If you are tired of handling your smartphone with kid gloves, it might be time for you to upgrade to something sturdier. No phone is indestructible, but rugged smartphones come pretty close. You can drop them, splash water on them, and trust that the screen won’t crack and that the battery won’t be screaming for juice before the day is over. They say dog is a man’s best friend, but rugged smartphones may be a close second.
Here are some features you should keep an eye out for if you’re hunting for the Rambo of smartphones:
The word “rugged” refers to more than tougher perks or thicker frames; the best “rugged” smartphones also undergo a military-grade assessment. In order for a phone to meet military-grade durability standards, it has to withstand shock, dust, water submersion, high temperatures, and strong vibrations. These phones are built to deliver, without losing the functionality of a regular smartphone. Most durable phones will be advertised with a “rugged” tagline, but make sure to ask or inspect the listed features.
There is no point having a durable smartphone if it’s back on charge before it can prove its worth. So look for a battery that is 3500mAh or higher, as this should give you about two days before your next charge. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for features like fast wired or wireless charging in order to maximize your time spent unplugged.
Dust and Water Resistance
Not all rugged phones are created equal when it comes to dust and water resistance. While most of them can withstand sand, dust, or salt mist, water resistance varies by phone. Some phones can handle splashing, while others can be submerged in water for a set amount of time and up to a certain depth. Check for an IP68 water/dust resistance feature, like the one on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active available from T-Mobile, for the best results when choosing a phone. This means your phone will be water resistant when submerged up to 5 feet for a total of 30 minutes.
Shatter Resistant Screen (Heavy Falls)
Sometimes regular smartphones can feel like handheld mirrors. All it takes is one drop or bump, and you’re looking at a cracked reflection and a payment in the near future. With a shatter resistant screen and a drop proof phone you can forget looking at those cracks or bills again. These phones have been drop tested and can even sustain falls of five feet or more.
While the emphasis is placed on shatterproof screens and avoiding unnecessary cracks, there are several other useful features to look out for. Some screens come with glare resistance, making them easy to use in the sun. Where you might usually shade your phone with a hand or adjust the brightness, these phone screens work the same come cloud or sunshine.
Another handy feature to keep an eye out for is wet screen technology. While more of a luxury, this feature makes sure that your finger tracking isn’t affected by screen dampness. It’s a handy add-on, especially if you work in damp environments.
While not a perk in and of itself, choosing the right carrier is almost as important as choosing the right phone. When you’re relying on your carrier to keep you connected, you want one with low downtimes, low latency, and high speeds online.
A carrier with low latency means you will generally experience smaller delay times when loading websites, and high speeds enable you to download content quickly. T-Mobile has the highest ranking for speed across the board, with Verizon and AT&T slightly behind. Choosing the right carrier can drastically improve your user experience.
In fact, if you’re locked into a contract, the carrier is something you’ll have to deal with for a while. Before you make up your mind, be sure to check out the mobile coverage map in your area, as well as the quality of the service. The last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere with no reception or an unreliable phone when you need it the most.
Hopefully by referring to this guide, you can choose a phone that is durable, reliable, and near unbreakable, so you can forget about cracked screens, overheating, and water damage for good.
Apple Plans To Slash Price Of iPhone XR In Japan To Boost Sales
It’s been less than a month since the iPhone XR was released, and unfortunately sales haven’t been as strong as Apple had hoped for.. So much so that Apple is planning to roll out subsidies to Japanese carriers, according to a report from Wall Street Journal. (This has been confirmed as of 11/26, with NTT Docomo offering a $100 savings on a 24-month contract)
Now it’s rare that you see Apple (or any smartphone maker) slashing prices within a month of a phone’s release. Add in the fact that Apple has lowered production orders for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, and it’s clear that trouble is a brewing in Cupertino. (If you’re still not convinced, just look at their stock price, which has taken quite a hit as of late)
Personally, I think Apple got a little overzealous with the pricing of their new phones, and the public has spoken.. by keeping their existing phones instead. I’m guilty of that myself, sticking with my iPhone 7, because the trade-in rate is abysmal (seriously Apple, $250?!) and I can’t justify spending an extra $500+ on a new phone when mine works just fine.
