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Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

See at AT&T

Right now, the Galaxy S8 Active is an AT&T exclusive. Inside, it’s packed with the same stellar components as the rest of the Galaxy S8 family, including a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers a massive 4000mAh battery, in addition to a rugged, dust-proof, and water-resistant enclosure. Its 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display is bright enough to see in the great outdoors and sits behind a shatter-resistant protective coating that can withstand the toughest of falls.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 Active is what other consumer-oriented rugged smartphones should aim to be like.

One more thing: This time, we expect the AT&T exclusitivity to be temporary and the Galaxy S8 Active should be available elsewhere.

Why it’s the best

It’s basically a more robust Galaxy S8 with a better battery.

The Galaxy S8 Active is a great example of what works when a manufacturer attempts to ruggedize one of its existing smartphones. Samsung took the best parts of the Galaxy S8— its components, its camera capabilities, its other extra bits — and shoved it all into a shock-resistant case. It’s also stylish enough that it’s not a complete outlier. You don’t immediately look at this phone and go, “Well, that’s certainly not geared for me.” The idea is that anyone who wants a tougher smartphone can have it without sacrificing features and aesthetics.

Best MacGyver phone

CAT S60

See at Amazon

The Cat S60 is an unlocked, GSM-compatible smartphone with FLIR thermal imaging available at the touch of a button. CAT swears this is “the world’s most waterproof smartphone,” as it can survive depths of up to 5 meters for an entire hour—that’s 30 minutes more than any of the Galaxy S7 variants claim to last. It’s also drop-proof up to 1.8 meters and reinforced with a strengthened die cast frame, which makes it perfect for perilous environments like construction sites. However, there are some downsides, like the fact that the CAT S60 has a mere 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and it runs on a mid-range Snapdragon 617 processor—the same SoC that’s inside the HTC One A9.

Bottom line: If you’re out in the field on a daily basis and you’re with T-Mobile or AT&T, you have a choice of the CAT S60 as your badass daily driver.

One more thing: The Cat S60 will not work with Sprint, Verizon, or any of their MVNOs.

Best for phone droppers

Motorola Z2 Force

See at Verizon
See at AT&T
See at T-Mobile
See at Sprint

While not in the same class of rugged as our top pick, Motorola’s ShatterShield technology means you aren’t going to be able to break the Z2 Force’s screen without gettign extreme. This smartphone features 5.5-inch Quad HD display is essentially shatterproof. It also comes with a 2,730mAh battery, a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 64GB of onboard storage with expandable memory. The Snapdragon 835 processor and baseband is LTE-A compatible and also works in over 200 other countries.

Bottom line: If you tend to drop your phone a lot, the Z2 Force’s ShatterShield screen is a worthy consideration.

One more thing: Don’t forget about the Moto Mods!

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

See at AT&T

Right now, the Galaxy S8 Active is an AT&T exclusive. Inside, it’s packed with the same stellar components as the rest of the Galaxy S8 family, including a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers a massive 4000mAh battery, in addition to a rugged, dust-proof, and water-resistant enclosure. Its 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display is bright enough to see in the great outdoors and sits behind a shatter-resistant protective coating that can withstand the toughest of falls.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 Active is what other consumer-oriented rugged smartphones should aim to be like.

One more thing: This time, we expect the AT&T exclusitivity to be temporary and the Galaxy S8 Active should be available elsewhere.