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