Most people at some time in their life will experience the horror of dropping their mobile phone on a hard surface and realising it doesn’t bounce very well, or even worse dropping their phone into water and realising it doesn’t like to swim.
If you have ever bruised, battered or drowned a mobile phone, then it’s time you considered RugGear.
RugGear manufactures the world’s toughest mobile phones. Founded in 2006, RugGear products have been developed without compromise – with ruggedness and durability at the core of the product DNA. They have been tried and tested as waterproof, shock proof, dust proof and life proof.
As such they are ideally suited to Papua New Guinea’s unforgiving environment, and miners, construction workers and tradespeople, trekkers, sportspeople and adventurers are going to find RugGear a common sense solution to their particular situation.
You can choose from a simple rugged phone that will just let you send and receive calls and text messages, or a fully-featured Android smartphone with access to thousands of apps as smart and capable as any other smartphone on the market.
The RG970 is a good example of what’s on offer at the top end of the RugGear range of smartphones.
The RG970 is an Android tough device designed from the chassis up to withstand the kind of elements that would render everyday smartphones useless.
At 156mm tall, 83mm wide and 16mm deep, it’s a big smartphone. The sturdy construction brings its weight to a hefty 245g. In the hand, its solid feel leaves you confident that the RG970 can withstand a beating.
The RG970 is a nice smartphone in its own right. Its yellow-and-grey high-visibility cushioning is built into its chassis with proprietary screws joining it together. The 3.5mm headphone output and micro-USB charging port are sheltered by a protective flap. Even accessing the SIM tray and expandable microSD memory slot requires two flat-head screws to be removed.
As a result of this armour, RugGear claims the RG970 can be submerged in 2m of water for 30 minutes, withstand falls of 80cm on concrete, and is completely resistant to dust.
Dominating the front is a 5.3in LCD screen which has a 960×540 resolution and a density of 208 pixels-per-inch. These aren’t cutting edge specs but they are of high-appeal and functionality to the end-users, many of which will be tradespeople wearing protective gloves.
Four buttons are evenly distributed on its sides: a lock screen and camera shutter key are located on its left, while volume up and down buttons are positioned on its right. Bordering the bottom of the front are the four capacitive keys used to navigate its Android operating system. These include the typical sub-menu, home, back and search keys.
The RG970 has the distinction of being a dual-SIM smartphone. It takes two full sized SIM cards and is compatible with networks up to 3G.
Another trait of value is the RG970’s never-say-die character. The construction can easily take drops, knocks and kicks in its stride, bar a few markings. Although I don’t advocate mistreating smartphones, the RG970 is one that can handle itself when the going gets tough.
RugGear claims the RG970 can withstand waters two metres deep for a period of 30min. If you do take the RG970 out for a dip, be sure the top flap has a snug fit and that the rear panel screws are properly tightened.
Apart from a few applications and subtle tweaks, RugGear has taken little liberty with the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean software used by the RG970. Swiping down the application drawer reveals three panes of shortcuts, and its rugged bravado is matched by a suite of adventure-savvy applications. These include an application equipped with various outdoor tools, a file manager, and most impressively, an FM radio that functions without the need to plug in headphones.
Powering the RG970 is a 1GHz dual core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage, which can be expanded by way of a 32GB microSD memory card.
Photos captured with the 8MP rear camera aren’t cutting edge, but they’ll do for a tough phone. There’s also a 2MP front facing camera that can be used for video conferencing over apps like Skype.
Besides making some of the world’s most rugged Android smartphones, RugGear has also dipped its toe into the tablet market.
Known as the Ultra Tab 7.0 – RG900, the Android tablet is designed to be used in any extreme environment. Besides its IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, the Ultra Tab 7.0 – RG900 is also protected against drop-shock impacts.
It has a polycarbonate tough body frame with materials that guards the corners of the device to reduce the drop force and protects the display. Due to its rugged chassis, the Ultra Tab 7.0 – RG900 is rather bulky for a 7-inch tablet at 20mm thick and weighs 650g.
But if you are in the market for a tough tablet or phone, then you will expect the device to be stockier than your ultra-thin i-Phone or Galaxy. One thing for sure, your RugGear device won’t bend in your pocket.
Performance-wise the RugGear Ultra Tab is as capable as any other device. It comes with 16GB internal storage and a microSD memory card slot that supports memory cards up to 32GB.
Other specs include a 7-inch (1,280 x 800 pixels) IPS display, an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, AGPS and a single 3G SIM card slot.
There are a number of other models in the RugGear range.
Here are just a few more that will also give you an idea of their strengths and positioning in the RugGear line-up:
- The RG930 is a basic-feature, entry-level phone perfect for tradesmen, warehouse operators or staff that only require calls, SMS/MMS and basic email. The features include a powerful LED torch, bluetooth, 5MP camera, 3G, FM Radio, GPS, compass and up to 288 hours standby time.
- The RG220 Swift is the toughest smartphone of its RugGear family and is perfect for work, play or the adventurer/sporting enthusiast. Among its 220 key features are up to 400 hours standby time and 6 hours 3G talk time; a loud speaker; dual SIM; big dedicated Push-To-Talk button; Near-Field Communication (NCF); IP68 rating means it has total dust protection and is waterproof and submersible.
- The RG126 Mariner is the world’s first floating 3G phone. Boating enthusiasts will love this phone. It features a high-light torch, 3W loud speaker, Bluetooth speaker, IP68 rating and powerbank.