Best rugged Android phone 2024

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Nokia XR20 lying among leaves with its display facing forward

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

1. At a glance
2. Best overall
3. Runner up
4. Best value
5. Best battery
6. Best compact
7. How to choose

Smartphones these days are pretty fragile. That shouldn't be a surprise, considering they're designed with shiny glass back panels, smooth metal frames, and other sleek elements to make them attractive but not very tough. That's all well and good if you prefer form over function, but what if you couldn't care less about looks and simply want a device that you don't need to baby all the time? This is where rugged phones, which are designed to take a beating, come into the picture.

The best rugged Android phones don't get a lot of attention, but they're a must-have for the millions of people who need something that can withstand the rigors of their job or lifestyle. Of course, like every other category of smartphones, there are quite a lot of them to pick from.

Do note that these aren't the kind of smartphones we'd usually recommend if you're shopping for the best Android phone, as they often tend to be a bit basic in terms of overall performance, camera quality, and things like that. However, these things are extremely sturdy and can withstand even the harshest of environments. They often also come with additional features like night vision cameras and big batteries.

Having tested and reviewed hundreds of them, these are some of the best rugged Android phones we've found. Read all about them and take your pick!

At a glance

Best overall

samsung galaxy xcover6 pro lifestyle image

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro

Best overall

Specifications

Display: 6.6-inch IPS LCD, 1080x2408 pixels resolution
Chipset / SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB, expandable via microSD card
OS: Android 12 (pre-installed)
Cameras: 50MP + 8MP (rear), 13MP (front)
Battery: 4,050mAh, 25W wired charging

Reasons to buy

+
Capable hardware
+
Programmable 'Active Key'
+
4 years of platform and 5 years of security updates
+
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ protection
+
Removable battery

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless charging support
-
Dated 'Dewdrop' display

While Samsung's flagships are undoubtedly among the best Android phones available out there, they're all quite fragile. If you want something that's a bit more rugged from the brand, look no further than the Galaxy XCover6 Pro.

Powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 778G SoC, the Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro features 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, with the latter being expandable via a microSD card. Its 6.6-inch TFT LCD panel may not compare to the AMOLED screens found on top-of-the-line smartphones, but the display is still sharp and big enough for everyday tasks. It's also secured with a layer of Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus+ for improved protection against any and all kinds of damage. The smartphone complies with the MIL-STD-810H standard, which means it can survive being dropped from a height up to 1.5m. It's also backed by an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

Benefiting from Samsung's excellent software update policy, the Galaxy XCover6 Pro will be updated (at least) to Android 15. It features a dual-lens rear camera system with 4K video recording. Rounding off the spec sheet is a removable 4,050mAh battery with 25W fast charging support.

Runner up

Nokia XR20 standing upright on a table with its back shown off

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)
Runner up

Specifications

Display: 6.67-inch IPS LCD, 1080x2400 pixels resolution
Chipset / SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 480
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB, expandable via microSD card
OS: Android 11 (pre-installed)
Cameras: 48MP + 13MP (rear), 8MP (front)
Battery: 4,630mAh, 18W/15W wired & wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+
Robust build quality
+
Customizable top button
+
Three years of platform, four years of security updates
+
Relatively minimal design
+
Wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Dated hardware
-
No 4K video recording

Back in the day, Nokia phones were known for being indestructible, but those were the days of 'feature phones,' and smartphones of today are entirely different. Even then, the Nokia XR20 manages to continue the legacy of its predecessor(s) with its ultra-rugged design, IP68-rated dust and water resistance, as well as military-grade construction. You also get a 3.5mm audio port and a microSD card slot, which are big pluses in today's world.

The XR20 has biometric unlocking and will be supported until 2024, with the Android 14 update. Since most rugged phones hardly get one platform update, it's leaps and bounds ahead of its competition, despite being quite dated now. The big battery can be charged via USB-C and wirelessly, and the primary sensor shoots decent images.

Unlike most rugged Android phones on the market, the Nokia XR20 doesn't embrace the heavy-duty aesthetic and opts for a lighter, more mature form factor. Although the Snapdragon 480 SoC inside isn't exactly the greatest, it does bring 5G support and decent performance. Overall, this is still one of the better rugged phones available in the market right now, even more so if you can get it at a discount.

Best value

AGM H5 Pro leaning against a car tire on the ground outdoors

(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)
Best value

Specifications

Display: 6.52-inch IPS LCD, 720x1600 pixels resolution
Chipset / SoC: MediaTek Helio G85
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB, expandable via microSD card
OS: Android 12 (pre-installed)
Cameras: 48MP + 20MP + 2MP (rear), 20MP (front)
Battery: 7,000mAh, 15W wired charging

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in 109dB loudspeaker
+
Clean Android 12 software
+
IR Night Vision camera
+
IP68/IP69K rating
+
Big 7,000mAh battery

Reasons to avoid

-
No 5G connectivity
-
Won't get any OS updates

With an integrated 109dB loudspeaker, the AGM H5 Pro packs in the loudest audio output of just about any Android phone out there. It's cheaper compared to most of the other rugged phones out there and offers stock Android software, along with an extremely durable design backed by IP68 and IP69K ratings. Since there's an IR sensor too, you can shoot videos and photos with night vision, which is really cool.

