A rugged device is going to be a bit more expensive than the average consumer product which makes it tempting to go for the cheaper option and just complement it with a rugged case. But will it really perform up to expectations and is it actually going to be the more economical choice in the long run?
Rugged devices are specifically designed and built to withstand harsh environments and rough handling. It makes them a reliable choice for those who work in truly demanding conditions. In contrast, regular phones with rugged cases may provide some level of protection against accidental drops. Still, they are not as robust or reliable as rugged devices.
A rugged case is not completely sealed
It’s rather simple, you pop on the rugged case yourself while a rugged device is going to be completely sealed in the factory. This brings on a couple of problems. Any rugged device worthy of its name is going to have an IP rating. This indicates exactly how resistant to dust and water it’s going to be. Many rugged devices are completely submersible and dustproof against even the smallest particles due to their factory sealing. Extremely few cases will offer this kind of protection. The few phone cases that offer an IP rating rely on glue instead of being completely sealed with gaskets, and won’t last nearly as long. Additionally, you will have to mount the rugged cases yourself and a small mistake might ruin the seal.
Rugged cases won’t change what’s inside
Shock protection is about a lot more than just a hard shell that protects the screen. A rugged case might make your tablet look the part of a tough device but the inside matters just as much. It makes no difference if the screen is kept safe when you drop it if the shock damages the interior components. A rugged tablet will be built tough from the inside out, the components are selected with a rough job in mind and secured to be able to take the beating.
Repeated vibrations are also guaranteed to take their toll on a consumer device and there is nothing a rugged case can do about it. Rugged devices will go through rigid testing to make sure they can handle vibrations on a daily basis without taking damage. The same thing goes for extreme temperatures, a case won’t improve temperature resistance at all. A truly rugged product is going to be built to handle both lower and higher temperatures than any consumer device.
A rugged case might offer excellent protection for the screen but it brings on another issue. The double glass can make the device very slow to react to touch commands. Rugged devices on the other hand are built with tough, hardened glass from the start. There is no extra layer that affects the touchscreen. In fact, they are actually constructed to be handled with gloves on and in the rain.
In the end, rugged cases will give you inferior protection which leads to damaged devices that need to be replaced. What might look like the cheaper option is actually going to end up being more expensive in the long run.