The Most Durable Android Phone

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Comparing the best rugged smartphones on the Android OS.

At a glance…

In our opinion, the Most Durable Android Phone is CAT S62 Pro. This industrial phone is compliant with military standards, IP68 standards for dust, dirt, sand, and water submersion resistance, two-year warranty, can be operated when wearing gloves, and has a good quality camera with thermal capabilities.

Most durable (Top Pick)
CAT S62 PRO LTE GSM Unlocked Dual SIM Phone...
Runner-up
Ulefone Armor 9 Rugged Cell Phones Unlocked,...
Best Value
DOOGEE S95 PRO 8+256GB Super 2020 Rugged...
Phone Model
CAT S62 PRO
Ulefone Armor 9
DOOGEE S95 Pro
Rugged Ratings
95%
85%
80%
Most durable (Top Pick)
CAT S62 PRO LTE GSM Unlocked Dual SIM Phone...
Phone Model
CAT S62 PRO
Rugged Ratings
95%
Runner-up
Ulefone Armor 9 Rugged Cell Phones Unlocked,...
Phone Model
Ulefone Armor 9
Rugged Ratings
85%
Best Value
DOOGEE S95 PRO 8+256GB Super 2020 Rugged...
Phone Model
DOOGEE S95 Pro
Rugged Ratings
80%

Last update on 2021-05-19 at 17:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Paranoid Android

As the annual cycle of new phone releases marches forward seemingly with no end in sight, it appears as if a select few consumers are finally beginning to acknowledge the futility – and are beginning to put their money where their mouth is.

Especially now in a time of such economic calamity, people are rightly wondering whether it’s really worth it to spend $800+ to upgrade their smartphone each year for marginally updated hardware, and a few exclusive but minimally impactful software features. 

It also seems to us that, whilst it is possible for a phone to make significant jumps in certain areas such as processing power or storage capacity in their latest iterations, not much attention is paid to the design fundamentals as they relate to strength and durability.

In fact, with their larger screens and additional cameras, despite the fact that new materials come into play (i.e new version of Gorilla Glass display [1] ) you could make an argument to say that as each year passes, new smartphones are actually becoming more delicate and prone to breakdown.

Rugged Smartphone Revolution

Fortunately, there is an alternative solution. The emergent ‘rugged smartphone’ market is beginning to pick up steam with more options available today than ever. Indeed, this is the market where we’re looking for the most durable android phone.

Whether you are a construction worker in need of a phone that can withstand being accidentally thrown in a cement mixer, a military officer needing a phone that can comfortably survive a combat zone, or simply a person who’s experienced one too many smashed screens, there are plenty of options out there for you.

You can now get phones that are waterproof, dirtproof, dustproof, and drop proof, or all of the above, with varying degrees of toughness all the way up to military-specification. 

Most Durable Android Phone | Comparison Table

wdt_ID Phone Rugged Ratings Dimensions & Weight Camera Ports Notable Features Warranty
1 Doogee S95 Pro 80 6.3” screen
285 grams
- 48MP SONY IMX582 triple AI cameras
- Standard, wide-angle, and telephoto lens
USB C Modular magnetic battery &
speaker attachments
One-year warranty
2 Blackview BV9800 Pro 75 6.3” screen
399 grams
- FLIR thermal sensor
- 48MP SONY rear camera
- 16MP front-facing camera
USB C VoicePing walkie talkie membership
Triple module navigation system
One-year warranty
3 CAT S62 Pro 95 5.7” screen
248 grams
- FLIR thermal sensor (lepton 3.5)
- 12MP SONY rear-facing camera
- 8MP front-facing camera
USB C Wet finger/glove-on working technology
MIL-STD-810H specification
Two-year warranty
4 Ulefone Armor 9 85 6.3” screen
320 grams
- FLIR thermal camera
- 48MP Samsung rear camera
- 8MP front-facing camera
- 4 rear flash lights
USB C
3.5mm headphone jack
Endoscope attachment
Digital toolkit of 9 construction / outdoor and
home related tools
Quadruple-module navigation system
One-year warranty
5 CAT S52 70 5.65” screen
210 grams
- 12MP SONY dual-pixel rear camera
- 8MP front-facing camera
USB C Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor Two-year warranty
Phone Rugged Ratings Dimensions & Weight Camera Ports Notable Features Warranty

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In this article, we will be reviewing the results of our research in order to find the most durable android phones on the market #BIFL.

