Despite new smartphone iterations being released each year, the longevity of a device, is still a very important consideration for many consumers. Simply put, when a phone as IP-rated waterproofness and dust resistance, or some sort of post-sale screen and battery replacement, it often proves more enticing.

This brings us to rugged smartphones, which is still a relatively niché segment of the market, and a local newcomer is well-known battery brand Energizer, which has launched its HardCase H550S device in South Africa.

This is not to be confused with the extremely thick phone the company showcased at MWC 19 earlier this year with an 18 000mAh battery onboard.

Instead the HardCase H550S sports a 4 000mAh, and is IP68-rated. Its shockproof ruggerised design has also earned it the title of 2019’s “most rugged smartphone” according to Mobile News.

The device, along with a handful of other Energizer phones, is being distributed locally by Pure Distribution, with the H550S being the flagship model and costing a recommended R7 699.

So apart from the rugged design, what else it is packing?

Well it’s all fairly common specifications for a decent mid-range smartphone. To that end a 5.5″ FullHD screen is up front with Gorilla Glass 3. There’s also an 8MP up front, with a 16MP on the rear. The latter sits above a fingerprint sensor, with Energizer also throwing NFC functionality into the mix.

Internally a MediaTek Helio P18 octa-core (1.5GHz) processor is present, with 3GB RAM and 32GB onboard storage on offer. There’s also a microSD slot good for an extra 32GB, as well as a dual SIM capacity.

Curiously the H550S is running Android 7.0 as the native OS, with no mention of whether an update to 9.0 Pie is on the cards, but given that Energizer isn’t one of the larger Android OEMs, running an older version of the OS is to be expected.

The real question is whether South African consumers will want to buy a ruggerised phone at R7 699, when they can purchase better specced options that are less hard-wearing?

Time will have to tell.