Top five: Toughest smartphones

Tough-phones are a growing genre of phone – but if you’re thinking brick-sized toughness from the likes of JCB and Sonim, you can (thankfully) think again. Panasonic and Motorola both recently launched perfectly pocketable smartphones that offer water and dust resistance, while the recent trend for a unibody chassis design also spells good things for people who drop their phones in puddles.

We’ve rounded up the five toughest smartphones that manage to resist damage while staying slim.


Panasonic Eluga                                   

Panasonic Eluga - underwater


This slimline Android Gingerbread smartie sports a sleek unibody chassis that is IP57-certified – that’s waterproof for up to a minute in one metre of liquid, as well as resistant to (but not totally proofed against) dust. We tested that claim in our review, and it's real, all right. That means you can bring it to a beach without having to be too precious about sand in a pocket, and of course, perform that party trick of dropping it in a toilet, all without voiding your warranty.


Motorola Defy+

Motorola Defy Plus - submerged in gin


Though this Android Gingerbread phone is actually built and marketed as a ‘tough-phone’, it manages to keep that toughness in a reasonably slim, pretty body. It’s IP67-certified, which, as we proved in our review, means its waterproof up to one metre for one minute – and is totally proofed against dust. Bring it to the beach and laugh as you toss it around on your sandy blanket!


Motorola RAZR Maxx

Motorola Razr Maxx - Kevlar coated


This super long-lived Android Gingerbread smartphone is coated in Kevlar, the same material used for bulletproof vests, while its front sports “Gorilla Glass 2” screen tech - both count for extra smash-resistance. Its inner and outer hardware is coated in splashguard so you can spill drinks on it too – what better way to spend your Saturday eh? Check out our review of the RAZR Maxx to see whether you'd get on...


Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia Lumia 800 - back


Any unibody build offers a slight degree of water resistance, but Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone also has a secret weapon against the scuff – its polycarbonate body is painted layer by layer all the way through, so scratches that would reveal a silvery or white mark on other phones don’t actually show on Lumia 800. So you can leave it in a bag with your keys – though as we discovered whilst reviewing, you should be careful of its metal camera strip as that scratches.


HTC One X and One S

HTC One phones


Definitely not marketed as tough-phones, HTC’s new Android Ice Cream Sandwich superphones are nonetheless built for durability – both sport 3D Gorilla Glass for scratch and impact resistance, while the One X has a polycarbonate unibody that HTC says is tough enough so that you won’t require a case to protect it from scuffs. The One S is finished with micro-arc oxidation, a technology used in spaceship construction that also amps up its durability. They’re not the toughest smartphones around – but they are a pleasing indicator of tougher phones as standard.

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