You may want a phone that stays protected against damage due to water, shock, scratches, and other factors. A normal phone cannot withstand different damaging elements. This is why you would need an unlocked rugged smartphone. All rugged smartphones are designed to be shockproof, waterproof, dustproof, and scratch-resistant. Without getting scratched, these unlocked rugged smartphones can survive any bump, impact, and drop. Therefore, they are ideal for use outdoors or in pesky environments.
The unlocked phones might cost more upfront, but you stay stress-free about payment plans and contracts. You can pick the device you want and also bring the particular unlocked handset to the best phone carriers for your requirements. If you want a smartphone that fulfills this aspect as well as implemented with the rugged design then you need to choose an unlocked rugged smartphone. The reviews mentioned below help you pick up the best unlocked rugged smartphone.
List of The Best Unlocked Rugged Smartphone
Check out the thorough reviews of the best unlocked rugged smartphone in 2023 below.
The exceptional protection in any outdoor environment and fast performance make this Blackview BL5000 model one of the best unlocked rugged smartphone. Blackview BL5000 5G unlocked phone is equipped with the cutting-edge MT6833 5G processor that offers outstanding performance. With the combination of the fully upgraded Cortex A53 big-core as well as 5G baseband, you can conveniently watch a live video or immerse yourself into the world of 5G.
With a large screen rate of 84%, you will relish an awesome viewing experience. The HDR certification suggests that you can enjoy watching your favorite shows, movies, and games in true-to-life colors and high brightness. Hence, all action scenes appear lag-free.
The body and screen are made up of Gorilla glass for excellent protection. The IP68 level defends the phone and also makes it dustproof, drop-proof, and waterproof. With the help of the underwater mode, you can use the phone in water up to a few meters of depth. The ultra-clear-angle lens enables the camera to record your heroic moment. The pack includes a USB cable, a charger, and a user manual.
- The resolution of its 6.36-inch display is 1080 x 2300 pixels. This full HD+ display offers a cinematic experience. You can navigate smoothly at a high refresh rate and play your favorite games.
- The built-in 4980mAh battery comes with a 30W supercharge support. After a full charge, you can use it constantly for 22 hours of calling, 6 hours of gaming, and 48 hours of music listening.
- The RAM capacity is 8 GB.
- 2 SIM cards are supported i.e. Nano-SIM and Micro-SIM.
Pros And Cons
This Ulefone Power Armor13 4G phone supports various advanced performance standards like IP69K, IP68, and MIL-STD-810G. The construction is tough enough to sustain dust, water, and abrupt drop.
The incorporated infrared distance measure function supports measuring length, volume, area, and Pythagoras. After you enable FM radio, it will play directly, no need to plug in headphones. On the left bottom, an external expansion port is available. It can be connected to an endoscope. Accessories in the pack are an AC power charger, a data cable, a Type-C to USB adapter, an OTG cable, a tempered glass screen protector, a SIM needle, and a multi-language user manual.
- This phone is powered by MediaTek Helio G95 chipset and 8GB RAM facilitates multitasking.
- The storage space is up to 256 GB.
- 6.81-inch FHD+ screen comes with a 20:9 aspect ratio and high screen-to-body ratio.
- The rear camera system includes a 48MP main camera, a 2MP macro camera, an 8 MP wide-angle camera, and a 2MP sub camera. Also, 5 flashes are supported.
- The 16MP front camera is useful for capturing selfies with AI beautification function.
- The built-in 13200mAh battery is implemented with 33W wired fast speed charging. It can be fully charged in 3 hours.
- There is support for OTG function and 15W wireless charging.
- 5W reverse charging can be enabled to power other electronic devices during an emergency.
- Features that support navigation are GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BEIDOU.
- Other features are NFC, OTG, Fingerprint ID, Face ID, and Bluetooth BT5.0.
- A 3.5mm CTIA audio jack is included.
Pros And Cons
What makes this OUKITEL rugged cell phone one of the best unlocked rugged smartphone is that it is compatible with old AT&T SIM card/T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, MetroPCS, etc. So, it comes with broad carrier compatibility.
The OUKITEL WP5 has passed stringent tests to make sure it meets different standards. Moreover, it can withstand shock, extreme temperatures, water, dust, and more. This phone is equipped with excellent durability, huge battery life, and rich features that are explicit to outdoor use cases. So, it is one of the best companions for outdoor sports enthusiasts and industrial workers. Accessories packed in are a Type-C cable, a 5V/2A charger, a SIM card pin, an OTG cable, and a user manual.
- This phone is waterproof and 99% dust-proof (up to 1.5 meters).
