Chris Price looks at five reasonably priced rugged smartphones which have been designed specifically for use in tough conditions.
Work outdoors on a building site? Or perhaps you want a super tough mobile phone you can take hiking, even swimming, with you? Then an Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy simply won’t cut it, even with a tough case on it.
Instead you want a phone that will survive if it’s dropped from a reasonable height or if it’s left out in the rain for more than a few seconds.
A survey from construction company CAT of users who now use a rugged phone found that 80 per cent had damaged a handset in the last five years. Of those, half had cracked or shattered the display and nearly half had damaged the phone by accidentally dropping it or immersing it in water!
Here we look at five rugged smartphones (and one not so smartphone) that should survive a fall or being underwater.
Homtom Zoji Z7
Available in camouflage green (pictured above) or a not so camouflage orange colour, the Homtom Zoji Z7 is a very reasonably priced smartphone with 16GB storage capacity as standard. Boasting IP68 waterproof rating (the highest you can get), it comes with a 5inch HD touch screen with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and fourth generation Corning Gorilla Glass to help prevent damage. What’s more, this unlocked Android Marshmallow 6.0 smartphone also offers fingerprint unlock and is 4G compatible. It’s currently available for under £100 on Amazon – see here – reduced from £199.
Ideal for watersports, such as diving and swimming, this waterproof smartphone offers IP68 certification meaning it can be used at depths of up to 1 metre. Onboard is a 4.7 inch screen and 16GB of memory. Featuring 3680mAh battery and Android 7.0 operating system, it’s available in both black and orange from here. The only real downside of the Blackview BV4000pro is that it isn’t compatible with 4G and some users report difficulty running it with some Android apps. However, it is one of the cheapest waterproof phones on the market!
Homtom Zoji Z6
Like its big brother, the Homtom Zoji Z7, the Z6 is another sturdy, waterproof (IP68) and shockproof model. However, the key difference between this model and the Z7 is that it’s not compatible with 4G which makes it a little cheaper (currently just £69.99 on Amazon). Features include the latest fourth generation Gorilla Glass, screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and a 3000mAh battery which the manufacturer claims offers up to 330 hours in standby and talk time of around 18 hours.
Like the BV4000pro featured above, the BV7000 incorporates IP68 certification, making it suitable for using in water up to 1 metre deep. What’s more, the manufacturer claims it will be safe when you drop it from 1 metre in height, so it’s pretty tough for use on land as well as in water! Powered by a quadcore processor, the BV700 boasts the Android 7 Nougat system and two onboard cameras (an 8MP rear HD camera and 2MP front camera for underwater selfies). Available in grey, this 4G dual SIM smartphone incorporates a 3500mAh battery and features a 5inch screen (a Pro version is available in gold here, currently selling for £169.99).
You probably know Caterpillar best for its construction machinery or perhaps its clothing range, but it also manufactures this rugged, if somewhat basic, smartphone. A black dual SIM model, it’s offers IP67 certification and has been drop tested to 1.8 metres. Featuring a 4.5 inch capacitive multi touch screen which you can operate with either wet fingers or even gloves, it features the Android OS Lollipop system and boasts two on board cameras: a 5MB rear camera and 2MB front facing camera. Although originally priced at over £200, you can now buy the CAT S30 for under £150 here.
And one tough but not so smart phone…
OK there’s nothing particularly smart about the Easyfone. In fact quite the opposite. It’s really a bit thick, in more ways than one. But if you just want a tough phone that you can use to make calls with then this is probably it. Because it’s not a smartphone and isn’t compatible with either power hungry 3G and 4G networks or WiFi, its 4800mAH battery should last you several days – long enough to take to a weekend festival without having to recharge. Really its biggest feature is a built in super torch, complete with strobe mode and flashlight! It’s available here for under £50.