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RUGGEX 4G Rhino 5 Smartphone

Anywhere near the sea or a beach is not a great place for the average mobile phone but with the RUGGEX Rhino 5 this was not an issue [©MG]

For the likes of us who get out there in all weathers, and often harsh operating conditions, the ‘average’ smartphone is highly susceptible to both water and physical damage, writes Mike Gormley.

Having tried various cases in attempts to protect my costly phones, and having got annoyed that it is often tricky to operate with these covers on, I set about looking for a stand-alone rugged phone. There are a few about but they are not so easy to find.


You have no worries if you are out in wild weather – here on the infamous Dawlish Sea Wall [© Jean Gormley]

The phone featured here is the RUGGEX 4G Rhino 5 Smartphone, top of the RUGGEX Rhino range and designed in the UK which is a nice feature. It certainly looks the part with its rubber and metal case, with angled corners and robust large finger-friendly buttons that are in addition to the touch screen. The spec says it is good for a drop from 6 feet (1.8 metres) onto concrete, but I did not try this one though feel sure it would be okay.


The Rhino 5 has been been my pocket no matter what and this included a lot of tree work which is pretty unforgiving [©MG]

The Rhino Glass touch screen works in the normal way for a smartphone but is a little reluctant to respond when wet. I have been using this phone for about two months now and it lives in my pockets, come whatever. It has certainly stood up to all sorts and is definitely waterproof, being IP68 rated. It has put up with me working on a variety of projects from logging to working on the house and garden as well as the normal life including trips out on the moors and hills. Through all these activities, it has been in my pocket. The Rhino 5 is specified to work in more extreme climatic conditions than the average phone.


RUGGEX Rhino 5 as you get it – I could not resist adding one of my favourite and appropriate trophies from a fairly recent trip to Victoria Falls [©MG]

Another real bonus, considering the quite recent issues with an entire mobile phone network going down, is that the Rhino has dual SIM. This has several advantages but, in this case, you can maintain comms if one provider is off air. As well as this, and with the pretty dreadful mobile phone signals we have to endure in the UK, one has the option of two ready-to-go network cards for both incoming and outgoing. This could be for Work and Personal, or just to have the benefit of better signal on a different network.


The charge and earphone sockets are sealed in behind a very secure rubberised flap [©MG]

Alongside these SIM ports is a mini SD card port for storage; these all being safely screwed in behind the waterproof cover and a tool supplied. Also in here is a removable 3100 mAh battery. This will last quite well though precise charge life is clearly is down to usage. It does seem to be a bit slow to recharge, so needs to be kept charged up when you can; I try to re-power overnight and the Rhino can do this while turned off, unlike some.


The back of the RUGGEX looks the part with a sturdy screw-on waterproof cover [©MG]

The in-built cameras are perfectly adequate at 8 MP. There is good volume and clear sound, which of course is essential for a phone designed for the outdoorsman. The Rhino 5 runs on Android 7, not the latest version, which is no doubt reflected in the price which is a good bit less than some phones in this class. For all the real tech info take a look at www.mantistech.co.uk/rugged


Under the cover live the battery and SIM cards etc. [©MG]

For me the RUGGEX Rhino 5 is a life-resistant phone for those that do not regularly wear suits yet will be quite acceptable if you do wear one on that odd occasion. A 3G flip-phone version is also available and Bob the Editor currently has that one on test, with a trip to the Gulf lined up to try it in hot & dusty.

{ images © Mike Gormley unless noted }

The removable 3100 mAh battery and dual SIM card plus SD slots [©MG]

The twin SIM and SD card are grouped together in the sealed battery compartment [©MG]

The Editor’s RUGGEX 3G Flip-phone and my RUGGEX 4G Smartphone [© Bob Morrison]

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