Most tablets are designed for homebodies and can barely handle a fall onto a carpet, let alone a hard surface; they can't survive any water, either. You'll need a rugged tablet if you have to take your tablet to work or on the go in rough environments.
Samsung is the one rugged tablet brand we trust, and our absolute favorite — the Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro with built-in LTE — is $270 off for Prime Day, the lowest price we've seen on the 2022 tablet. It has military-grade protection against shock/falls, water, salt, dust, and heat; it can sit in water for a half-hour or be dropped on a hard surface from 4 feet and not take any damage; it has a removable battery; and it has surprisingly good performance on par with a lot of popular 2023 phones.
Most rugged tablets use low-tier chips on par with a Fire tablet; the Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro's Snapdragon 778G is found in popular mid-to-upper-tier phones like the Nothing Phone (1) and Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G, helping you avoid a laggy experience. Samsung's software prowess means that it'll be protected on the software end as well as hardware. And the S Pen is a nice addition for enterprise uses.
I recently compared the Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro against the Galaxy Tab S8 and was surprised at how well the rugged tablet competes against Samsung's dainty flagship tablet. And compared to most rugged tablets from less reputable brands that get no promised support, you'll eventually get Android 15 and years of security updates down the line.
As for other rugged tools, the tablet's display recognizes touches when you're wearing gloves, it comes with a case in the box, and it has a No Battery Mode that bypasses the battery if it's plugged into a consistent power source (so capacity isn't drained). It also supports barcode scanning, radio signals, and mobile Point of Service (mPOS) terminal tech for businesses and workers.
Of course, that price might still be a little high for what you want to spend. In that case, consider Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active3 instead: it's also 30% off today only, down to $343 or $414, depending on whether or not you need LTE support.
A more compact tablet that can fall even further than the Active4 Pro without any damage, the Active3 is still one of the best rugged tablets around despite being an older model. It runs Android 13, has a higher pixel-per-inch ratio than its newer sibling, and has all the same ruggedness perks. It's just not quite as fast, performance-wise.
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Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.