Handsets that can put up a fight

Editors' note: This slideshow was originally published on February 13, 2013, and is periodically updated.

If you've ever dropped your phone on the hard cement or unknowingly dragged it into the ocean at the beach, you understand the pain of losing a handset that wasn't designed to withstand the elements.

To make sure you can avoid this next time, CNET gathered some of our recent favorite devices that are waterproof, rugged, or both. You'll also see some wild cards here that have unique survival features you won't see anywhere else.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Kyocera Brigadier

First up is the rugged Kyocera Brigadier, which is the first mass-market (and affordable!) smartphone to feature a sapphire crystal display. Synthesized in a lab, this ultra-tough material means it can take any hard falls and scratches you can throw at it. As for the device itself, the Brigadier is also water proof and encased in a durable exterior.

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CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

Much more robust than its flagship counterpart, the Galaxy S5 Active features a sporty construction and look (I mean, check out that camo). However, it also packs high-end specs and a useful active button that launches apps and tools for the outdoors.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4.5 stars Outstanding

Spot Global Phone

True, the Global Phone isn't exactly a handset you pull out at a nightclub, but chances are you'll be miles away from any sort of civilization if you're using this. The off-the-grid device promises to connect your calls even without a cellular connection. And though it's not waterproof or rugged, it can take the heat (and cold), literally: it can withstand temperatures ranging from -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius) all the way up to 131 degrees F (55 C).

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CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

Sony Xperia Z2

Often with water-resistant phones, manufacturers cut corners when it comes to specs. That is not the case with the Xperia Z2. Not only can it survive a 30-minute dunking in roughly 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water, but it also sports a beautiful and modern design with one of the best screens around, a 20.7-megapixel camera, and a quad-core processor.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4.5 stars Outstanding

Verykool RS90 Vortex

The Vortex is "verykool," in that it has received an Ingress Protection Rating of 67. This means it's completely dustproof and waterproof in up to 3 feet (1 meter) of water. And its rugged exterior should ensure its survival through daily wear-and-tear.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

Kyocera Hydro Elite

Kyocera has several waterproof handsets in its Hydro family of smartphones. But our favorite so far is its Elite -- a midrange device that is ultra-pocketable, reasonably priced on-contract, and has 4G LTE connectivity.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

NEC Terrain

Looking for something a little more QWERTY? The Terrain is a unique messaging smartphone with a ruggedized and waterproof exterior. It also has push-to-talk for direct connect customers, runs the Android OS, and has expandable memory.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

LG G Flex

For a device to land on this list that is neither rugged nor waterproof, it has to be special. Fortunately, the G Flex is. For one thing, it has a "self-healing," scratch-resistant coating that protects it from daily scuffs and blemishes. Second, its one-of-a-kind curve enables it to withstand 88 pounds (about 40kg) of pressure, so you won't have to worry the next time you accidentally sit on your smartphone.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Where to Buy

Samsung Galaxy S 5 Active (AT&T - Ruby Red)

Part Number: 7250511
MSRP: $659.99 Low Price: $199.99 See all prices

Where to Buy

Spot Global Phone

Part Number: SPOTPHONEB25
MSRP: $499.95 Low Price: $499.95 See all prices

Where to Buy

Sony Xperia Z2 (white)

Part Number: XPERIAZ2WHT
Low Price: $409.89 See all prices

Where to Buy

Verykool RS90 Vortex

Part Number: RS90

MSRP: $279.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Kyocera Hydro Elite (Verizon)

Part Number: HYRDOELITE
MSRP: $349.99 Low Price: $399.99 See all prices

Where to Buy

NEC Terrain (AT&T)

Part Number: 6046A
MSRP: $429.99 Low Price: $99.95 See all prices
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