Although the camera setup isn't the best, you'll be satisfied with the H5 Pro's specs as they can take any flagship Android phone head-on. If 128GB storage isn't enough, you can always increase it via the microSD card slot. You'll be amazed by the gigantic 7,000mAh battery, but charging it up will take its sweet time.

AGM H5 Pro comes with clean stock Android 12 software right out of the box, so it's easy and fun to use. Sadly, the phone won't get any more OS upgrades.

Best battery

Ulefone Power Armor 13 held in one hand

(Image credit: Ulefone)

4. Ulefone Power Armor 13

Best battery

Specifications

Display: 6.81-inch IPS LCD, 1080x2400 pixels resolution
Chipset / SoC: MediaTek Helio G95
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB, expandable via microSD card
OS: Android 12 (pre-installed)
Cameras: 48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP (rear), 16MP (front)
Battery: 13,200mAh, 33W/15W wired & wireless charging

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing 13,200mAh battery
+
Wireless and reverse wireless charging
+
Customizable hardware key
+
IP68 water and dust resistance
+
Clean, ad-free Android experience

Reasons to avoid

-
Average cameras
-
Lacks 5G connectivity

When looking for the best rugged Android phone, you'll want something that lasts all day, has plenty of extra tools to make life (and work) easier, and has enough power to handle everyday tasks. Ulefone's Power Armor 13 delivers on all these fronts, as it offers an infrared distance measuring feature, which is just one of the many built-in goodies it comes with.

Powered by MediaTek's Helio G95 SoC, the Power Armor 13 has 8GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, a large 6.81-inch display, and a gargantuan 13,200mAh battery. The heavy-duty phone touts IP68 water and dust resistance, and an enduring design that is compliant with the MIL-STD-810G standard.

Impressively, Ulefone Power Armor 13 features 33W wired, 15W wireless, and even 5W reverse wireless charging. This means you can top up other devices or phones that charge wirelessly with this thing. It's worth mentioning that there's no support for 5G, and the cameras aren't anything to write home about either.

Best compact

doogee smini lifestyle image

(Image credit: Doogee)

5. Doogee Smini

Best compact

Specifications

Display: 4.5-inch IPS LCD, 480x1170 pixels resolution
Chipset / SoC: MediaTek Helio G99
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB, expandable via microSD card
OS: Android 13 (pre-installed)
Cameras: 50MP + 2MP (rear), 8MP (front)
Battery: 3,000mAh, 18W wired charging

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly compact and lightweight
+
NFC with Google Pay support
+
Convenient secondary display
+
256GB internal storage
+
Hybrid dual-SIM functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
No 5G capability
-
Low resolution display

It's nigh impossible to find a smartphone these days that can be used with one hand, which is why we're glad that something like Doogee Smini exists. If you despise huge devices and want something that's both tough and pocketable, this is the answer.

Measuring 5.24 x 2.36 x 0.53 inches and weighing a mere 5.47 ounces, the Smini is a compact wonder. It's driven by a MediaTek Helio G99 chipset and comes with 8GB of RAM. You also get 256GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to an incredible 2TB via a microSD card. The smartphone's 4.5-inch IPS LCD panel might take some time getting used to, but it works well for what it is. You even get a nifty secondary display on the back that shows information like battery level. Compliant with the MIL-STD-810H standard, the Smini also comes with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

Doogee's software update policy isn't exactly the best out there, which means the Smini will probably remain on Android 13. That said, you do get a dual-lens primary camera setup, along with goodies like NFC payments, face unlock, and a 3,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging.

How to choose

If we had to make a rugged choice

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

All of the above-mentioned best rugged Android phones are great in their own right, but if we had to pick a winner, it'd be Samsung's Galaxy XCover6 Pro. While not really a flagship, it comes with more than decent hardware that's capable of making quick work of just about anything you throw at it. It also has a removable battery, which is a rarity these days, and is backed by an excellent software update policy. In fact, the XCover6 Pro can even hold its own against a mainstream value-for-money device like the Google Pixel 7a. We also suggest checking out Nokia's XR20, which continues to be a fairly good option despite being a little old at this point. It won't get any updates beyond Android 14 but features like wireless charging and stereo speakers make it a solid choice.

If you're not a fan of bulky smartphones, you're going to love Doogee's Smini. Much smaller than the best small phones currently available in the market, it comes with features like a secondary display on the back, 256GB onboard storage that you can expand up to 2TB, and NFC for hassle-free payments.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

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