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Best mobile phones for outdoors and sports

zerodudex333

6 minute read

Do you work outdoors or love outdoor activities and sports? If so, you may prefer to go for a rugged smartphone instead of opting for an expensive, high end device like the iPhoneX, GalaxyS9 or Huawei P20 Pro. Even though all high end smartphones use chemically toughened glass like Gorilla Glass, they still aren’t sturdy enough to withstand a drop or fall from a height every single time. All it takes is one bad drop and your phone will be in pieces.

Thankfully, there is a class of smartphone known as the rugged phone that can withstand drops and falls over and over again. These devices are designed to take a beating and they all come with dust and water protection. They certainly don’t look as pretty as high end smartphones and they aren’t as slim, but that’s a trade-off for the damage they can withstand.

There are many options that can still offer decent performance and mid-to-high end specifications, despite the lack of a high-end physical design. You can either use these rugged smartphones as a replacement to your typical smartphone purchase, or you can pick one up to use on the side when you need something extra durable.

IP Certification: Classifying rugged phones

Most smartphones have some kind of IP certification these days, but every rugged smartphone takes it a step further. IP certification is used to determine how well a device can be protected against water and dust.

IP stands for the Ingress Protection Rating. An IP rating uses two different numbers - the first is a number to determine the level of protection against dust and the second number is used to determine the level of protection against water.

You’ll find that rugged phones often have an IP 68 rating. This means they score 66 on dust protection and 88 on water protection. This means the smartphone is waterproof (usually 1-3 meters underwater) and dust proof.

Rugged Android Smartphones: CAT S41, Doogee S60 & Ulefone Armor 2

All of the popular rugged smartphones currently run on the Android operating system. It’s very easy for a smartphone manufacturer to use Android, as opposed to building their own OS.

This is great because Android is one of the best mobile operating systems in the world.

In this guide, we have included three popular rugged smartphones running Android. This includes the CAT S41, the Doogee S60 and the Ulefone Armor 2. All 3 devices have different prices but they are all IP68-certified, which means they all have water and dust protection. Most importantly, they are all rugged enough to handle drops.

Whilst these rugged smartphones don’t offer performance that can match a high end device like the Galaxy S9, the hardware you can get is still very impressive. You may be surprised to hear that each of the rugged handsets below have enough power to be a great option for your daily driver. Everything like mobile data, GPS, and Bluetooth are available on these handsets as well.

The three handsets compare as follows:

CAT S41

CAT S41
source:Amazon
  • IP Rating: IP68-certified
  • Processor: Octa-Core (4x2.3GHz and 4x1.6GHz)
  • Display: 5.0” TFT display
  • Screen Resolution: 1080x1920
  • Operating System: Google Android 7.0
  • Storage: 32GB internal memory & up to 256GB micro-SD
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Camera: 13 megapixels
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Approx. Price: Approx. £300 SIM-free
  • SIM Card Size: Nano SIM

Doogee S60

Doogee S60
source:Amazon
  • IP Rating: IP68-certified
  • Processor: Octa-core (4x2.5GHz and 4x1.6GHz)
  • Display: 5.2” IPS Display
  • Screen Resolution: 1080x1920
  • Operating System: Google Android 7.0
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory & up to 128GB micro-SD
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Camera: 21 megapixels
  • Battery: 5,580mAh
  • Approx. Price: Approx. £270 SIM-free
  • SIM Card Size: Nano SIM

Ulefone Armor 2

Ulefone Armor 2
source:Amazon
  • IP Rating: IP68-certified
  • Processor: Octa-core (4x2.6GHz and 4x1.6GHz)
  • Display: 5.0” IPS Display
  • Screen Resolution: 1080x1920
  • Operating System: Google Android 7.0
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory & up to 256GB micro-SD
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Camera: 16 megapixels
  • Battery: 4,700 mAh
  • Approx. Price: £280 SIM-free
  • SIM Card Size: Nano SIM

All three devices are compatible with giffgaff, so make sure to pick up a SIM and look at our value-packed giffgaff goodybags.

As well as being sturdy enough to withstand drops, these rugged handsets have a larger battery capacity than everyday smartphones, which is another plus. This is especially useful if you work outdoors.

Basic Rugged Handsets: AGM M2 & HAMSWAN S2

If you’d rather pick up a basic rugged handset to be used alongside another smartphone, then the next options may interest you. These aren’t good enough to replace your standard smartphone, but they work as basic devices for texting and calling when you’re in an area that could be risky for your fragile smartphone. These phones lack advanced features like 4G and touchscreen capability, but at £25-£60 they are essentially throwaway phones.

HAMSWAN S2

HAMSWAN S2
source:Amazon
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Connectivity: 2G Only
  • Display: 2.0 inch display
  • Resolution: 176x220 pixels
  • Camera: 0.2 megapixels
  • Battery: 2,200mAh
  • Input: Hardware keypad
  • Approx. price: £25 SIM-free

AGM M2

AGM M2
source:Amazon
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Connectivity: 2G Only
  • Display: 2.4 inch display
  • Resolution: 240x320 pixels
  • Camera: 0.3 megapixels
  • Battery: 1,970mAh
  • Input: Hardware keypad
  • Approx. price: £65 SIM-free

Both phones are compatible with giffgaff.

Can I switch my SIM card between a normal handset and a rugged handset?

Yes, this is completely possible. It’s easy to switch your SIM card between your phones. These handsets should be unlocked as soon as you purchase them, so you’ll be able to switch between them with the same SIM card. If your phone has a smaller SIM card size than the rugged smartphone you opt for, you can order a replacement all-in-one size SIM card from giffgaff for free.

With this, you could use your normal phone at home or in the office and then switch to a rugged phone when you’re outdoors or getting involved in physical activities. If both of your smartphones run on the Android operating system, it will be easy to sync all of your contacts, apps, and files between devices by connecting both devices to the same Google account. If you use a basic rugged phone like those listed above, you’ll have to switch your contacts and other details manually.

Your thoughts…

Thanks for reading this article. We have taken a look at rugged phones designed for the outdoors and have provided a number of different options. We looked at phones that could replace your current smartphone and cheaper options that could be used as backup for when you need something a little sturdier. The great thing about the latter option is that you can pick up a rugged device for around £20-£60.

Written by zerodudex333

Ollie is a big mobile/tech fan. Follow his Twitter and his Instagram travel account