Rugged Phones Compared: Nokia vs Samsung vs Telstra

Credit: Samsung

If you’re spending much working in a field or workplace that’s a little more rough and tumble or just plain clumsy, the trend in smartphone designs towards more fragile and fractious materials like glass is probably really frustrating. 

We’ve rounded up our picks for the best rugged phones that offer plenty of features but are equipped such that they can survive a drop or two. Check out the list below:

Nokia 800 Tough

Look, it’s not quite as capable as some of the other devices featured in this article but if you’re after a durable handset that’s good for the essentials, the Nokia 800 Tough is an inexpensive and compelling option. 

Like the revamped Nokia 2720, it runs on KaiOS and features more-or-less the same level of app functionality as well. You get Facebook. You get WhatsApp. You might not get anything more specific than that in terms of apps but you will get an impressive 48 days of usage out of a single charge.

In terms of durability, the Nokia 800 Tough has been built and tested to meet more than just the usual ‘military-grade’ standards for durability. HMD Global say the 800 Tough can survive conditions as low as -20C or as high as 55C.


  • Credit: Nokia

    Processor: Snapdragon 205

  • Operating System:  KaiOS

  • RAM:   512MB

  • Storage:  4GB

  • MicroSD slot: Yes 

  • Headphone Jack:   Yes

  • Fingerprint sensor:  No

  • Durability: IP68 + MIL-STD810G compliant

  • Battery:  2100mAh

  • Connectivity:  4G, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, 

  • Rear Camera:  2-megapixel

  • Front-Facing Camera:  n/a

Where to buy it?

The Nokia 800 Tough comes in Black Steel and is available through Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Amazon for around $189 RRP.

Telstra Tough Max 3

Telstra’s Tough Max 3 isn’t as slick as something like the Galaxy S20 Ultra but if you’re worried about the fragility of modern smartphones and want something that’s built to take a hit or two, it’s an option worth considering. 

As per our review of the Tough Max 3, “Filling the niche in the market for those who don’t care that much about the quality of their phone experience but want something that they’re unlikely to break, Telstra’ housebrand is more than just an expensive paperweight. It’s a genuine option worth considering.”


Credit: Telstra
  • Processor:  Snapdragon 665

  • Operating System:  Android 9

  • RAM:  4GB

  • Storage: 64GB

  • MicroSD slot: Yes

  • Headphone Jack: Yes

  • Fingerprint sensor: Yes

  • Durability: IP68 

  • Battery:  3920mAh

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, 4G

  • Rear Camera: 16-megapixel (AF with Flash) + 5-megapixel

  • Front-Facing Camera: 8-megapixel

Where to buy it?

The Tough Max 3 had be nabbed through Telstra for an RRP of AU$499 or on a plan using the widget below:

Samsung XCover Pro 

Samsung’s XCover Pro does its best to transplant the popular formula behind the brand’s flagship Galaxy smartphones into a more worksite-friendly form-factor. To suit business users better, the smartphone also features two programmable buttons and support for Samsung’s POS solution.  

If you’re a fan of Samsung’s usual fare and don’t want your rugged smartphone to feel like too much of a compromise, the Samsung XCover Pro might be what you’re looking for. 

Credit: Samsung


  • Processor: Exynos 9611

  • Operating System:  Android 10

  • RAM:  4GB

  • Storage:  64GB

  • MicroSD slot: Yes

  • Headphone Jack: Yes  

  • Fingerprint sensor:  Side-mounted

  • Battery:   4050mAh

  • Durability: IP68, MIL-STD 810G

  • Connectivity:  Wi-Fi, 4G, NFC, Bluetooth 5

  • Rear Camera:  25-megapixel (f/1.7) + 8-megapixel (f/2.2)

  • Front-Facing Camera:  13-megapixel (f/2.0)

Where to buy it?

The Galaxy XCover Pro is available in Australia through Samsung online, Amazon and select IT distribution partners and telco partners.

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Tags Rugged PhonesTelstra Tough

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Fergus Halliday
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