Smartphones usually are released with shiny glass backs, fine metal frames, and other design elements to make them as elegant as can be. But what if you need a robust, waterproof phone to make it through extreme weather and temperatures ? That’s where a good rugged smartphone can make all the difference.
If you are in need for a rugged phone then you might be unsure of what to look for. The most obvious thing to start with is waterproofing. All the phones we've compared here are rated IP68. IP stands for 'Ingress Protection' and is used to define the sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture. This means they can survive up to 1m of water for 30 minutes. However the warranties do not apply to water damage so do it at your own risk.
Next up is the design of the phone itself. You'll likely find it quite robust to protect it when dropped face down. Sharp things can still cause harm to the screen. So you'll want something tough to protect the screen glass.
The phone itself is also going to be larger and heavier than most phones. More capacious battery inside so that you won't be left high and dry in an emergency situation. The large battery also helps to reduce frequent charging and has a longer duration standby time.
Rugged phones are distinctive in looks. They have a tough, rubberised outer shell to protect it from drops and shock and you will not need to add a case. The best rugged phones come with dedicated SOS and PTT buttons, allowing you to quickly get help in an emergency or chat to your teammates while you're on an expedition.
What is a High-end Rugged Phone? How is it Different from Mid Range Rugged Phone
Buying a rugged phone does not mean that you have to skimp on the internal specifications like processors and cameras. Rugged phones come in a wide range of specifications. For active people who want to bring one phone for outdoor activities and have the best performance for their mobile games and photos, they have to look at the high end of rugged phones.
High End Rugged phones have comparable specifications to Samsung and Huawei flagship phones. You can find rugged phones with AMOLED, Wide Angle screens, High Resolution Camera with Wide Angle and Telephoto Lense. The internal specifications of the fastest processor and Multiple GB of memory allows running multiple apps at the same time and playing the most demanding mobile games.
Here are the Best Rugged Smartphone that You Can Have in Singapore Today
1. ULEFONE ARMOR 6
Screen size 6.2" (15.75 cm)
MediaTek Helio P60 2.0Ghz Octa Core
Battery 5000 mAh
Android Oreo 8.1
Primary camera 21 MP & 13 MP (interpolated from 16MP & 8 MP)
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
DualLens, FingerprintSensor, FaceUnlock
Minus : Fingerprint Sensor is a Nightmare, No Dedicated Camera or SOS Buttons, Lacks a 3.5mm Headphone Socket
Ulefone Armor 6 is pretty powerful rugged smartphone with plenty of character. With wireless charging, a Full HD+ display with a layer of Gorilla Glass 5, dual lens camera, this handset aims to be a powerful smartphone at an affordable price, and a rugged mobile that punches above its weight.
The screen is a large 6.2-inch affair with an 18:9 aspect ratio and plus a notch. It’s oleophobic but frankly we’ve seen better implementations. At 266g with dimensions of 166 x 84 x 12.2mm, it is surprisingly light for a device of this size. Note that it is certified IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810G against drops and the ingress of dust or water.
Bad Review : However, the fingerprint sensor is a veritable horror show. Probably tried it a hundred times and it never detected a fingerprint on the first attempt. If you have rugged hands (to match your rugged smartphone), then it is likely that fingerprint detection will be less than ideal.
That said, it is likely that this smartphone was part of a faulty batch. Ulefone has confirmed that it will get back to us on that. Face unlock, on the other hand, worked better, but is not as versatile as unlocking with your fingerprint (as night crawlers will attest).
Even though its screen is bright and the 2.43 million pixels that it packs translate into sharp fonts and icons, it couldn’t run Geekbench or Basemark, which is odd.
Sadly, there are no dedicated camera buttons, headphone audio socket and no SOS button as well.
Ulefone Armor 6 has dual rear-facing cameras and a single front-facing sensor. 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.
Ulefone Armor 6 has also equipped with a dual-LED flash to improve the quality of photos in low-light conditions. Unfortunately, this and the comparatively wide aperture cannot prevent the test device from taking disappointing photos in low light. Objects are underexposed and lack details, while the whole picture is dominated by image noise, The Armor 6 does not blow out the candle though, which is its only saving grace in this regard.
2. DOOGEE S90
Screen size 6.18" (15.7 cm)
MediaTek Helio P60 2.0Ghz Octa Core
battery 5050 mAh
Android Oreo 8.1
Primary Camera 16MP Additional Camera 8MP
Gorilla Glass 4
Minus : The notch, No Status Light or Oleophobic Finish, Bulkier than Expected (Too Thick and heavy)
Doogee S90 exceeds a conventional phone. Using battery of 5050 mAh and the 6GB RAM goes a long way to helping with a fluid experience, it can be a professional rugged walkie-talkie or even a game console, creating a new handset epoch with ever-changing styles and features. With one S90 modular phone, enjoy endless possibilities of life.
