We’ve all done it – Frantically searching for your phone as it incessantly rings at you, only to then powerlessly watch it fall from your hand and crack on the pavement. Your heart sinks to your stomach as you crouch down to pick up your now less than perfect smartphone. The screen is shattered, the facade is chipped, and you now possess an entirely unreasonable resentment towards both the pavement, and the person on the other end of that phone destroying call.
This is just one example of the many battles mobile devices face every day. From being crushed in your back pocket, to being dropped down the porcelain throne, the world is out to get your fancy new technology. Whether its business or pleasure, we all depend on handheld devices at some point in our lifetime, from phones, to PDA’s, to handheld computers. You can look back with nostalgia at your Nokia 3210 that could withstand anything shy of a hurricane, but unfortunately the world we live in has changed, and Snake is no longer the most complicated task we need these devices for.
So where do you start when it comes to protecting your handheld lifeline? Well firstly you need to recognise your needs. Are you using it for business or pleasure? Whats is your regular vicinity to water? What’s the likelyhood of your PDA being run over by a JCB? For those of you with more industrial needs, it may be simpler and a lot less financially painful in the long run, to opt for a rugged device that specially caters to your needs.
The Rugged Devices
There is a huge market of rugged mobile phones, computers and PDA’s, they may be a little chunkier than your standard device, but that is not without good reason. The Gladius 5 is waterproof, dustproof, and will survive a drop from 5 ft, the Seals TS3 is approved to military standards, can survive in extreme temperature and is also waterproof, and the Husky 4 Pro is once again waterproof and has a funky, industrial appearance. You’d be forgiven for thinking that these chunky devices lose out when it comes to functionality, but in fact they all still contain the full functionality of their standard counterparts. In fact there is very little these tough devices can’t do, making them a great tool for businesses that find themselves working in extreme conditions, or just have very clumsy employees.
Now for some of you, an entirely rugged device could be leaning towards the excessive. If you use the same device for both business and pleasure, indoors and outdoors, then perhaps a rugged accessory might be better suited to your needs.
The Rugged Cases
Hundred of jobs require employees to face the elements every day, from emergency services to delivery drivers, all of which will require the use of some kind of mobile device. If you regularly work outside but can’t face the idea of using anything other than your personal device, then a rugged case could be the saviour to a costly disaster. Rugged cases, to some extent, can spoil the design of a phone and they do add a relative amount of bulk to any device, but this is a small price to pay for the waterproof, drop proof, and general life proofing of your technology.
Sony Xperia ZR
What if you’re an office worker with a penchant for destroying phones? A rugged device or case is probably a bit excessive, but there are solutions out there. The big selling point of 2014 smartphones is “water resistance”, it seems developers have realised that the general public have a tendency for accidentally submerging their smartphones. However this is a term that needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. A lot of devices that advertise their “water resistance” are often referring to a light spot of rain, not full submersion. It is also worth noting that this resistance only refers to fresh water, salt water causes a whole other level of catastrophe. Sony have jumped into water resistance with both feet, and their Xperia ZR is safe from full submersion for up to 30 minutes(once again this purely refers to freshwater – this phone has not got its sea legs wet just yet).
If you are a stickler for brand loyalty and your provider still hasn’t brought out a truly waterproof device, then you can go down the road of nano coating your device. This is something you can do at home, or you can send your phone away to be coated. It provides water resistance more than waterproofing, but it can provide a pretty good party trick when you nonchalantly pour water over your smartphone at the dinner table.
The Chimp Glass
Nearly all new smartphones are created using Gorilla Glass for the touch screen. This is basically really tough glass, which is scratch proof (except from sand – the beach really is out to get your technology), and can be dropped with an 80% success rate. However if you find yourself regularly residing in that last 20% there are tough touch screen protectors, such as Tuff Screen or Rhino Shield, which boasts the ability to take at least 5 times the impact of Gorilla Glass alone.
Last two cents
There is a huge market of accessories and devices aimed at saving our technology from the impending disaster that day to day life brings, and if chosen correctly you could save yourself a small fortune, and months of staring at a shattered screen.
Steve Berry is the Director of Maxatec and is an expert in the field of mobile devices. Maxatec has vast technology experience spanning over 40 years, distributing the highest grade business devices, including rugged smartphones.