We will only consider phones that meet a minimum standard of smarts, matching or coming close to the ‘core’ specs of leading smartphones (processing power, camera megapixels etc.), as well as offering equitable user-friendliness in the software design, user-experience, and features. 

Given that, our selections must then possess verifiable standards of protection in one or more relevant areas so that they could fulfill the needs of the average smartphone user for many years to come. 

We will also be focusing only on Android OS phones due to the openness and flexibility of their software, which allows for a degree of personalization and modernization that may serve to extend the phone’s longevity. 

As always on Rugged Ratings, we will utilize the #BIFL system as the key comparison metric between our finds. In the area of indestructible smartphones, that means we are looking for phones that are…

#BIFL
 Rugged – Phones that have standards of protection from one or more environmental hazards

Repairable – Phones with extended or lifetime warranties and advanced support services for part replacements

Upgradable – Phones with upgradable individual parts such as removable batteries or cameras

Multipurpose – Phones that serve needs beyond those of typical smartphones such as advanced data encryption or thermal cameras

We will conclude with a table featuring all the specs of each of our picks so that you can get a quick-look comparison in order to make the most informed decision. Let’s begin.

#BIFL Rating 80%
Doogee S95 Pro | Image Credit Amazon Com
Doogee S95 Pro | Image Credit Amazon Com

Modular phones were the talk of the town [2] a few years back, with many touting the potential of a device that could be continually upgraded without the disposal of the core handset.

The talk mostly fizzled out, but remnants of modular smartphone design remain, and the Doogee S95 Pro exists as a testament to that idea. 

Chinese-born smartphone company Doogee doesn’t make flimsy phones. Their whole product range is dedicated to the idea of phones that are built to last, and the S95 Pro is the star of their line-up.

The durability features on this handset include the following:

#BIFL
  • Military rated MIL-STD-810G specification for shock-resistance
  • IP68 [3] rating for dust and water resistance
  • IP69K rating (highest recognized rating) for high-temperature water jet resistance
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 damage-resistant screen
  • Off-road Tyre Rubber bumper material.

Combined, these features enable 360-degrees of high-level protection from any typical hazard that a phone may face. 

For all its durability features, the dual-SIM S95 isn’t short on core specs either.

It features a Helio P90 Octa-core processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB ROM, and triple Sony 48MP & 16MP cameras.

The battery is 5150mAh, already superior to that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s capacity of 3969mAh – but there’s more.

The S95 boasts a modular back panel that enables ‘tap-on’ attachment of two devices. One is a wireless charging battery pack module that adds 3500mAh of extra power for a total of 8650mAh, and the other, a 6W HiFi speaker module with an independent battery

It runs on Android 9 for a super responsive ad and bloatware-free UX, and has all the handy high-tech integrations you could expect such as NFC payment and a fingerprint sensor.

At its price point, it’s one of the highest specced but most affordable rugged android phones out there. 

PRICE: around $370

PERFECT FOR: Battery-intensive phone users who will put their handset through its paces. 

DOOGEE S95 PRO 8+256GB Super 2020 Rugged...
22 Reviews
DOOGEE S95 PRO 8+256GB Super 2020 Rugged...
  • 【HIFI Speaker Module & 5150mAh Big Battery & 3500mAh Power Module】The speaker module of DOOGEE S95...
  • 【IP68/IP69K/Military MIL-STD-810G Super Protection Certification】 This rugged smartphone that passes...
  • 【48.0MP+8.0MP+8.0MP AI Tri Rear Cameras & 16.0MP Front Camera】 The DOOGEE S95 PRO (8+256) joints...
  • 【Helio P90 Octa Core & 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM & Android 9.0 Pie】 The DOOGEE S95 PRO (8+256) with a Helio...
  • 【Precise GPS Location/Navigation & Global Full 4G Netcom】 S95 PRO (8+256) adoption of four satellite...

Last update on 2021-05-19 at 17:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Blackview BV9800 Pro

#BIFL Rating 75%
Blackview Bv9800 Pro | Image Credit Amazon Com
Blackview Bv9800 Pro | Image Credit Amazon Com

As if we weren’t already convinced enough, Blackview’s website asks the question, ‘Why go Rugged?’ , and gives some pretty persuasive answers. They too believe the life cycle of the leading smartphones is ludicrously short, and that phones should be designed to easily survive typical usage, and even industrial and outdoor environments. 

The BV9800 Pro lives up to this promise.

It is dual-SIM enabled for sturdy network connection anywhere and has a FLIR thermal imaging camera that can measure and display heat sources up to 400°C for industrial diagnostic and control purposes. A ‘cool’ feature, and it pairs well with the following tough-stuff:

#BIFL
  • Military rated MIL-STD-810G specification for shock-resistance 
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance 
  • IP69K rating for high-temperature water jet resistance
  • Thermal-resistance between -30°C and +50°C 

That means the BV9800 can survive 30 mins underwater at 1.5m, and a drop of 1.5m, and continue working as if nothing ever happened.

Plus, each purchase of any Blackview phone grants you to one year of their VoicePing software, which turns the phone, and any other enabled phones near it, into fully functional walkie talkies. Perfect for the construction site. 

Coming in slightly less powerful than the S95 Pro, the BV9800 Pro has Helio P70 Octa-core processors, 6GB of RAM and 128GB ROM.

It uses the basic Android 9 OS which will be familiar to previous users.

The battery however is superior to that of the S95 at 6580mAh, which one Amazon review said is enough to easily last for 3 straight days of intensive usage.

The Sony 48MP rear camera impresses, especially in its unique Nightshot mode, and the additional GLONASS & BEIDOU navigation system modules will ensure you never get lost.

NFC pay enabled and with two unlocking types; fingerprint sensor and face recognition, this is a phone that is as suited to outdoor adventures as it is in the office.  

PRICE: over $600

PERFECT FOR: Less processor-intensive industrial and outdoorsy applications.

Sale
Blackview BV9800 Pro Rugged Smartphones Unlocked,...
13 Reviews
Blackview BV9800 Pro Rugged Smartphones Unlocked,...
  • (Thermal Imaging ): This Blackview BV9800 Pro Rogged Phone has an built-in Lepton thermal imaging camera....
  • ( 6580 mAh Long service time battery )35 day standby .14 hours video ,30H music ,27H calling .it wont let...
  • (6.3"FHD+Waterdrop IP68&IP69K&MIL-STD-810G )BV9800 Pro smartphone is super tough and durable .no...
  • (Helio P70 Octa-Core 6GB+120GB fast multi-tasking )Powered by the Al Master Helio P70 Octa-Core Processor...
  • (4G Global LTE support,Perfect for worldwide travel )BV9800 Pro Rogged Phone work with GSM Carriers like...

Last update on 2021-05-19 at 17:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

CAT S62 Pro

#BIFL Rating 95%
Cat S62 Pro | Image Credit Amazon Com
Cat S62 Pro | Image Credit Amazon Com

Caterpillar Inc., starkly recognizable with its iconic yellow cranes and other construction-related machinery, have built plenty of things that could easily destroy the average smartphone.

So, it’s only fair that they restore the balance with a line of nearly indestructible phones that are construction-site ready, and that’s exactly what subsidiary brand CAT has done. 

The CAT S62 Pro is the most heavily featured, and expensive, of their line-up. Self-titled as “The ultimate work phone”, the S62 has a number of rugged features:

#BIFL
  • The latest military rated MIL-STD-810H specification for shock, vibration, sand, salt-mist, and pressure resistance 
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance 
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 damage-resistant screen
  • Non-slip rubberised TPU casing 

You read that right – shock, vibration, sand, salt-mist, and pressure. That’s a broader range of potential stressors than any other on the list, making it the most rugged military smartphone so far.

It also features the highest resolution FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal imaging camera, a relevant feature in a world where temperature checks can suggest the presence of a deadly virus.

Apart from the hardware integrations, CAT have included a number of construction-friendly features that make it easy to use in many situations, such as making the screen respond to wet or gloved fingers, and the fact that the phone is fully washable with soaps, sanitizers, chemicals, bleach, and alcohol.

As for core specs, the S62 Pro runs on Android 10, so if you’ve owned an Android phone before, the interface and user experience will be familiar to you.

It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa-core processor, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB ROM which is expandable via micro SD cards.

The camera is a slightly underwhelming 12MP, and the battery capacity levels out at an adequate 4000mAh.

PRICE: over $750

PERFECT FOR: Perhaps the most construction-site ready smartphone on the planet. 

CAT S62 PRO LTE GSM Unlocked Dual SIM Phone...
10 Reviews
CAT S62 PRO LTE GSM Unlocked Dual SIM Phone...
  • Package Content : CAT S62 PRO Smartphone, Type-C USB cable, USB Power Adapter (5V/3A), Documentation...
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octo Core 2.0GHz; 128GB ROM, 6GB RAM; Supports microSD up to 256GB...
  • Display: 5.7 inches, 1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~424 ppi density), IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen,...
  • 1. TRULY RUGGED SMARTPHONE includes IP68 and Mil-Spec 810H 2. THERMAL IMAGING with Lepton 3.5...
  • Network: Dual Nano-SIM (4G+4G) ; 4G Bands (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40), supports 4G LTE CAT 13,...

Last update on 2021-05-19 at 17:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 Ulefone Armor 9

#BIFL Rating 85%
Ulefone Armor 9 | Image Credit Amazon Com
Ulefone Armor 9 | Image Credit Amazon Com

A worthy rival to the CAT S62 Pro at a lower price point, Ulefone’s latest flagship model, the Armor 9, balances wide-ranging functionality with serious toughness:

#BIFL
  • Military rated MIL-STD-810G specification for shock, low-pressure, humidity, acidity, and solar-radiation resistance. 
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance 
  • IP69K rating for high-temperature water jet resistance
  • Soft TPU and aluminum alloy reinforced polycarbonate material
  • High-density macro-molecule coating for waterproofing 

Quite impressive dedication to overall durability, and unique two-point waterproofing.

The phone also has a number of industrial add-ons, such as the FLIR thermal camera, and uniquely a purchasable ‘endoscope’ attachment that can flexibly insert into impossible to reach areas and offer a live display on the phone’s screen, be it a pipe, engine, air conditioner, or anything else.

With both Face-ID and fingerprint unlock, NFC payments can be made very securely, and the dual 4G SIM card slots with quadruple-module navigation system ensure you will almost never be out of service or lost. 

It’s no slouch under the hood either. With the Helio P90 Octa-core processor, it has 4.6x better performance than that of the BV9800 Pro.

It has 8GB of RAM and 128GB ROM, expandable up to 2TB (!) with an additional purchasable storage card.

The battery capacity is a very generous 6600mAh giving you up to two days of continuous use.

PRICE: around $550

PERFECT FOR: Budget but still highly specced version of the CAT S62 Pro.

Ulefone Armor 9 Rugged Cell Phones Unlocked,...
131 Reviews

Last update on 2021-05-19 at 17:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

CAT S52 

#BIFL Rating 70%
Cat S52 | Image Credit Amazon Com
Cat S52 | Image Credit Amazon Com

If you appreciate the toughness of the S62 Pro or the Armor 9, but the price point and bulky dimensions put you off, CAT has got you covered. 

