The 5 Most Important Features in a Rugged Smartphone

You’re looking into buying a rugged smartphone device but you’re not sure what to look for. This post will focus on the top 5 features you should look for.

You’re looking into buying a rugged smartphone device but you’re not sure what to look for. When it comes to buying a rugged smartphone for your business, the landscape is very different from when you’re choosing your own personal consumer device. Whilst the latest Samsung Galaxy might be the perfect companion for your everyday personal or business life, it’ll suck at delivering in an enterprise scenario.

But why is that?  This post hopes to give you with some knowledge on what are the top 5 things to look for in a rugged smartphone and ensure you get the best chance of success in your mobile enterprise deployment whether it’s 1 or 100 devices.


As mobile is taking over businesses and our personal lives, battery longevity has become the number ONE issue we talk about day in day out with prospective buyers.  For enterprise devices, you need a really great big built in battery.  Add on packs Are OK, but costly. They also aren’t rugged or waterproof and often add a level of complexity to the device. So a big base battery is what’s needed.

Raptor R5 Rugged smartphone with 6000mAh battery options

Raptor R5 rugged smartphone with 6000mAh battery options

3600mAh is the standard these days, but the bigger, the better. Our Raptor R5 has a class leading 6000mah option which means you can run your devices all day, without having to charge or buy costly accessories to keep them running.


From all the rugged smartphone features, this is probably the most important one to consider, as security is a big issue. As mobile becomes the norm in business, having a device that isn’t sharing its info out without you knowing about it, is not acceptable and possibly even breaking the law. Always ask about the Operating System, where it came from, and who developed it, as most of the cheap stuff coming out of China has all kinds of apps on them that would be a security managers nightmare.

This is also a challenge for anyone using consumer smartphones from brands like Samsung, HTC, Google, etc. The problem with these devices is that you never quite know when they’re taking data off your phone and some smartphones, such as the latest Galaxy devices and iPhones, won’t let you use them without doing so. But is it right that your staff’s location data is being shared?

How do you get round this?  We do it by bespoke our OS’s so they can be Google connected or not.  We also strip out every piece of rogue application we can find to leave a clean, secure device ready for business.

Quality but at a price

Consumers, whether people or businesses, demand quality in what they buy today. This means that not only does the product have to do what it’s intended but the whole experience must be easy, simple and just work for years and not a few weeks. As with the above section on security, look for the most simple, Android experience you can get.  Devices with lots of apps stuffed into them are taking up valuable room and could also be doing all kinds behind the scenes.  Also look for decent repair services, a portal and fast basic repair. These are a must to keep your business running, as it’s an ecosystem of products and services designed to help your business run smoothly.

Lastly, the product itself needs to be simple and easy to use and of a great quality.  Too many devices have too many extras that break or make them confusing. The rule of thumb here is to make sure you’re getting as close to the “vanilla” Android experience as you can. Loof for a device that’s well-built, is simple and easy to use and has the right service in the place to help you when you need it.

This also has to be done at the right price. The days of £1000 Rugged devices are gone, so don’t be fooled by the hype on that.  On the flip side, cheap £150 devices are just that…cheap.  No one is making money in that case and you will lose it too as you get no support and no quality. £300-400 should see you get the right balance between quality and price. Look for that middle ground.


There’s a trend at the moment in the smartphone industry that waterproof = rugged, but it’s far from that.  An enterprise device needs to be fully rugged, meaning a lot of things, such as:

  • Being waterproof
  • Drop-proof
  • Designed correctly
  • Rugged features for long-term usage.

LCD Screens

Screen sizes just get bigger and bigger!

Screen sizes just get bigger and bigger!

Like with your smartphone, LCD screens need to be bigger these days.  Typically, 5″ is the sweet spot in the rugged world but that’s where the similarity ends. When buying your own personal phone, you’re hoping to view movies, play games and get the best colour from your LCD screen. So pixel density, resolution and the latest OLED panel tech is what you’re after.

However if one of your workers is doing that on your business phone then you haven’t chosen the right phone. The problem with all of this is that higher LCD specs need lots of battery power to run them. Try leaving your iPhone on all day and see how long it lasts. You’ll see that having a device that can be used all day long but gives 8 hours of use is only attainable if you cut out some of the unnecessary LCD features.

Whilst you shouldn’t look for the latest and greatest here, there are few things you should look for.

Firstly make sure the screen resolution is a standard size. Quarter HD or even HD is perfect.  If not, then developing software or running apps can just be a little bit more involved.

Secondly, brightness is still important because if you’re using your smartphone outside all day then you’ll want to be able to easily read it.

Posted by "Durable" Dave

My background is web/mobile software, mobile hardware, where I worked with some of the earliest PDA's on the market from HP and Microsoft and data capture where i've sold all of the main brands of rugged kit you'll find!

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