Top 10 Best Rugged Smartphones 2021

As the new year has arrived, we will review some of the top rugged smartphones 2021 has to offer. In this article, we will take a look at the real winners in the rugged smartphone race. Besides, we will also be sharing features that made them the top choice for this list. 

Previously, many people did not prefer using rugged smartphones because of how it is built externally. Recently, the rugged industry has seen numerous improvements including producing devices that are slimmer, lighter, but still packed with excellent features. Besides, the rugged smartphone industry has seen a consistently growing demand. As the world continues to change in face of the COVID-19 challenges, this demand is expected to grow. 

  1. Blackview BV9500 Plus 
  2. Conker ST60 – 6″ Rugged Android Handheld
  3. Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2
  4. CAT S60 Tough Smartphone
  5. Conker NS6
  6. Ulefone Armor 7E Rugged Smartphone
  7. Panasonic Toughbook FZ-T1 Rugged Smartphone
  8. Conker SX50 
  9. CAT S62 PRO Samsung XCover Pro Rugged Smartphone
  10. Samsung XCover Pro Rugged Smartphone

Blackview BV9500 Plus 

Big battery life is essential when using rugged devices. After all, most rugged devices are used outdoors or during operations. When it comes to battery life, Blackview BV9500 Plus is a winner. Thanks to its massive 10000 mAh battery, it can run for days on a single charge. Additionally, it also comes with a leading-edge quick charge technology allowing more than 2 times faster than the normal 5V/2A. 

This model also features IP68 which allows it to survive being dropped into 3 meters of water for up to 60 minutes. Most rugged smartphone manufacturers offer limited options when it comes to design. This allows them to maintain a consistent look for all their models. Blackview changes this by pushing a device that comes with a unique exterior. 

  • Android 9.0 OS – A fresh and fast platform to help your employees connected and productive even on the go. 
  • Multi-language support – Offers more than 20 languages to support any user including English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, French, Arabic, Russian, and more.
  • 5.7 INCH 18:9 HD+FULL IPS SCREEN – Comes with a 500-nit IPS display and Full HD Plus resolution. The Corning Gorilla Glass screen also adds protection. 
  • Helio P70 Octa-Core processor – Delivers outstanding overall performance for running applications.

Conker ST60

This  affordable and reliable device is at the top spot because it boasts both rugged exteriors and powerful operating system. Users will also enjoy an outstanding set of features that ensures any kind of operation is smooth and manageable.  

Conker by Tablet Technology is a British brand who has been receiving recognitions thanks to its line of rugged devices. The ST60 is a flagship device that offers a clear and bright 6.1″ display. It also comes with a water drop notch and 18:9 narrow bezel for the front camera. Made especially to support business operations, this device comes with a bright display allowing clear view even when used outdoors. 

Moreover, Conker ST60 comes with an IP68 rating. It can withstand a drop of up to 3 meters, is dustproof, waterproof, dirt-resistant, and strong against extreme weather. The ST60’s dedicated PPT function allows employees to easily communicate whenever and wherever they are. Conker also constantly innovates their products so that users can always find a tablet or phone that meets their specific needs. ST60 runs on the latest Android 10 operating system so users will find it familiar and easy to use. 

  • Android 10 OS – The latest operating system from Android allowing easy software experience for any kind of user.  
  • 13MP Camera – A powerful and reliable Sony Exmor RS IMX214 CMOS module offering 13 MegaPixel images.
  • 6.1 inches – Allows users to easily fit the smartphone in one hand, just slightly bigger than your regular iPhone 11. 
  • 28 Hours Video Playback – Ensures users can use the device on a single charge.

Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 Rugged Smartphone

It is the latest device from a popular Japanese manufacturer. The manufacturer understands that consumers crave a rugged but elegant smartphone. While it has always been challenging to produce slim rugged devices, Kyocera has made this a reality. 

Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 features a scratch-proof and super wide view camera which allows 4K action recording. Running on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system, it promises an excellent performance minus lag. The decent screen size makes it easy to use in the work field. This means it is a perfect choice for teams that are always on the go. Kyocera equipped the DuraForce Pro 2 with a decent 5-inch IPS LCD that features up to 16 million colors. It also comes with a pixel density of 441ppi and 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution. 

