Droid Braves The Elements: The 5 Toughest Android Devices You Can Buy Right Now

Matt Smith 28-05-2013

toughest android phone


Smartphones can do far more than old-fashioned flip phones and bricks, but their large displays and thin bodies make them more vulnerable to damage. According to SquareTrade, a company that sells third-party warranties for electronics, up to 12% of all Android phones fall victim to an accident each year. Some can be repaired, some can’t, and both repair and replacement prove to be expensive solutions.

These numbers may make a durable Android phone seem a good choice. That’s especially true for people who work in environments that are tough on electronics. Durable phones are not as common as their more fragile counterparts, but there’s a handful of choices available.

Casio G’zOne Commando

toughest android phone

The Casio G’zOne Commando, released in 2011, is the veteran of this group. In some other situations that might be a good thing, but in this case it’s a bit of a disadvantage. The Commando wasn’t blazing fast at release and, by today’s standards, it’s quite slow. And although military-rated for shock, dust and temperature, the phone is only “splash” proof, which means it probably won’t survive if dropped in a sink or tub.

  • Operating system: Android 2.3
  • Display: 3.6″ 480×800 resolution
  • Processor: Single-core 800 MHz SnapDragon
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 1024MB internal, expandable up to 32GB
  • 4G LTE capable?: No

As you can see, the Commando doesn’t really stack up on paper. Still, it was considered one of the best durable smartphones at the time of its release and, due to age, it can now be had for just over $100 on eBay and goes for about $200 on (without contract).


This phone is only guaranteed to work on Verzion Wireless and absolutely won’t work with any GSM carrier.

Cat B15 [No Longer Available]

toughest android tablet

The “Cat” stands for Caterpillar. You know – the company that makes bulldozers. They sell phones, too, and the B15 (announced at Mobile World Conference 2013) is the company’s first smartphone. Though new, the B15’s specifications are middling.

  • Operating system: Android 4.1
  • Display: 4″ 480×800
  • Processor: Dual-core 1GHz
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB internal, expandable up to 32GB
  • 4G LTE capable?: No

What the phone lacks in specs it tries to make up with durability. The device’s fat frame promises protection against water and dust in accordance with the IP67 standard, which means it is entirely protected from dust and can survive a bath in up to one meter of water. Caterpillar also promises the phone can survive drops from as high as 1.8 meters.


This phone is designed to work on GSM networks and is widely available in Europe. Prices range between 300-350 Euros. Only one carrier, Quality One Wireless (which I’ve never even heard of) sells this phone in the United States at an off-contract price of $329.

Kyocera Torque [No Longer Available]

toughest android tablet

The Kyocera Torque is among the most well-reviewed rugged Android phones available today, due to its combination of good specifications with a very rugged exterior. Have a look for yourself.

  • Operating system: Android 4.0
  • Display: 4″ 480×800
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 4G internal, expandable up to 32GB
  • 4G LTE capable?: Yes

As you can see, the Torque boasts a modern dual-core processor, a gigabyte of RAM and a wireless radio capable of 4G speeds What Is 4G, And Is Your Mobile Really Getting 4G Speeds? [MakeUseOf Explains] This ads will tell you that 4G is awesome. Fast as lightening, or a motorbike, or a race car. But what does that mean in the real world? Is a 4G phone really going to... Read More on Sprint’s North American (CDMA) network. These make the Torque a far more modern entry than the Commando and B15. You might think these features would raise the price, but in fact the phone is sold for one cent with a contract or for $349.99 off-contract.


What about durability? The Torque is rated to the same IP67 standards as the Caterpillar and also rated to Military standard 810G, which means the device can survive adverse conditions like high humidity, low atmospheric pressure, and much more. The only real hitch is availability, as the Torque is only sold for use with Sprint.

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2

toughest android tablet

The Galaxy Xcover 2 is the latest in a long line of rugged phones sold by Samsung. This is the newest phone on this list, so it’s no surprise that the device offers recent hardware that can keep up with Kyocera’s impressive Torque.

  • Operating system: Android 4.1.2
  • Display: 4″ 480×800
  • Processor: Dual-core 1GHz
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 4GB internal, expandable up to 32GB
  • 4G LTE capable?: No

The main technical difference between the Xcover 2 and the Torque is 4G LTE support. The Torque has it, while the Xcover 2 doesn’t. However, this phone does support speeds of just over 7MB/s on AT&T’s GSM network, and may be capable of the same elsewhere. Durability is similar as this phone is rated to the same IP67 standard as the Cat B15 and the Torque.


As a GSM phone the Xcover is available in numerous markets across the world. Pricing falls between $300 and $350 in most markets, though there’s some variance depending on local currencies.

If you can’t find the Xcover 2, check out the Galaxy Rugby Pro. That phone came out late last year and is similar in both specifications and durability.

Any Android phone (with a case)

toughest android phone

These phones are indeed tough, but are all penalized for their durability. They are thick, heavy and not particularly fast relative to the best Android phones The 4 Best Android Phones Available Right Now Buying an Android phone is more complicated than buying an iPhone. There are literally thousands of choices, most of which are terrible (but also inexpensive). Homing in on the best requires time, research, consideration and... Read More on the market. Low prices absorb some of that blow, sure, but these devices aren’t going to work for people who want to experience the best Android has to offer.

That’s why an Android phone with a rugged case, like Otterbox Defender Giveaway: iPhone 4 Defender (+ Commuter Cases by Otterbox) Read More or the Seidio OBEX, can be a good choice. These cases provide protection when you need them, but still let you own a cutting-edge device, and they can be removed so the phone takes up less space when used in a safe environment.

The only real issue is price, as you’ll have to pay both for the phone and for the case, which can tack on another $50.


While the Torque seems like the best option overall, its limited availability will keep it out of hands of most readers.  As such, the Xcover 2 is probably the best bet for most people reading this article.

Which rugged Android phone is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Peggy
    July 11, 2013 at 3:24 am

    I LOVE my Torque. I use it as an underwater camera at the pool. It's the perfect mom phone!! Kid proof, waterproof, drop proof. I wish my house and car were as everything proof!!!

  2. Heather
    May 31, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Torque (I carry one. Love it)

  3. Yosua
    May 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Xperia ZR obviously not the toughest, but it capable of underwater HD video recording.

  4. Manuth Chek
    May 29, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I do have the very "bricky" Nokia E90 though LOL

  5. Kay Fritz
    May 29, 2013 at 5:18 am

    What about the new Sony Xperia? Here´s a link to a youtube video of an austrian testing duo from A1 that did some extreme tests:

  6. Alejandro Ruete
    May 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I own an Xcover2 and I'm very pleased with it for field work... no worries about it. BUT, the screen is not as tough as promoted. You may want to buy a Copter screen protector or alike.

  7. Richard Borkovec
    May 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Let's hope that Samsung shows these all up with the S4 Active. Rugged phones does not need to equal lower powered/out-dated tech.

  8. wulan
    May 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Here is Another one which I thought is the toughest of all : Runbo x3 and x5 !