This rugged smartphone makes a breakthrough in a 6.18'' (15.7 cm) wide visual field screen blending both art and power. Don't let the border narrow your view, the S90 broadens your horizon. Powering the most intelligent CPU ever of DOOGEE phones, the doogee S90 is driven by Helio P60 octa-core chipset fabricated in 12nm process and Mali-G72 MP3 GPU clocked at 800MHz. It saves up to 25% energy and boosts 30% CPU operating compared to its last generation.
Unfortunately, The chassis blends metal and plastic to deliver an elegant smartphone that should survive more than a few knocks and protect it from damage when falling face-down, even though it supports Gorilla Glass 4.
However, it’s a shame that the display has the trendy but useless notch, and doesn’t have an oleophobic finish. There’s also no status light here.
There is a custom button on the left edge of the handset, along with a rubber flap that hides the dual SIM tray. On the right, there’s a dedicated camera button, the volume rocker and a power button. Another rubber flap protects a USB Type-C port, but there’s no headphone socket in sight.
The most obvious weak spot in our opinion is the average-to-poor camera quality and rear camera assembly, (16MP + 8MP) a dual-lens model that not only extends out but appears to be protected simply with plastic. We can see this becoming scratched or smashed without too much effort.
A fingerprint reader sits below the cameras and further down, there are 24 metal points that are used to transmit data to modules once they are attached to the S90. There are two speaker grills but only one speaker.
Heavy, allow the extended battery to charge wirelessly. The size is too big for small hands. If module attached, compass will malfunction, If module attached, OTG will not work. No headphone jack provides, Possible QA issues (button stopped working on test unit), Modules interfere with compass, Middling specs.
Overall, as tough phones, Doogee S90 isn't bad-looking, but it clearly places functionality over aesthetics in terms of priorities.
3. Blackview BV9800
Screen size 6.3-inch
Camera 48 MP+16MP + 5 MP. Clear, Decent Night Shot mode, Beauty and Facecute. BV9800 PRO version has FLIR Lepton Thermal Sensor
Big Battery 6580 mAh, up to 840 Hours or 35 Days Standby Time
Fast Internal Mediatek Helio P70
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Android 9 Pie
3.5mm Headphone Socket
Push to Talk Functionality
Free Translation App
Rugged smartphone with a metal frame, round reinforced edges and plenty of textured rubber/plastic to protect from shocks and improve grip.
It can let you see heat with the built-in FLIR® Lepton® thermal imaging camera ( For BV9800 Pro version). Ideal for personal and industrial applications. It can be used to find hot spots, people or animals in the dark, detect the electrical failure and moisture issues in a building.
It is also equipped with a 48MP Sony camera for ultra-clear images and includes night scene mode for bright nighttime images. Extra useful features include a massive 6580mAh battery for extended battery life, three positioning systems — GPS, GLONASS, and BeiDou — so you can find your way anywhere in the world. There is also a barometer that is used by the phone’s Altimeter application and a well-positioned fingerprint reader that sits just below the power button.
Why is BV9800 the best choice for you compared to Ulefone Armor 6 and Doogee S90
Camera : 48 MP+16MP + 5 MP camera. Clear, Decent Night Shot mode, Beauty and Facecute. BV9800 PRO version has FLIR Lepton thermal sensor
Battery : 6580 mAh, up to 840 Hours or 35 days standby time
Fast internal : Mediatek Helio P70
Gorilla Glass 5
Android 9 Pie
BV9800 is a very capable high-end rugged phone with multiple highlights like the 48-megapixel Sony camera, IR Blaster, a massive battery, push-to-talk, and wireless charging.
Compared to Ulefone Armor 6 and Doogee S90, BV9800 use Mediatek Helio P70 which means you can multitask at a high speed game. Deliver smooth responsiveness and lightning-fast experience.
A Big battery (6580 mAh) reduces frequent charging. It will give you 30 hours of music playtime, up to 840 Hours or 35 days standby time (instead of Ulefone Armor 6 and Doogee S90 using a lesser capacity of 5000 mAh and 5050mAh).
Ultra-clear camera of 48MP main camera allows for scenic photos and stunning night shot. 16MP front camera to get more light intake for selfies. Ulefone Armor 6 and use lower resolution cameras of 21 MP, 13 MP (interpolated from 16MP and 8 MP) and Doogee S90 only has 16MP and 8 MP secondary cameras.
BV9800 also uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Gorilla Glass 5 is formulated to improve drop performance from gadgets that are dropped onto rough surfaces from certain heights. The best part is even though Gorilla Glass 5 is so much tougher, it still provides the damage resistance, optical clarity and touch sensitivity Gorilla Glass is famous for.
The glass is the successor to Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which was introduced in the fall of 2014. Gorilla Glass 4 was said to be twice as tough as the previous version of its glass and twice as likely to survive drops onto uneven surfaces — but only from about a meter high. Doogee S90 still use Gorilla Glass 4, while Ulefone Armor 6 already use Gorilla Glass 5
All in all, the BV9800 is a fantastic smartphone that shows how far rugged device manufacturers have achieved over the past years, so much that this smartphone is a worthy recipient of our best-in-class award
Blackview BV9800 should be on top of your list if an extremely rugged smartphone is what you desire
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