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Make sure you've got the right tool for every job and equip yourself with a rugged smartphone

In today’s world a smartphone is essential but when you’re in a manual job a rugged smartphone might be more suitable.

Whether you’re a builder using a camera to take pictures of a site, or a plumber using a torch to light up a dark and damp space, a smartphone is arguably a tradesman’s most important tool.

The problem is, the handsets used in our personal lives are rarely built to withstand extreme weather conditions or operate in challenging work environments.

Owning a rugged, hard-working smartphone ensures you have a device you can rely on, wherever the job takes you.

Best of all, today’s rugged devices blend durability with the smart features you use to make your workload more manageable.

If you’re looking to buy a rugged phone that’s business proven and accident ready, here’s a list of features you need to be looking for to find your ideal handset.

What to look for when buying a rugged phone

Waterproof and dustproof

If you often work in wet or dusty environments, a water and dust resistant phone is vital. When buying a rugged phone, you need to be looking for IP68 device, which means it possesses an IP (ingress protection) rating of 68 – the highest for a smartphone.

This universally-recognised measurement means the phone can withstand dust and dirt associated with workshops and building sites and ensures protection from downpours or drops in water up to 1.5 metres deep.

Some handsets come with ‘wet mode’ technology which means if your hands are ever slippery or wet, you can still use it as normal.

Shockproof and drop proof

Are you sick and tired of worrying about breaking your screen or chipping the edges of your phone? According to research, 7.5 million Brits are walking around with a cracked phone screen right now, with most popular phones not built to withstand knocks and bumps.

If you regularly work at heights, searching for an easy-to-grip phone that has received US Military certification MIL-STD-810G is essential.

Having stood up to the toughest stress testing and extreme conditions, including vibrations and mechanical shock, you can rest assured knowing that if your rugged phone is ever accidentally dropped on concrete that it’ll still work and you won’t lose your valuable data.

Glove mode technology

Gloves on or gloves off? When working in the elements or if you need to wear safety gloves for your job, it’s a common daily dilemma. But with some rugged phones, it’s one you don’t need to have.

Built-in technology often called ‘glove mode’ increases the sensitivity of your touchscreen when wearing your mitts, enabling you to keep your hands dry and protected while still having a responsive phone react to your every touch.

If you want to access a vital app quickly and easily under difficult conditions – such as a torchlight – you want to be looking for a phone with a feature (often a button) which gives you instant access.

Battery Life

If you’re on the road most days or work in environments with no access to charging points, you need a phone with enough power to keep up with the busiest working day.

Losing battery can mean a loss of earnings and missed job opportunities so look for a phone with a powerful battery (around the 2800mAh mark) to make sure you get a solid day’s worth of power out of it.

Some handsets also come with the option to buy fully-charged additional batteries so if your battery does go completely flat, you can pop open the back and replace it to work even longer.

Camera Quality

If you’ve done a job that you’re proud of or you want to show a customer the before and after shots, a high-quality camera is essential. Taking a good quality photo or video to showcase your talents and entice new customers is vital for a tradesman.

But to take good photos, you need a good LED-flash camera, and a good camera means multi-megapixels. Anything above 10MP for the rear camera will ensure top quality images and to capture your best angles, look for a front camera around the 5MP mark.

For those wanting something extra from their device, you might want to consider a camera with thermal imaging technology. Plumbers, in particular, might use this feature to light up dark-lit areas or to find a problem leak.

NFC Technology

Stocking up on tools and supplies from a merchant can be difficult if you’ve forgotten your wallet or are short of change.

However, having a phone with near-field communication (NFC) technology allows you to link your phone with your credit or debit card and can digitalise your wallet.

So whether you’re picking up some nails, paying a supplier or buying a sausage sandwich for a morning treat, having NFC on your phone means you can seamlessly purchase anything with a simple tap.

The right tool for every job

You wouldn’t buy the wrong hammer or use the incorrect wrench on the job, so why would you equip yourself with a phone that’s not built to perform in rugged conditions?

If you make the right choice of rugged smartphone, your device can become as important in your tool belt as anything else.

By choosing a phone that’s business proven and accident ready, you can work confidently knowing your phone is prepared for whatever the working day throws at it.