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Smart toughphones or tough smartphones?

Tough phones, smartphones, tough smartphones and smart toughphones. Wait, what? Aren’t they all the same thing, is there a difference?

It isn’t too hard to be able to distinguish the difference between a tough phone and a smartphone. They are both manufactured with different aims in mind, a tough phone to be rugged, durable and reliable, whether it is in the wild or in the unforgiving workplace – a smartphone however needn’t concern itself with withstanding the same environments, it only needs to be fast, technologically advanced and have the best features.

So is there a difference?

The advancements in mobile technologies over the last few years have bought about a change to the ruggedized mobile market. No longer the bulky, dim-witted and ugly devices clad in 2.5-inches of rubber with no feature more useful than a torch or FM Radio we were used to seeing 4-5 years ago.

With these advancements the tough phones manufactured today are now starting to be considered as ‘smart’ with handsets like the CAT S50 retaining all of the features and functionality of a high-end smartphone.

This has bought about a revolution in the way that tough phones are perceived by the end-consumer, compromises no longer need to be made between features and functionality.

There has also been a change in the way that smartphone manufacturers produce and market their handsets with companies like Sony or Samsung releasing handsets that while smart, may also be waterproof, but aren’t technically a bona fide tough phone - handsets like the Sony Xperia Z2 for example.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Although the line is becoming thinner at the moment there is still a marked difference between smart tough phones and tough smart phones. Take the two handsets we mentioned earlier, the CAT S50 and Sony Xperia Z2 (now outdated by the Xperia Z3). Both handsets are carrying IP67 ratings so are waterproof and protected against dust ingress but only one of these handsets has the more coveted MIL-STD 810G certification (it’s the CAT by the way).

The CAT S50 has the ability to be dropped from a height of up to 1.2m and still work! How many smartphones can do that? Not many we’d wager. The CAT S50 also has the benefit of having an operational temperature range of -25 degrees C to +55 degrees C, so you can take this handset literally anywhere, except Space, where its -273 degrees C below zero.

Make it or break it

So as we can see there are several factors that help to distinguish the difference between the modern day smart or tough mobile device. A few years ago it was brawn over brains and you’d purchase a tough phone knowing that you were getting the All Star Quarterback; not the kid on the state science scholarship. These days however we’ve all studied a bit more and that Quarterback isn’t flunking.

It really comes down to the marked difference in durability, a smart tough phone will always be more reliable and hard wearing than a tough smart phone and for now that’s something that we’ll have to accept. There are more dedicated ‘smart tough’ devices on the market than ‘tough smart’ mobiles although certain manufacturers are trying to reduce that gap.

However we’re fairly confident in saying that if you regularly work in or around water, in a tough environment, outdoors or on a construction site you can happily use a modern tough phone as your work and play device and not feel left outside of the curve.