VerticalMan® works on any Android smartphone, and does not require a specific phone, but we have certified its operation on some devices designed specifically for work in industry or outdoors to help customers who have these needs.
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.
This is not a ranking on which is the best rugged smartphone, also because it would be extremely limited, but it wants to propose important devices on the market that have very interesting features and that we have certified for VerticalMan® App the Lone Worker Safety App.
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 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.
A very important factor is if the battery is removable from the customer, because if the smartphone is always in charge when not used (like on a docking station) after one or two years the battery must be replaced. If the customer can change yourself with a very easy operation, otherwise the device must be sent to the support center.
If the operator works in a noisy environment the audio of the device is very important.
These are the aspects to keep in high consideration:
- Speaker power
- Microphone sensitivity and noise reduction system
- Speaker position (front, free from obstacles if worn on a belt)
- Availability of accessories that allow you to talk hands-free or without taking your smartphone in your hand
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.
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:
Totally protected against dust, sand and in general any small solid body.
No penetration of dust; full contact protection (dust tight). Vacuum must be applied. Test duration up to 8 hours based on airflow.
Protected from permanent immersion in water at a depth of 1 m.
Test duration: in agreement with the manufacturer
Depth specified by the manufacturer, typically up to 3m
Notes: When we talk about water mean fresh and unsalted water. Salt is a corrosive, so in case of accidental immersion in the sea it is advisable to rinse the device with fresh water.
Protected against close-range high pressure, high-temperature spray downs.
Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted in the intended position when being used, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at a distance of 0.15–0.2 meters (5.9 in–7.9 in).
|MIL-STD-810||Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, is a United States Military Standard that emphasizes tailoring an equipment’s environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience throughout its service life, and establishing chamber test methods that replicate the effects of environments on the equipment rather than imitating the environments themselves. Although prepared specifically for military applications, the standard is often used for commercial products as well.|
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.
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.
Thanks to the value of a score 1 to 10, this index informs the consumers about the repairability of the products concerned.
This information aims to raise the awareness of consumers about their ability to extend the use time and life span of their products, notably by steering them towards products that are easier to repair and by pushing them to resort to repair in cases of failure.
As such, this is also a tool for fight obsolescence – either planned or not – in order to avoid the premature disposal of products and preserve natural resources.
The repairability index was introduced in France but other countries are organizing to adopt it
Dangerous – ATEX Areas
For ATEX device the recommendations above are the same for rugged device, but because there are some particulars we have specific devices comparison page.
Technical Specifications – Comparison
|It’s a very small and lightweight smartphone with modern specifications. For customer that need only phone and man down features it’s the first choice; it is very tiny and can be worn on the belt like old pager. If the user must use the keyboard on the screen, it not the best device because the screen is small. The weak battery need not worry, because the consumption of the screen is extremely low; the battery guarantees a duration at least for the whole working day Its clip for belt is successfully essential and very comfortable. If you need a 4” screen, evaluate Atom L or Atom XL (with Walkie-Talkie feature). More information|
|Ruggear realizes many devices for frontline works; we certificate for VerticalMan, these models for small dimensions and propensity for PTT communication. |
RG360 is a very small smartphone but with an optimum ergonomic.
Both devices have excellent audio, the PTT button and the RG725 have the PTT tuning knob to change the PTT group like a real radio change channel.
All accessories (belt clip, headset or body worn camera) for lone worker are available.
|Two excellent smartphones from Cyrus, company specialized in rugged devices. |
The small CM17 XA is excellent where the dimensions are very important, and the physical keyboard simplify numeric data entry.
The CS22 XA is more similar to a commercial smartphone, but have specifications for frontline worker.
Don’t be swayed that they don’t have the latest Android versions, they have everything you need for business use.
Both devices have the battery removable and a very good high audio to use in PTT and in emergency situations.
In addition, Cyrus smartphones have all the accessories (holsters, charging stations, wireless charging) for professional use.
Ulefone Armor X7 Pro
|Commercial smartphone but with rugged and highly respectable technical features for use in industrial environments and wherever a shock and weather resistant device is required. |
It is an IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810G certified with an excellent 5” screen that can also be used with work gloves.
It is released with Android 10, but unfortunately the 12-month warranty is only provided by the Chinese producer.
|Great device for those looking for a rugged to use for field work. |
Of course, the dimensions (it has a 5.7 “screen) and the weight can be felt, but it is still extremely easy to use.
A very interesting function is the Kiosk Mode which allows the administrator to define the Apps that can be used by the user without the need for other Apps (read SureLock) or company MDMs.
Excellent features for a professional device with a very competitive price.
Athesi is a French company. The warranty and assistance are provided by local distributor in many countries.
The previous version AP5701 have a repairability index 9.4/10, I think the new model have the same high value.
|Excellent rugged smartphone with right dimensions and weight; it’s very ergonomic and use the last Android version; now the 11 but soon the 12. |
The smartphone uses the X-Link technology to simplify mount, charge and data transfer. X-LINK is a very very useful feature.
The warranty for 5 years it is a peculiarity.
For CORE-M5 is available the X-Power station to recharge up to 10 devices at the same time.
The repairability index is high: 8.8/10 all spare parts will be available for 10 years.
Samsung XCover Pro
|Device of the leader brand in the consumer sector. |
It is the most compact of smartphones and is also the one that most resembles a classic consumer phone in size and weight;
From third parties are available many certified accessories: for example Docking station or belt clip holter
It’s the only smartphone includes the Knox that extends all MDM management features, one of the few devices with replaceable battery from user.
Unfortunately, the programmable xcover button, which can be associated with VerticalMan, only works if the smartphone is not in stand-by.
XCover Pro can be a good choice for customer who are looking for an enterprise solution with light smartphone, like consumer device, modern specification and enterprise technical support.
Handheld Nautiz X2
|Very interesting smartphone, from a company specialized in device for harsh environments.
Specification we love:|