  • 5 inches Full HD Display – The decent screen allows your employees to do their jobs at ease even when outdoors. 
  • 13-megapixel camera – Comes with an LED flash, auto scene detection, underwater, sports and night camera. It also offers a 1080p HD video in slow motion and time-lapse modes. 

CAT S60 Tough Smartphone

In its second year on our list, CAT S60 remains to be a strong contender as one of the best-rugged devices in 2021. CAT is a popular brand worldwide although robust construction equipment. This manufacturer understands the demand for a powerful communication tool so they have released rugged smartphones that do just so. CAT S60 is one of the greatest smartphones in their line-up. 

CAT S60 comes with the best features that allow a range of industries to improve its operations. Its IP68 rating allows this device to survive being submerged underwater for up to 60 minutes. The combination of thick aluminium and plastic gives the phone added resistance. This tough smartphone also comes with a thermal camera especially designed by FLIR. 

  • Thermal imaging – A unique feature that allows users to identify insulation gaps, electrical faults, or monitor machinery performance. 
  • Extreme robustness – Resistant to high water pressure jets and can survive water depths of up to t meters for up to an hour. 
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4 – The strongest protection from Corning allows employees to use the device even with wet fingers or when wearing gloves. 

 Conker NS6 

The Conker NS6 is another consistent winner in our annual list. This device clearly deserves being one of the best-rugged smartphones of the year. Unlike the former devices in the list, this is a Windows device. It is a full Windows 10 device – meaning you can enjoy the power of a computer right in the palm of your hand. It can easily fit pockets having just a 6-inch screen and a weight of 380 grams. 

By using a Windows Operating System, your team can use this device to access a range of apps or software. Furthermore, Conker NS6 comes with an IP67 rating allowing it to withstand being dropped even at a height of 1.5 meters. The device also comes with a powerful battery at 5000 mAh, so employees can work longer on a single charge. 

Conker NS6 comes with an optional 2D barcode scanner. Moreover, users can also enjoy the NS6 Pay. NS6 Pay allows users to accept mobile payments directly using the rugged Windows device. This device is the best choice for retail, hospitality, and other similar industries that require payment from clients. 

  • Windows 10 Enterprise – means your team can add complicated apps or software that meets your operational needs. 
  • 5000 mAh Battery – Can support up to 6 hours and 2 minutes of video playback at full brightness. 
  • Optional Barcode Scanner – To support a range of business operations in certain industries. 
  • Optional NS6 Pay – The best choice for certain industries which requires devices that can process payments from their customers. 

Ulefone Armor 7E

This is a powerful device that comes with an octa-core Mediatek MT6779 Helio P90 processor. The Ulefone Armor 7E Rugged Smartphone has a 6.3-inch LPS LCD panel with 1080 x 2340-pixel resolution which ensures a bright display when used outdoors. In addition, the Armor 7E relies on a 5500 mAh, as well as, a 15W fast-charging battery.

The IP68 certification ensures that this phone is dust resistant, water-resistant, and is well protected even after accidental drops. The device comes integrated with Fingerprint sensors, gyro, accelerometer, proximity compass, baroreceptor, heart rate meter, and coulomb meter. 

  • Octa-Core Android 9.0 – Ensures reliable performance at all times for users. The Helio P90 performance is 4.6 times improved from its predecessor.
  • IP 68 – Built robust to withstand rough handling and harsh conditions. 
  • Triple Rear Camera – 48MP + 2MP + 2MP Samsung camera that allows automatic light and tone adjustment. 

Panasonic Toughbook FZ-T1 Rugged Smartphone

Panasonic is a force to reckon with when it comes to the best-rugged smartphones 2021. The Toughbook FZ-T1 smartphone is one of its latest products. As a result, you can expect nothing but the best performance from this device. This device promises to deliver features that will set it apart from other rugged devices in the market. 

