by Jules Wang | March 28, 2016 10:56 PM
So, you're on the jobsite or off the road. If you need to be connected and capable beyond what, say, a Galaxy S6 Active (or Galaxy S7 Active) can afford, well, hopefully you have that beefy, cased-up laptop with you. Well, that's the capable part down, but what about being connected? Keep in mind that you're still in rough and tumble territory, here. Well, AT&T is about to release the Unite Explore. It's the first mobile Wi-Fi hotspot with an IP65 rating and that meets the MIL-STD-810G standard. That's good to protect the device from four-foot drops, light-pressure water jets and dust. ...
by Jules Wang | February 23, 2016 12:20 AM
We've already found one Windows 10 Mobile device fit for business at MWC this year, why not grab another one? Panasonic, the creators of the cameraphone (emphasis on camera), has just launched the Toughpad in both Windows 10 Mobile (FZ-F1) and Android 5.1.1 (FZ-N1) flavors. The company's very used to making its Toughpad devices — we last covered two of them in 2013. Both phones come running an advanced version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 chipset at 2.3GHz. That engine powers a 4.7-inch 720p screen and is assisted by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. What really matters on these devices ...
by Juan Carlos Bagnell | February 3, 2016 2:10 PM
The LG V10 has been criticized for being a bit on the chunky side, but that casing comes with the advertised benefit of MIL-STD-810G drop and shock resistance. I’ve been critical of the smartphone industry of late for building pretty phones, but phones that don’t seem well designed to survive daily lifestyle abuse without assistance. I usually use my phones naked (in that the phone is used without a case, not that I am sans clothes). I reserve my case use for specific situations. Trip to the grocery store? No case. Aggressive hike in the hills? Rugged case. Fancy night out? Maybe a ...
by Juan Carlos Bagnell | February 3, 2016 6:03 AM
We're none of us fans here of intentionally breaking gadgets, but when a phone's main selling point is durability, we try to find ways to test those claims. The tricky thing about rugged phones, there is no such thing as a truly indestructible device. If you try to break a rugged phone, eventually you will succeed. Still, we can learn a lot about how this gadget handled the abuse we lobbed at it. The Kyocera Duraforce XD gives off a monster first impression, but how well does that thicker, reinforced casing, stand up to tough conditions? Will the waterproofing fail after a bad drop? We put ...
by Jules Wang | October 7, 2015 7:32 PM
The folks at Caterpillar at back at it again. In addition to the yellow backhoes, drill rigs and articulated trucks, Caterpillar also puts out phones it contracts the Bullitt Group to make. We've covered rugged phones from Cat and Kyocera before. Now, we're hearing of the companies' newest rugged phone running Android 5.1. Meet the Cat S40. It's not the snappiest thing around, but it will put up a defense against the elements: [table] Component,Description Screen size,4.7 inches Screen type,IPS LCD Glass type,Corning Gorilla Glass 4 Resolution,960 x 540 Pixel density,234 ppi SoC,Qualcomm ...
by Michael Fisher | June 23, 2015 6:54 PM
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are absolutely beautiful smartphones … but they're also absolutely impractical for anything resembling a sporty lifestyle. Enter the Galaxy S6 Active, a heavyweight version of the 2015 flagship built to take tougher treatment and last longer on a single charge. We covered the differences between them in a comparison last week; now, after seven days, it’s time to render our final verdict. Does the Galaxy S6 Active correct the problems faced by its two Active forebears? Is it worth considering over its well-regarded siblings in the S6 ...
by Taylor Martin | August 28, 2014 7:05 PM
Our own Michael Fisher proved last week that it is possible to scratch a synthetic sapphire display on a smartphone. Specifically, he roughed up the Kyocera Brigadier through several heinous tests, and impact with a hard material got the better of the extra hard sapphire. No less, the Brigadier is an impressively rugged smartphone that has both the IP certifications and the real world beefiness to back up the claims. But handling a drop or dunk in water isn't all that this phone is capable of. In this video, we cover three of the Kyocera Brigadier features you may not know about!
by Taylor Martin | July 8, 2014 8:36 PM
An unadulterated, high-end, rugged, flagship smartphone. That's the sort of thing that makes some tech enthusiasts weak in the knees, including our own Michael Fisher. Inherently, smartphones have become more fragile over the years as priorities have changed – both within the walls of the manufacturers and the personal preferences of the average consumer. We want bigger screens, thinner chassis, better cameras, faster CPUs, more memory and storage, larger speakers, longer battery life, and more connectivity options, like LTE-A, NFC, Qi, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi ac, etc. We want all these ...
by Michael Fisher | June 18, 2014 10:41 PM
We've said it before: durable smartphones shouldn't have to be crappy ones. After all, these things are supposed to be “life companions.” You want a device that can keep up with you no matter how muddy, wet, or bumpy your slog through life becomes – and you shouldn't have to sacrifice specs for that level of durability. Samsung gave us a taste of that best-of-both-worlds experience with last year's Galaxy S 4 Active, but in doing so it introduced significant compromise to the spec sheet. When the new Galaxy S5 launched earlier this spring as a waterproof flagship for the ...
by Michael Fisher | August 22, 2013 1:45 PM
I’ve learned that there are two things about being a smartphone-and-tablet reviewer. The first thing: you get to handle awesome gadgetry days or weeks ahead of its official release date, and you’re not just allowed to use the heck out of it; you need to, in order to do your job. That’s the awesome thing. The other, less-awesome thing: you eventually have to give it all back. Empty Nest is a recurring column discussing what I miss -and what I don’t- about the devices I’ve had to return. • I was chest-deep in Walden Pond, holding my Lumia 1020 above my head to capture a shot ...
by Joe Levi | July 29, 2013 9:40 PM
Not long ago we unboxed and showed off the hardware of the NEC Terrain for AT&T. But you weren't content with just that, you wanted to see us abuse it. Some people might call me "soft". I have a desk-job. I drive a Prius. Other than the goatee, on the outside I'm not what most people would call "rugged". While that may be what most people see, I also build stuff. I get my hands dirty. While I won't claim to be as rugged as others who do really hard work every day, I can certainly value the benefits of a good, durable smartphone that I won't have to worry about breaking. Luckily, the ...
by Joe Levi | July 19, 2013 11:11 AM
NEC doesn't have a substantial presence in the Android market today. However, with its new device, the NEC Terrain, NEC makes a bold statement, billing the rugged device as "the World's most SOLID smartphone". The Terrain is rated IP-67 for dust and water immersion; and Military 810G for shock, extreme temperatures, and salt fog; yet it still manages to cram a push-to-talk button and QWERTY keyboard inside its rugged shell. As far as specifications are concerned, the first thing you'll want to note is that it comes with a somewhat dated version of Android: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4. The ...
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