The ruggedized Android dominating our thoughts for the moment may be the Galaxy S 4 Active, and while we’re still waiting for much of this info we have on the phone to be confirmed, one item seems like a given: it’s going to be expensive. If a reliable elements-proof construction is important to you but you don’t have $600 to drop on a new smartphone, you may want to take a look at the Cat B15, which today goes up for sale online to North American customers.
We first heard of this guy back at the Mobile World Congress, where we had the opportunity to go hands-on with the sturdy handset. It’s far from a top-tier model with specs like a dual-core MediaTek SoC, four-inch WVGA display, 1GB of RAM, and just 4GB flash storage, but features like support for microSD expansion help mitigate at least some of those shortcomings.
The important thing for the B15 is how well it holds up, and this phone should be able to take a dunk in a meter of water for half an hour, and is pretty much full-on dust-proof. It’s available carrier-unlocked (3G support on 850/1900/2100 bands) for just about $350.