If you want to protect these phones then read up on our articles that talk about cases. Here are our Lifeproof VS Otterbox articles as well as our RhinoShield buying guide to see if any of their products are compatible with these phones.