And that’s the issue that Apple and other smartphone makers currently face. For most people, it’s just not worth upgrading every year when improvements are marginal at best. The days of revolutionary features are behind us. Now it’s just a game of bigger screens & better cameras.
The big question now is whether Apple follow suit in the US. For now, I plan on sitting on the sidelines and waiting things out.
Palm Is Back With A Crazy Small 3.3-Inch Smartphone
In a world where smartphones keep getting bigger and bigger, Palm is taking a rather different approach, introducing a sleek little smartphone with an incredibly tiny 3.3-inch screen. When I first heard the news, I was excited, as I never understood the appeal of these gigantic phones that barely fit in one’s pocket.
Sadly, as I came to learn more about the new $350 Palm phone, I found out that the phone had some serious shortcomings.. Namely the fact that this isn’t a standalone phone, but rather a companion for your “regular” smartphone that you can take with you on a run or to the gym. So you still need to drop $600+ on another phone.
Confused? Join the club. Given the fact that a number of smart watches out there have already solved this problem (in a better form factor to boot), it’s a little unclear why Palm felt the need to introduce a device like this in the first place.
It’s a shame, because I think that Palm was really onto something here, bucking the “bigger is better” trend with a small phone that can do everything you need it to do (running Android 8.1 with access to all of the apps from the Google Play Store), at an accessible price.
But then they ruined everything by requiring people to add it as a second phone to their plan, and locking you into Verizon (the only carrier that the Palm works with). Like they say, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
That said, if you’re a Verizon customer that wants a smaller phone to take with them in lieu of their phablet, then you should check out The Verge’s review of the Palm. Or maybe just by a smartwatch like everyone else.
What do you guys think of the Palm smartphone?
Photo credit: Palm
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro Is One Sweet Phone.. Too Bad You Can’t Buy It
If you’re in the market for a smartphone packed with all of the bells and whistles, your choices are the iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3, Galaxy Note 9, or the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Unless you live in the United States that is, in which case you can scratch that last one off your list, as the Chinese smartphone maker isn’t welcome in the US anymore.
And that’s a shame, because Huawei makes some great phones. So much so that after nearly a decade of iPhone loyalty, I made the switch earlier this year to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and I couldn’t be any happier with my decision. The phone takes amazing pictures (which is most important to me), and it comes packed with cutting-edge features.
Now, Huawei is raising the bar with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, with an even greater focus on AI, a Leica Triple Camera, a new 7nm chipset, a larger 4200 mAh battery, wireless charging, and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. This phone features a 6.39-inch curved OLED screen with a 3120 x 1440 resolution (19.5:9 aspect ratio).
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is that Leica Triple Camera, which houses a 40 MP main camera, a 20 MP ultra wide-angle camera, and an 8 MP telephoto camera. Together, the trio of lenses supports a wide range of focal lengths (equivalent to the performance of a 16-270 mm zoom lens), enabling it to mimic the results from professional cameras, while still small enough to fit in your pocket.
In addition, the Mate 20 Pro features the Kirin 980 processor, which gives a huge improvement in both speed and power efficiency over the outgoing model (which was no slouch itself). It also allows the phone to step up it’s AI efforts. Real-time image processing can be done on video now, not just photos, while real-time object segmentation is more precise.
Besides superb performance, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro also features some big improvements on battery life. The smartphone’s large, high-density 4200 mAh battery supports SuperCharge, giving the device a 70% charge in 30 minutes. It also supports Wireless Quick Charge, along with Wireless Reverse Charge – where the phone acts as a power bank for other devices. Neat feature if you need to charge up your Bluetooth headphones or something.
Much like Face ID the iPhone XS, the Mate 20 Pro gets facial unlocking, which can be used not only to access your phone, but for specific software too. App Lock will allow you to secure individual apps, while File Cabinet will do the same thing but for files. In addition, the Mate 20 Pro gets an in-display fingerprint sensor, allowing you to press your fingertip against a certain part of the screen to unlock your phone.
All in all, the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro sounds like quite the phone, at least based on its specs. But seeing as how we can’t go to our local Best Buy or AT&T store to play with it for ourselves, it’s an expensive gamble to order one from Amazon sight unseen. And therein lies the rub.
What do you think of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro?