Sure, smartphones are sexy. But most can't take a beating. Geared toward use by mobile workers or people on work sites, these rugged phones are built to withstand tough conditions. We roughed them up to see just how much abuse they can take.
Casio G'zOne Commando
This 5.5-ounce Android smartphone has a bright 3.6-inch touchscreen, large front speakers, a 5-megapixel camera, and a hard plastic shell. It survived an hour in the freezer, a dousing with coffee, and a drop into a gravel pit, but the screen broke when we whacked it against a metal chair. Sound quality during calls was average. The phone lasts about 7.5 hours fully charged.
Cost: $450, or $200 with a two-year Verizon contract
The least rugged option here, this 5.2-ounce Android smartphone has a plastic shell, a 3.1-inch touchscreen, a full QWERTY keyboard, and a 5-megapixel camera. The phone, which is not designed to withstand spills, survived a short drop into a gravel pit and an hour in the freezer (though the screen looked blurry for about 10 minutes afterward). Calls on the phone sounded a bit faint, and the battery lasts only about 6.5 hours.
Cost: $420, or $170 with a Sprint contract
Sonim XP3300 Force
The toughest model we tested, this 6.5-ounce phone has a hardened rubber and fiberglass shell. It does not have a touchscreen or the ability to connect to Wi-Fi, but it does let you check e-mail and surf the Web using a cellular connection. The phone, which has a 2-megapixel camera, emerged from a day of abuse with only one small scratch on the screen. The phone lasts a whopping 20 to 24 hours on a full charge, but call quality was just so-so.
Samsung Convoy 2
This 3.9-ounce clamshell phone has two small screens, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and a push-to-talk feature. You can access e-mail or the Web via a cellular connection. It survived all our tests except one: When we smashed it against a chair, the directional buttons stopped working, though we could still make calls and send texts. The phone, which has a plastic shell and lasts nine hours on a charge, had the best call quality of the bunch.
Cost: $250, or $100 with a Verizon contract