- The ultra-strong glass used inside is 5 times stronger than the Corning Gorilla Glass. It can withstand scratches and bumps.
- The display resolution is 720 x 1440 pixels, the screen-to-body ratio is 88%, the aspect ratio is 18:9, and the aperture is f/2.0.
- Other display features are PDAF and AI Beauty.
- The rear camera system is equipped with three lenses i.e. 13 MP, 5 MP, and 2 MP.
- The resolution of the front camera is 5 MP.
- The built-in 8,000 mAh battery offers backup for several days.
Pros And Cons
CAT S41 rugged smartphone is designed to withstand the extreme conditions you come across every day at play and work. It is a durable, waterproof, dust-resistant, and scratch-resistant Android phone. You can drop it, dunk it, or use it in rain without worrying about damage. The phone is tough enough to sustain salt mist spray and thermal shocks. The screen is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. A USB cable and a charger are included in the pack.
- 32GB Storage, 3GB RAM, microSD Card slot, up to 256GB.
- It provides up to 38 hours of talk time and 44 days of standby time.
- It is drop-proof tested for up to 1.8 meters of depth.
- The cellular technology is 2G/3G/4G.
Pros And Cons
Do you want an unlocked rugged smartphone with high RAM capacity and an efficient processor? If yes then the Blackview BV4900 Pro cellphone can be the best unlocked rugged smartphone fulfilling these needs. It is incorporated with 4GB RAM and Helio A22 octa-core processor that contributes to efficient performance. Two SIM cards are supported or you can use a microSD card slot and a SIM card slot.
- The 5.7-inch display comes with HD+ resolution.
- The 13MP rear camera supports three modes namely professional, monochrome and panorama.
- The 5MP front camera can detect a user’s skin tone, age, and lighting conditions.
- The 64GB ROM storage can be expanded up to 128GB.
- The OTG function can utilize the BV4900 phone as a mobile power supply to fulfill the reverse charging needs. So, this phone proves to be more convenient for everyday use.
- The battery capacity is 5580 mAh.
- Navigation features supported are GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou.
Pros And Cons
UMIDIGI Bison X10 PRO’s body is dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof. It meets military standards MIL-STD-810G. This unlocked rugged smartphone can sustain extreme temperatures reaching below 80°C. It can withstand a 1.8 meters fall. Moreover, it can withstand water damage for up to 1.5 meters depth of water, for 30 minutes.
The functions that prove helpful in outdoor environments are noise-canceling dual microphones, noise-canceling speakers, E-compass, barometer, customized water camera mode, and wireless FM radio (headset-free). The signal reception is powerful with the help of enhanced antennas & navigation systems. The support for Android 11 and NFC Google Pay streamlines your lifestyle. Accessories packed in are a screen protector, a Type-C cable, a power adapter, and a quick start guide.
- The 6.53-inch display comes with FHD resolution.
- The built-in processor is Helio P60.
- This UMIDIGI phone supports the following CDMA or GSM networks. GSM carriers: Metro, T-Mobile, Google fi, etc., and CDMA carriers: US mobile, Sprint, red pocket, etc.
- Dual SIM 4G LTE network is supported.
- The battery capacity is 6150 mAh.
- Liquid Cooling System 2.0 is implemented.
- Available sensors are side-mounted fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor, barometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and electronic compass.
Pros And Cons
If you want a phone that can provide excellent protection against dropping damage and support a wide temperature range then Ulefone Armor X8 can be considered. It is the best unlocked rugged smartphone in terms of protection against drop damage, water, dust, and other external parameters. The water tightness and resistance to different external parameters make it an efficient device for outdoor workers.
The heightened frame and convex design over the four corners effectively avoid dropping damage. Moreover, the bi-injection molding process is adopted. You get the following accessories from the pack: an AC power charger adapter, a 100 cm long data cable, a tempered glass protective film, a SIM needle, and a multi-language user manual.
- Ulefone Armor X8 is powered by a 12nm MT6762 octa-core processor and Android 11 OS.
- 4 GB RAM enables you to do multitask and seamlessly switch between apps.
- The 64 GB of available storage space can be expanded up to 256 GB.
- 5.7-inch HD+ IPS display comes with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 75.8% screen to body ratio. The display resolution is 1440 x 720 pixels.
- The display contains high hardness glass to avoid damages and scratches.
- The touchscreen display can be used when wet and while wearing gloves up to 1.5mm thick.
- L-sensor, P-sensor, G-sensor, and acceleration sensor are available.
- The 13 MP triple rear camera (f/2.2 aperture) and two 2 MP sub-cameras allow you to capture elegant scenery.
- The resolution of the front camera is 8 MP (f/2.4 aperture).
