Tough inside and out: Ruggedized devices have come a long way
A couple of years ago, CAT demonstrated how durable its B15 rugged phone was by letting it get run over by a 4.6 tonne truck and surviving to tell the tale. All contemporary phones do not make similar claims but among new ones, the Moto X Force probably comes closest. Along with a water-repellent coating, the phone features a truly shatter-proof display with five layers that can absorb shocks and heavy impacts. While we wouldn't bet on it being run over by a truck, we wouldn't worry too much if it fell down the stairs or just slipped through your fingers and fell on a concrete road.
The best way to gauge how durable your phone is, is to look at its IP ratings. The latest phones feature either IP67 or IP68 dustproof and waterproof ratings. IP stands for 'International Protection' which is basically a standard created by the International Electrochemical Commission. Why these ratings can be trusted is because they are not assigned by the phone manufacturers themselves but by an impartial body following series on tests running up to 8 hours on every phone.
Best rugged smartphone cases for your holiday
IP6 will mean that your phone is dust-proof- a rating obtained after being subjected to sand, dirt, fine dust and the like for eight hours. What this implies is that you can take a long trip in the Sahara in an open jeep while recording the lovely dunes on your phone without worrying too much. However, IP ratings are based on lab tests and real world situations can pose much more harm to your phones, so we would recommend using tough cases which offer added protection.
The '7' or '8' in IP ratings are granted on the basis of a phone's splash-proof and water-proof abilities. You will notice that a lot of manufacturers prefer to use splash-proof instead of water-proof while defining their phones' abilities. This is because while a phone can survive for half an hour under a metre of water in lab tests, its survivability will be put to severe test if you take it with you for a swim or a series of underwater selfies. While a '7' rating is conferred to phones that can survive after being placed under 1 metre of water for 30 minutes, the '8' rating goes to phones that can survive under 1.5 metres of water for an equal duration. Apple's just-released iPhone 7 comes with an IP67 rating while Samsung's Galaxy S7 boasts an IP68 one.