The iPad may be a beautiful tablet that inspires long lines and a rush on each new model, but what if you need something more durable? When you’re taking your tablet to work or on a road trip, do you hold your breath, hoping the display won’t crack? When you hand it to a child to distract them from a minute, do you wonder if it will still function when you get it back?
Rugged tablets do exist. Our best rugged tablets not only make the best travel gifts for men, but they also offer excellent service, great graphics, and most of all, a durable exterior that won’t break just from looking at it. Let’s find the right one for you.
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Active Pro
The robust Samsung Galaxy Active Pro Android tablet offers a 10.1-inch display with a ruggedized, IP68-rated housing. It comes with 64GB of storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and an 8 megapixel front-facing camera. Upgrade your storage to 512 GB with a microSD card and buy an extra battery pack for long life during your busy day. The dimensions are comfortable for viewing, and it’s light enough at 1.4 pounds to make it your primary grab-and-go tablet.
Best Splurge: Dell Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme Tablet
Dell’s Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme Tablet uses an 8th-generation Intel core processor with 8GB of memory and a 512 solid-state hard drive. The 11.6-inch display is comfortable on the eyes, and the extra-long battery life keeps it running all day. It’s on the big side, which suits larger hands or heavy-duty usage. With a 1920 x 1080 display, graphics are clear and easy-to-read. Drop-tested from up to four feet, this IP65-rated Dell is also ATEX, IECEx-certified for use in potentially explosive environments.
Best Budget Choice: Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet
The lightweight 1.1-pound Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet may not be the fastest tablet on our list, but it’s a wonderful budget option for families or as a second tablet. It features a durable housing specially designed to withstand children. The 10-inch display looks nice while Dragontrail Pro glass resists cracking and impact. It’s got enough storage for basic school work and games and up to 10 hours of battery life to stream videos during your downtime.
Best Design: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
Panasonic’s offering is an ultra-tough, dustproof, windproof, humidity-proof, and shockproof tablet that looks great. The Toughpad FZ-Gi has physical command buttons and an integrated microphone at the bottom edge of its 10.1-inch display. The Toughpad is ISP65 certified and has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB solid-state drive. Battery life is good for up to 10 hours. The magnesium frame offers better overall durability than the typical hard-shell plastic.
Best Windows Choice: Getac F110
The Getac F110 Windows 10 tablet features an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD. The housing provides a good grip and the sunlight-readable 11.6-inch touchscreen offers excellent responsiveness even with light and heat interference. The Getac F110 is a fast, great looking, and sturdy Windows 10 tablet.
Best Battery: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2’s battery is good for up to 11 hours per charge. This tablet is great for work, commuting, or weekend activities. The Active 2 is available in Wi-Fi-only or LTE unlocked versions for use with any carrier. Military-grade rated and MIL-STD-810G certified, it features a moisture/water-resistant screen and can be submerged into water for up to 30 minutes to a depth of five feet. The Active 2 also has an HD camera, fingerprint and facial recognition, and includes a Samsung S Pen to write on the display.
Best Samsung Alternative: Vanquisher 8 inch Android Tablet
Vanquisher offers an ultra-durable housing with 64 GB storage, and a micro SD expands that to 256 GB. The housing is IP67 waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. It offers up to 500 standby hours on the battery and will last all day while you’re on the go. The 1920 x 1200 Full HD screen and 500 NITS brightness means you can use it in the middle of the day without sacrificing visibility. The Vanquisher is especially configured with a fold-out scan wedge for enterprise data collection via fast barcode reading.
Best for Families: Kindle Fire HD 8 Kid’s Edition
The Kindle Fire HD 8 Kid’s Edition Kindle is well-suited for younger children and families that need something that’s toddler-friendly. It has a kid-proof case and stand. It gives families access to the Amazon Kids+ content library of books, games, and media with an included one-year subscription. Providing up to 12-hours battery life per charge, the tablet has 32 GB of internal storage and can accept a microSD card with up to a mind-boggling 1TB storage space. Amazon backs the Kids Edition with a 2-year worry-free guarantee — if it breaks, return it and Amazon will replace it for no charge.
Best Lightweight: MobileDemand Flex 10B Rugged Touchscreen Tablet
Designed for enterprise field work, the drop-tested MobileDemand Flex 10B tablet weighs less than 2.1 pounds. It has an Intel Celeron Quad-Core processor with 4GB RAM, and 128 GB of storage. The tablet has multiple connection options including type A 3.0 USB, USB-C, and mini HDMI ports plus a standard headphone jack. It’s MIL-STD-810G certified and survived 26 repeated 4-foot drops. The tablet has protective corners for additional impact resistance and covered ports. This is one rugged Windows 10 Professional tablet. The case includes a Snap Mount Plate for mobile or fixed mounting applications.
What to Consider Before Purchasing
Rugged tablets are a lot like regular tablets, so you’ll need to consider a few questions before you invest.
- How will you use it? — Work tablets need to be extra-rugged, but tablets for play can cater to your design preferences a little more closely. Work tablets should be IP-rated for water and dust resistance and drop-tested for sufficient durability.
- Battery life versus storage? — Gaming tablets will need a lot of storage, but they’ll be shorter on battery life. If you use one for work applications, you’ll need a tablet that offers an all-day battery life so you aren’t constantly looking for a recharge. Fast-swapping depleted battery capability is another plus.
- Is your tablet compatible? — Do you have work or hobby applications that must run on your tablet? Make sure they’re compatible. Tablets on our list run Windows or Android operating systems, so check your specifications closely.
Why Do You Need A Rugged Tablet?
Rugged tablets move with you. The tablets above are functional yet ultra-rugged options. They’ll keep up with your job, your children, and your lifestyle without sacrificing essential specifications you need. These options offer good memory and most are drop-tested and water-resistant. You’ll have a tablet that you don’t worry about and can use the way you need to…finally.
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