Telstra Tough 2 review: Telstra Tough 2

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Pricing Unavailable

The Good A genuinely tough phone. Hamster Homie!. It's really quite robust. Blue Tick certified. It's rather tough. Did we mention it was tough?.

The Bad UI is slow and clunky. It's ugly. Suitable only for a working niche of phone users. Or teenagers generally.

The Bottom Line It won't win any fashion parades, but the Tough 2 will appeal to tradies who are after a phone that's unlikely to easily shatter.

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The Tough 2 is ugly — solid, jarring, brick ugly. We might even be tempted to use slightly less delicate terms to describe it, but we don't want to offend any of our readers with such language. We think we've made our point.

If you want a phone to show off to people with its intricate thin design, huge display screen or delicately engineered components, this isn't it. On the other hand, if you're the tradesman type who can't have a phone in your work cab on the grounds that the average glitzy-looking phone quickly fills up with grease before shattering into non-working pieces, the Tough 2 might be just your style.

In fact, to a certain aesthetic, the harsh style of Tough 2 could almost be seen as having a Soviet-style brutal chic, with stark lines and design notes reminiscent of the brisk designs of Antonio Citterio

No, we can't maintain that charade for even a second. This is an ugly phone, and that's all there is to it.


The Tough 2 is ugly for the same reason that Panasonic's Toughbooks are usually pretty ugly. They're not designed to look good on a shelf; they're designed for tough work out in the field where more delicately designed components wouldn't last a single day. The design is meant to make the Tough 2 easy to use with harshly raised physical buttons for every task and a 2.4-inch Gorilla Glass screen.

Telstra states that the casing is "abrasion-resistant" — we're honestly not sure if you'd notice a design this stark being actually roughed up — but is more specific in terms of what else the Tough 2 can withstand. It's rated with an ingress protection rating of IP54. If you're not up to date on ingress protection, it rates protection against solids and liquids by number. The 5 in 54 suggests that it's protected against limited dust ingress (but not totally protected, which would be level 6) and the 4 means it should be protected from water sprays from any angle on the phone, but not actual immersion. Telstra also rates it with a "Blue Tick" for those using it in rural areas, so country tradies should be well served here too. The camera on the rear is a 3-megapixel model, and there's a front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera on offer as well.

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Where to Buy

Telstra Tough 2

Part Number: CNETTelstra Tough 2

Typical Price: $360.00

See manufacturer website for availability.