The S52 offers nearly identical levels of protection as the S62 Pro, with a few ancillary features such as the thermal camera stripped off, for a few hundred dollars less.

It’s billed as ‘the world’s thinnest truly rugged phone’, and at 9.69mm, they might be right. Rugged features include:

#BIFL
  • Military rated MIL-STD-810G specification for shock-resistance 
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance 
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 damage-resistant screen
  • Non-slip rubberised TPU back 

Minus compliance with the most recent military specification (810H), the S52 protects nearly as well as the S62 Pro in a slimmer, more attractive profile.

There is a small step down in internals for this model though, which features Mediatek Helio P35 Octa-core processors, a 3100mAh battery, and a still-respectable 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM.

It runs on Android 9 and will be compatible with the upcoming Android 10 OS.

The S52 features the same construction-friendly considerations as all other CAT phones such as wet/gloved finger operation and its ability to be washed. And unlike the other brands in the list, this model’s warranty extends to two years, which should give you some confidence in their rugged claims.

So, if ruggedness and price are your biggest considerations, the S52 is a worthy choice. 

PRICE: around $400

PERFECT FOR: Pocket-friendly premium protection at a reasonable price.

CAT S52 64GB+4GB RAM, 5.65 inches, Dual SIM, IP68,...
38 Reviews
CAT S52 64GB+4GB RAM, 5.65 inches, Dual SIM, IP68,...
  • Package Content : CAT S52 Smartphone, Type-C USB cable , USB Power Adapter (9V/3A), Documentation (Quick...
  • Processor: Mediatek Helio P35 Octa-core CPU 2.3GHz ; 64GB ROM, 4GB RAM; Supports microSD up to 256GB...
  • Display: 5.65 inches, 720 x 1440 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~285 ppi density), IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen,...
  • 1. IP68 WATERPROOF to 1.5M for 35 minutes, DROP-PROOF to 1.5M (5 ft) 2. MILITARY STANDARD - MIL-SPEC 810G...
  • Network: Dual Nano-SIM (4G + 4G) ; 3G WCDMA B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B8 ; 4G LTE B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 /B5 / B7 /...

Last update on 2021-05-19 at 17:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Conclusion

A lot of worthy contenders for your next phone purchase here!

The CAT S62 Pro topped the BIFL ratings with a score of 95 out of 100, mostly thanks to its compliance with the latest MIL-STD-810H protective factors combined with its well thought out industrial considerations like gloved operation and its ability to be washed. We also loved the warranty length which doubles that of the other non-CAT phones on the list. 

For its price though, you might expect beefier specs on the more fundamental smartphone aspects, especially in terms of the rear camera and internal memory. If that’s the case for you, your next best option will most likely be the Ulefone Armor 9. It’s roughly as tough as the S62 Pro with an additional IP69K rating for high-temperature water jet damage, and similarly features the FLIR thermal camera, but at over $200 less. Those using the phone outside of industrial contexts will appreciate the triple-camera system with a 46MP main camera, and top-of-the-line internals for super-fast performance and multitasking. It also happens to have the largest battery capacity on the list. 


The Best Military Grade Flip Phones | RUGGED RATINGS

What to check nextThe Best Military Grade Flip Phones. With the system of replacing your phone every two or even one year becoming so deep-rooted, phone companies have less and less incentive to focus on making phones that truly last. The flip design makes these phones uniquely well-positioned for all types of active military service people, extreme activity enthusiasts, explorers, and adventurers.

What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on the Most Durable Android Phone? Be sure to share this article with anyone and everyone in the market for #BIFL durable Android phones. We regularly post guides similar to this one all about products that aim to last a lifetime, so stay posted if you agree with the Buy It For Life golden rule as much as we do.

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