We round up the best rugged technology for extreme working
WHETHER YOU’VE GOT a demanding job that takes you out of comfy office surroundings or you’re a road warrior working out in the field – through wind, rain or shine we’ve got the tough tech to help you complete your extreme business.
From gadgets that will shrug off anything you throw at them, to accessories that will get you out of tough spots, we’ve selected eight of the most enduring.
If you want a handset that’s able to endure the rigors of the road and won’t break after being tossed into the glove box, Panasonic’s Toughpad is the most hard-wearing phone we’ve ever tested.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 is rain, spill, dust and vibration resistant in compliance with MIL-STD-810G testing procedures. It has IP65 and IP68 certification too, so it can survive being submerged in five feet of water for up to 30 minutes and falls of 10ft onto concrete. all of this lends to its virtually indestructible build.
Deconstruct that shell and you’ll find an immense, hot-swappable 6,200mAh battery, which can be replenished to 50 per cent capacity in just one hour.
Elsewhere there’s a super-bright 2,500nit display, but all this toughness comes at a price as this is limited to a paltry 1280×720 pixels.
Celliboost is widely relied upon by government, emergency services and law enforcement working in remote locations. In such circumstances, the need to maintain a reliable comms system can sometimes be the difference between life and death. To that end, Celliboost has been designed to be deployed (and survive) in the harshest environments, meeting military-grade standards for both durability and encryption.
It’s got built-in firewall, WiFi hotspot, a configurable router and Internet port, plus it’s able to use bandwidth bonding to aggregate multiple wired and wireless connections.
Due the modular nature of its design, the system can be scaled to suit many different deployments and scenarios.
MOS Pack & Booq Daypack
The MOS Pack is a handy alternative to lugging around portable charging packs and ensures you’ve always got some extra juice in the tank.
The MOS Pack features a built-in charging station as well as a canny internal cable management system, so you can charge everything without taking it all out of your backpack.
It provides a decent 20 liters of storage space and a myriad of pockets for all your gear. While it may not be the hardiest of backpacks money can buy, an additional rain cover accessory made from waterproof ripstop nylon can also be added.
Alternatively, there’s a lot to like about the Booq Daypack which provides more than enough space for all your gadgets.
The backpack’s exterior storage features two side pockets for a water bottle or umbrella, and a front zipper pocket for easy access to a phone or travel documents. Inside, the Daypack touts a large main compartment, a mesh pocket and a zipper pocket for smaller items, and two slip pockets. One allows a tablet to be safely stowed, while the second is ample enough to house a laptop with a screen of up to 17in.
Garmin Vivoactive HR
GPS might be our go-to technology for getting around, but there’s a little-known alternative that goes by the name of Glonass that’s also worth our while. Glonass is a global positioning system released for public use by the American Army, and operated by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces.
It can be used in conjunction with GPS, or on its own. And while the Glonass tech is by no means exclusive to the Vivoactive, the swiss-army knife nature of Garmin’s wearable makes it a worthy entry in our rugged repository.
It’s wildly customisable and able to track a dizzying number of different sports and activities, your heart-rate, monitor your sleeping patterns, as well as general health and dietary information.
Sugru Rebel Tech Kit
If Sugru was around in the 80s it might have made MacGyver redudant.
Sugru is best described as a mouldable glue. It’s waterproof, heat resistant, cold resistant, flexible, grippy, strong and durable. With that in mind it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that it’s got a variety of uses, and here it comes accompanied with a useful guide detailing 14 different ways to fix, hack and improve your gadgets.
Some of the ideas contained in the Rebel Tech Kit include tips for cameras, headphones, cables, speakers, bike mounts, circuit boards, remote controls, hard drives and tablets.
Lacie Rugged Drives
Lacie Rugged drives are available in capacities of up to 4TB, and offer compatibility with USB 3.1, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices. Others support Thunderbolt, and there’s also dedicated RAID models too.
Most come in at around 400g, and feature a toughened (if eye-popping), moulded exterior. All are capable of soaking up some punishment, and at the very least are shock-proof, resistant to drops of up to 1.2m, rain proof, and can withstand being run over by a car (up to a tonne in weight). The Thunderbolt and RAID editions go a little further and come backed with IP54 certification for water and dust.
For added peace of mind, limited warranties for the drives range from two to three years.
Getac’s ruggedised gear is used by the military in the Netherlands.
The F110 has been engineered to MIL-STD 810G, IP65 and MIL-STD-461F standards, and as such is protected against drops, shocks, spills, vibration, dust, liquid and more. Did we say it’s ignition proof too? ATEX and IECex certification means it’s perfectly safe for use in potentially explosive environments.
It boasts a plethora of security measures like Absolute DDS, TPM 2.0, fingerprint scanner, NFC/RFID reader, smart card reader, and Windows 10’s Multi-Factor Authentication. To aid you out on the road there’s dedicated GPS built-in, and pass-through antenna ports for connection to high-gain GPS, WWAN and WLAN vehicle- mounted antennas. Plus dual hot-swappable batteries means it will last the duration.
A hearty three-year warranty is also included with all Getac kit.
The Cat S60 is the first smartphone to incorporate a FLIR thermal imaging camera. That means it’s capable of identifying hot and cold spots, tracking heat signatures, showing temperatures in real time, and providing night vision.
It offers strong angular looks, and that heavily ruggedised shell ensures it’s drop-proof to a height of 1.8 metres, able to survive up to five metres underwater for 60 minutes, and can handle temperatures of -25°C to 55°C. Such hardiness means it exceeds even military specifications. What’s more, it’s protected against salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation and thermal shock.
Inside there’s a healthy 3,800mAh battery that should be enough to get you out of trouble.
With such a defined skillset, it’s certainly not a tool for everyone but for those in the right field, it’s a ruggedised and hardy companion.