Rugged smartphones and tablets: Built for life on the move


Our obsession with making smart devices as thin and lightweight as possible has had the unnerving consequence of making many of our high-tech gadgets rather fragile.

While many users are rather careful when using their smartphones, accidents do happen, especially in more robust environments, leaving one with the bitter pill of high repair costs – or even replacement – to swallow.

Thankfully, manufacturers realised this early on and have been designing smartphones and tablets that can take more of a beating, or even withstand an unexpected dip in the pool.

Samsung has been making rugged versions of its tablets and smartphones for a few years now, suited to those that work in construction, healthcare, logistics, and retail, and other vocations where accidental device damage is a strong possibility.

Go on, forget the cover

International protection standard ratings (also known as Ingress Protection Markings) have become commonplace in the smart device landscape, with many premium electronics now boasting dust or water protection in some form. The Samsung Galaxy Xcover4 and Galaxy Tab Active, for instance, have IP68 certification, meaning they are dustproof and water-resistant (at a depth of up to 1.5m for 30 minutes), as well as MIL-STD-810G compliant. That last standard was developed by the US Military, but is regularly used as a benchmark for commercial products.

Standards that prevent extreme damage are great, but the best rugged devices also consider practicality and aesthetics to some degree. Both the Galaxy Tab Active and the Xcover4 are stylishly attractive, as opposed to similar devices from other manufacturers that offer their own ruggedised features but which look unsightly and bulky. Comparatively, the Xcover4 is resistant to extremely high and low temperatures, as well as mechanical shock, rain, ice and sand, yet still looks sleek and attractive thanks to its smartly-designed rugged casing.

Aside from being able to withstand drops, scuffs, and the rigours of everyday usage, the Galaxy Tab Active also includes features designed to make using it as easy as possible, no matter the conditions. A typical example is the non-slip coating that ensures the slate remains firmly in your grip at all times, as well as resistant to extremely high and extremely low temperatures.

Samsung’s ruggedised devices are powered by the Android operating system, which lessens the need for training given the operating system’s popularity and end-users’ familiarity with it. Owners can also expand the storage capacity of both the Galaxy Xcover4 as well as the Galaxy Tab Active LTE with memory cards, if the built-in storage isn’t sufficient. And in terms of how fast they are, users can expect performance similar to that of mid-tier smartphones and tablets.

So even if you regularly work outdoors or find yourself in challenging environmental conditions, Samsung’s ruggedised devices are tough enough to withstand the worst the work day has to offer, yet keep you going right through.

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