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Putting Rugged Smartphones to the Test

By: Rich DeMuro
July 10, 2013

Smartphones aren’t cheap, so we do what we can to protect our investments with cases and the like, but one drop can mean the end.

Now a new line of heavy-duty phones come built to handle water, a drop, and more.

We’re putting some popular rugged phones to the test.

First up is Sprint’s Kyocera Torque.

It’s shockproof, dust resistant, handles extreme temperatures, can go one meter underwater for up to 30 minutes–and it’s even endorsed by Man Vs. Wild star and nature survivalist Bear Grylls.

The phone also has a Smart Sonic feature that converts sound waves into vibrations, letting you put the phone anywhere to your head to hear callers in loud situations.

When we put the Torque to the test, it took a beating, but still worked perfectly.

Next up is Samsung’s Rugby Pro. It features a scratch resistant touch screen, plus military specs mean it’s shockproof. It’s almost as durable as the Torque, but in our tests the battery door kept falling off when we dropped the phone.

Boost Mobile’s Hydro isn’t as full featured as its competitors, but it does well in water and features a 3.2MP camera with flash and video.

Finally, what might be your best buy for a rugged phone is Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 Active, exclusive to AT&T. It’s not as durable as Torque or Rugby, but it has a useful underwater camera called Aqua and the best features all around.

The phones range from $80 to $200 and give you peace of mind–they just don’t look as slick as their more delicate counterparts.

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