Toughpad FZ-T1 features a thick case including a barcode reader section. Still, the entire phone fits well in the hands and its matte finish ensures accidental drops are limited. The Toughpad comes with a unique design with a combined Gray plastic and black rubberized material. With an improved design, this phone is a great choice for those who are looking for a less industrial look. 

Panasonic Toughbook FZ-T1 is MIL-STD-810G certified. As a result, it can handle both low and high temperatures, exposure to dust, water, or heat, and more. This device is equipped with a quad-core Qualcomm 210 MSM8909 chipset and integrated Adreno 304 graphics card to help ensure smooth operations all the way. 

  • Android 9 Pie – An easy to use and highly reliable operating system 
  • IP 68 Rating – Ensures phone has no damage even when dropped from heights of 5 feet or more. 
  • Excellent Battery Life – 8 to 16 hours of continuous data use. 

Conker SX50 

The UK device maker recently introduced this small but powerful smartphone. It is listed as one of the top rugged smartphones 2021 because of its reliable performance inside and out. The fully rugged SX50 sets the new benchmark for outdoor rugged smartphones. It is an ideal device for field workers in a range of outdoor scenarios. The SX50 is the smallest device in Conker’s SX line and lightweight at only 250 grams. 

SX50 comes with a simple design but it definitely does not fall short in terms of functionality. This rugged device is an excellent choice for those who are working in tough conditions since it is completely dust, drop, and water-resistant with an IP67 rating. The Conker SX50 was built with the intent to endure various challenging working environments.

  • Long battery life – 4,000 mah battery up to 9 hours of playback time in 4 hours of charge time. 
  • 5″ toughened screen – Adds more protection to an already robust device. 
  • Optional barcode scanner – To help specific industries mobile workforce to collect and share data. 


CAT continues to show its dominance in the rugged devices market with the CAT S62 Pro. This rugged smartphone is suitable for a range of industries including construction, mining, warehouse, delivery and more. One of the main selling points for the S62 Pro is the thermal imaging camera, as well as, other improvements that make it better than its predecessors. 

The FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal camera is an improvement from its predecessor (using a Lepton 2.5). Furthermore, it comes with the new MyFLIR PRO app which is an added feature for industries needing this specific feature. Unlike its rugged predecessors, the CAT S62 pro comes with rounded corners and is fairly larger. Nevertheless, compared to other CAT devices, it is lighter at just 8.75 ounces. 

This device is built to withstand a lot of demanding and punishing work. Furthermore, it has been tested against drops, wind, vibration, salt mist, sand, dust, and extreme temperature. Having a rating of IP69 means it can be submerged down to 10 feet underwater for 60 minutes without sustaining damage. 

  • Octa-core Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660 chipset – This is an upgrade versus the Snapdragon 630 chip of the CAT S61. 
  • 5.7 inches and 1080 x 2160 pixels Display – The powerful display ensures this rugged smartphone is easy to operate anytime and anywhere. 
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 6 – One of the latest technologies from Corning Glass ensuring added protection to the IPS LCD.

Samsung XCover Pro Rugged Smartphone

Last but definitely not the least in our best rugged smartphone 2021 list is the XCover Pro from Samsung. Understandably, Samsung is a premium rugged device compared to other devices in this list. Nevertheless, XCover Pro is a highly recommended rugged smartphone device. The sleek design makes it a great choice for those who are looking for a rugged but classic smart device. 

Moreover, the XCover Pro features a military-grade design that ensures it can easily withstand manufacturing, warehouse, healthcare, and other types of environments. Having an IP 67 rating means it is protected against dust, water, shock, and more. 

  • Edge to edge screen – Wherever your job takes you, you will never have to worry. Samsung Galaxy XCoverPro is rugged yet elegantly designed. It features a 6.3″ edge-to-edge display featuring Corning Gorilla Glass 5 – allowing your workers to easily see what is necessary.
  • Seamless communication – Programmable buttons to support push-to-talk function, scanning, and other business-related applications. 

There are plenty of reasons your business should consider using rugged devices. Other than their flexibility, rugged devices are also known to be reliable, have a lower total cost of ownership, and are secure. The best rugged smartphones of this year listed above come with valuable features and benefits that will help your business grow.