The best-rugged tablets can not only take a beating without skipping a beat, but they can do so while providing a solid experience for both work and play. If you’re in the market for one, that’s probably because you need to use a tablet in an environment where a normal one would get damaged way too easily.
These rugged tablets have been built to withstand abuse from extreme temperatures, moisture, dust, drops, and hard knocks while still doing everything you need out of a tablet. And they’ve been diligently tested to ensure they can handle anything you throw at them.
Essentially, these are the perfect tool for anyone working in the field, busy environments, or in extreme situations. And they can do more than a typical smartphone or rugged smartphone (opens in new tab), not to mention survive where a regular tablet can’t.
Of course, you’ll have to pay a little more for one of these devices when compared to typical tablets. But, since you won’t get a new one every time something happens, you’ll save money in the long run.
While you won't get a rugged tablet as slim and light as the iPad Air 2 (opens in new tab), it doesn't mean you should have to lug around a chunky and unwieldy tablet. If you think a conventional tablet like that might be better for your work, check out our list of the best tablets (opens in new tab).
So, to help you find the best-rugged tablet, we've put together this list of the top shock and drop-proof tablets on the market today.
Secretly, this is a rugged tablet I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. One that supports the latest version of Android, can make calls, is waterproof, has a big battery, has two speakers, and doesn’t cost the Earth. Oukitel delivers all this with the RT1 and yes, although there are some corners cut, we still believe it is the best value-for-money rugged tablet out there. Don’t expect it to be a speed champion though or to be able to connect to your wired headphones. The Mediatek Helio P22 processor that powers it is adequate only for light tasks - think playing Spotify, scanning barcodes in a warehouse, and Google Maps for gig operators - which should cater to most users. Anything more will make it grind to an atrocious halt. Overall, this IP6869 K-rated tablet is a must-buy if you’re looking for an affordable yet capable outdoor companion.
Read the full review: Oukitel RT1 (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The best-rugged tablet you can buy right now is the Getac UX10, from Getac which is known for its well-protected and versatile devices.
The Getac UX10 is a fairly customizable rugged tablet, as you can pick from a variety of Intel Core CPU options, and there are a variety of accessories you can pick up to tailor the UX10 to a variety of work situations. This makes it fairly versatile, and along with its decent screen specs, rugged protection, and various high-storage options, the device is great for working out in the field.
Getac doesn't publish a price for the UX10, but you can request a quote for the device at the Getac website by clicking here (opens in new tab).
The Panasonic Toughbook A3 is a great tablet for outdoor work with lots of protection, a screen that's well suited to use in bright daylight, and many customization options for field workers.
The tablet works well in busy environments, too, with loudspeakers to be heard over the din, and there's also enough tech inside for it to be a useful tablet for a range of functions.
You can buy the Panasonic Toughbook A3 at Panasonic's website (opens in new tab).
Read the full review: Panasonic Toughbook A3 (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you're looking for a rugged Windows tablet that can withstand an impressive amount of punishment, then the Getac F110 (opens in new tab) is an excellent choice. Its durable body can withstand moisture, extreme temperatures, and drops without it being bulky or heavy. It is certified to MIL-STD 810G, 1P65, and MIL-STD-461F standards. The most recent version of this tablet comes with 6th generation Intel Core processors, so there's plenty of power here, and a dual battery system means you can easily swap them out without pausing.
There are a few other Getac devices out there, but this is one of the only ones that's rugged enough to make our list of the top spots (the company makes rugged laptops too).(opens in new tab)
Not all rugged tablets are designed to withstand temperatures, knocks, dust, or water; some are meant to protect from the most destructive force of all: kids. The Lenovo 10e Chromebook is designed to be great as a learning tool for children.
The tablet is fairly big and well-protected, and its processor, memory, and storage are all designed for the kinds of tools a child will be using, so there's not plenty of storage space or processing power, but it's enough for schoolwork and learning. You can also buy an optional keyboard to turn the device into a pseudo-laptop.(opens in new tab)
The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 (opens in new tab) is a 2-in-1 rugged device, which means it has an attachable keyboard that allows it to work as either a laptop or a tablet. When in tablet mode, the Toughbook CF-33 is an excellent durable machine with MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-810G, and IP65 certification, which means it can survive shocks, drops, liquids, and dust. The battery life is a bit short compared to other rugged tablets on this list, but you can quickly swap out the battery when you need extra time. You can also buy extended batteries that double the run time from 10 hours to 20. This is an additional cost, however.(opens in new tab)
Unlike other rugged tablets on this list, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 (opens in new tab) isn't designed for industrial-grade protection. However, it provides IP67 certification for dust and water ingress and a battery that lasts between eight to 10 hours. Plus, it supports replaceable batteries, so you can keep on working even if you're away from a power supply, and it's drop-tested to 1.2 meters. A decent camera and NFC technology are included, and it's rounded off with Samsung's customary excellent build quality. The newer Galaxy Tab Active 2 improves many features of the first Tab Active, with more RAM, better CPU, and much more.
This 10.1-inch Android tablet can withstand drops up to six feet and be water and dust-resistant. While it's bulkier and heavier than non-rugged tablets, it's still portable enough to be easily carried around worksites. The XSlate Android L10 also has a better display than its predecessor, made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with higher resolution and glove/wet touch technology. It's not the most powerful tablet on this list, but it's a more affordable alternative for people who want to use an Android device outside and on the road.