- The built-in 5080mAh battery lets you text, chat, and play games for hours through a single full charge.
- The temperature range it can withstand is -4°F(-20°C) to 131°F (55°C).
- The phone has passed the MIL-STD-810G, IP68, and P69K tests to prove its robustness.
Pros And Cons
DOOGEE S88 Plus stays undamaged when dropped on a concrete surface from 1.5 meters of height. It is found waterproof for up to 2 hours, at depth of 1.5 meters. Moreover, it has passed the MIL-STD-810G standard test. This implies that this phone can endure different harsh environments. The Corning glass avoids scratches and screen damage.
To improve the user interface, the manufacturer equipped this phone with different indicator lights. A large indicator light flashes whenever there is a message on the phone. The indicator light flashes blue if there are unread messages and missed calls. It turns red during charging and green when fully charged.
- The triple rear camera system highlights 48 MP + 8 MP + 8 MP cameras.
- AI algorithm is implemented in the main camera system to enrich pixels and colors. So, you can always capture high-quality photos both in the daytime and nighttime.
- The resolution of the AI selfie camera is 16 MP.
- 80° wide-angle lens and 130° super wide-angle camera offer you a wide high-quality viewing angle.
- The combination of 8 GB RAM and 128 GB ROM offers sufficient buffer space that allows this cell phone to accomplish multitasking. No worries about lag.
- Helio P70 has an AI processing efficiency that is 70% higher than P60.
- Android 10 OS comes with the latest gesture navigation system.
- The powerful battery provides up to 50 hours of talk time, 38 days of standby, 30 hours of gaming, and 20 hours of video playback.
- This phone can act as a charging station for other electronic gadgets.
Pros And Cons
How To Pick The Best Unlocked Rugged Smartphone?
Following these aspects, you can easily shortlist the best unlocked rugged smartphone.
Though these unlock rugged smartphones are designed to work in all outdoor environments, you still need to check their durability. Check whether your chosen rugged phone can withstand a high drop and impact. Also, check whether it’s drop-proof or not. Some of the best unlocked rugged smartphones are tested to be drop-proof on the concrete surface from up to 1.8 meters.
It is recommended to check impact resistance and waterproof capacity. This feature is useful for use in cold weather and water activities. To ensure excellent durability, look for a rugged smartphone that meets performance standards like MIL-STD-810G, IP69K, and IP68. Moreover, many of the best unlock rugged smartphones have displays equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
The key focus of unlocked rugged smartphones is not display. So, some manufacturers compromise with the display quality. Still, you need to carefully check the display parameters like display size, resolution, aspect ratio, etc. It is recommended to choose the one with a Full HD display for the best viewing experience. Usually, the display size is around 6 inches like 5.7 inches, 6.3 inches, etc.
3. Battery life
Look at the battery capacity and run time before choosing an unlocked rugged smartphone. Check the number of hours supported for gaming, talk time, standby time, and music playback time. For example, some of the best unlocked rugged smartphones come with up to 38 hours of talk time, up to 48 days of standby time, 48 hours of listening time, etc. A phone with a drained battery cannot work well in adventurous activities. So, look for an unlocked rugged smartphone with a very powerful battery life.
4. Signal reception
Because these rugged smartphones are built tough and use thick materials, the signal reception may be affected. So, check the signal specifications before purchasing. It is better to choose the one with a 4G connection that ensures a powerful WiFi connection with great stability and reliability.
FAQs When Picking The Best Unlocked Rugged Smartphone
1. When do you need a rugged smartphone?
If you want to work in an outdoor environment or enjoy activities like hiking, cycling, etc. then look for a rugged smartphone. These smartphones can withstand extreme outdoor conditions without any compromise in durability and performance. They can withstand exposure to dust, dirt, water, and extreme temperatures. Even in the snow, you can confidently use them without any worries about water leakage.
2. What carrier specifications do you need to look for when choosing to unlock a rugged smartphone?
The best unlocked rugged smartphone support CDMA carriers like red pocket, Sprint, US mobile, etc., and GSM carriers like Metro, T-Mobile, Google fi, etc.
These unlocked rugged smartphones are extremely durable and are not tied to one specific carrier. They come in an extremely rugged design, powerful battery life, and plenty of features explicit to outdoor use cases. The best unlocked rugged smartphone comes with water and dust resistance as standard elements, drop and shock-proof design, thermal cameras, air quality sensors, and all necessary features that help in the field. Their shells or cases are tough enough so that even if you drop them on hard surfaces, they would not break.
Enjoyed this unlocked rugged smartphone review? Then be sure to check out our other guide of the Best Flip Phone for Seniors.