Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
The newly-unveiled successor to the Xcover features Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a dual-core processor, 5in 800 x 480 screen and 5MP camera, making it (on paper at least) a capable mid-ranger that also happens to have IP67-certified ruggedness in its locker. That means it’s dust- and sand-proof, and can withstand all manner of ungentle treatment, as well up to 30 minutes in up to a metre of water. Rather easy on the eyes too, compared to some of its rivals. Look out for it in the shops in March.
JCB Toughphone Pro-Smart TP909
£280 (PAYG), carphonewarehouse.com
Looking every inch the chunky, rugged handset you’d expect from a company like JCB, the TP909 feels like it could probably survive a nuclear war with nary a scratch on it. But there’s also a decent level of smartphone-ness on board, thanks to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the 5MP camera and microSD slot. The 800MHz processor and 256MB of RAM make it a little slower than some of its contemporaries, however.
Sony Xperia Go
The Xperia Go doesn’t look outwardly tough, and indeed one of the things we most like about it is the way it hides its rugged, waterproof and scratch-resistant nature within the clothes of a compact, svelte, lightweight and affordable smartphone. The screen resolution, storage and battery life are none-too-impressive compared to higher-end Android handsets, but if you’re prepared for all that then you’ll find this a nicely elegant twist on a tough phone.
Much like the Sony Xperia Go, the Motorola Defy+ features a 1GHz CPU, 5MP camera and Android 2.3 Gingerbread, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not its unique features (such as built-in Swype for fast, quick text input) make it a more compelling draw. One advantage it does have over the sleeker Sony is a beefy battery – good to know if you’re heading out for a protracted spell in the wild (or just down the pub for a slightly lengthy session).
The second phone in our lineup to boast bulldozer branding, the CAT B10 is certainly the most rugged-looking of the five smartphones here (it weighs almost half a kilo, astonishingly, and is the best part of an inch thick). As with all the others, it features Android (2.3.5 – although an update to 4.0 Jelly Bean has been promised at some point), a 5MP camera and a touchscreen, but the latter is a mere 3.2in in size, which could prove a touch too wee for some.