Updated August 2022 – The content of this article has been overtaken by the page on the comparison of smartphones certified for VerticalMan
When field work involves operations in industrial areas or in areas exposed to bad weather or dust, the choice of a Rugged phone is essential.
The term Rugged identifies those devices that have been made to withstand falls and bad weather (water and dust) and that can be used in extreme areas such as high brightness or with work gloves.
Today, unlike a few years ago, there are also low-priced rugged smartphones on the market; we wanted to compare three smartphones that also identify three commercial categories:
• The Chinese smartphone at low cost but with appreciable quality.
We chose Ulefone Armor X7 Pro, but there are several other devices in this category.
• Athesi AP5701 – A smartphone with European engineering, high-level components and localized technical support.
• Samsung XCover 4S – The branded smartphone designed for field work.
This article is not a ranking on which is the best low price rugged smartphone, also because it would be extremely limited, but it wants to propose three important devices on the market that have very interesting features and prices.
All three devices are certified to work with our VerticalMan App for Lone Worker Safety.
This means that in addition to allowing the use of all the features of VerticalMan, they also have batteries that allow operation at least for the entire working day, good resistance to falls, water and dust and a programmable physical button associable to the VerticalMan SOS alarm.
Here are the most salient features to evaluate a smartphone for field work
For a smartphone is important have a screen large enough to carry out the planned activities, but resistant to falls and scratches too. The de facto standard for this feature is the Gorilla Class which with its 6 classifications allows you to protect the screen even for falls from over a meter in height.
It is not essential to have the latest version of Android on work smartphones, where only company apps are installed, while it is more important that a recent version is present with all the necessary updates and with the guarantee that the manufacturer releases firmware updates and operating system at least as far as security is concerned.
It is essential that a phone that is used for work has a battery life that allows you to reach the end of the day without any doubt.Batteries of at least 2500mA can guarantee excellent autonomy, although it is also very important to check the consumption of the entire phone. In other words, if I have a smartphone with a very large screen and with all the radio antennas (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc.) always on, I will certainly need a very powerful battery, while if the screen remains small and the antennas are turned on adequately by the operating system I will be able to settle for a battery with a lower amperage.
Weight and size
In a device designed to work in the field, robustness is essential, and this is paid for in terms of weight. We cannot expect a rugged device to be as light as the smartphones we personally use every day.
It is also true that a lot of progress has been made by the first rugged models and now we have smartphones that have nothing to envy for consumers with a weight that is not so relevant in absolute terms.
One of the most important features, even if it must not remain the only one, of a rugged device is the IP protection (International Protection), below is a brief summary of the most common certifications for modern smartphones:
Since you are purchasing a device for professional use, it is important that the manufacturer provides the possibility of extending the warranty, required by law, with a more business-oriented service that includes the replacement of most of the components and an intervention service quickly.