RugGear is an international company which specialise in developing and producing tough phones. They are particularly good for plumbers, carpenters and other trades people, or anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
The RG100 has a robust look, and feels durable while you are holding it. It is bulky with dimensions of 126 x 58 x 23 mm and a weight of 165g; this gives you the instant impression of how solid it is. The button layout on the front is typical for a feature phone with each giving you a reassuring ‘click’ when you press them Volume control buttons are in the usual positions along the right edge, but there is a torch button on the opposite side. Most of the top edge of the phone is given over to the LED torch with the rest being allocated to the 3.5mm audio jack. There are two USB sockets, one is a microUSB on the bottom of the phone used for charging, and the other one is a full USB on right edge, just above the volume buttons. The latter gives you the ability to use the RugGear feature ‘Charge Pal’, this enables the charging of other mobile products. It also provides the ability to use the phone as a mass storage device. All ports have protective covers. On the back you have the loudspeaker and a 1.3 MP camera along with access to the battery compartment. This in turn allows for access to the dual SIM card and microSD slots. The design of the RG100 conforms with the military standard MIL-810G, this means it can be dropped 2 metres on to concrete without any damage, and temperature variations aren’t a problem. It also ensures it can deal with humid environments, constant vibration and changes in air pressure. When you are outside, or working on a building site you need a phone with protection against dust and water. With a high IP68 rating this phone is able to deal with being submerged in up to 2 metres of water for 30 minutes, and is completely dust proof. The network reception of this phone is you would expect, excellent. We tried it with various network SIM cards and had no problems. This is particularly impressive, as our offices are in an area with poor coverage. A potentially useful capability is the dual SIM card slots. This gives you the ability to use two standard SIM cards simultaneously. This may seem strange at first, but it does give people who receive lots of customer calls the ability to keep work and personal separate. If you are one of these people you will likely take advantage of the advanced call menu. This giving you the ability to blacklist numbers, set call recording and change auto redial options. The speakers on this phone are loud, and are rated as producing 100db, which means you should never miss a call. Data connectivity is included, but this is only in the form of 2G which provides limited Internet access via the Services menu. It is however accessible from either SIM card and uses GSM/GPRS/EDGE The 2” display is capable of providing a 176 x 220 resolution, this is ok for viewing the odd photo, but Hollywood blockbusters are not destined for this screen. To protect the screen RugGear has applied a protective glass layer. You can record videos and take quick snaps with the 1.3 megapixel camera, with their being a couple of options to fine tune the results. With Bluetooth 3.0 built-in you will be able to connect to a variety of peripherals, including headsets. This makes it easier to take calls since your can hands can be free while talking. Battery life on the RG100 is as you would image good. RugGear state the phone will last for up to 600 hours on standby, and has talk time of up to 560 minutes. We weren’t able to confirm these figures, but our test unit never needed recharging. The LED torch is a great addition to this phone. It is bright and has several different settings, making it ideal for a variety of situations. Press the dedicated button once and you get a half-beam, a second time you have full-beam. Continue pressing and you get various flashing modes. There are lots of other handy additions including a calculator, calendar, alarm, world clock and Ebook reader. All of these are basic, but they do their jobs well enough to keep you organised. If you need to catch-up with what is happening in the world or just want to listen to some music the FM radio is a good addition, which provides reasonable reception, interestingly unlike other phone you don’t need to have headphones connected to use it. The RugGear RG100 provides you with everything you would expect from a feature phone. You have good mobile network reception, and great battery life, just like the phones we all got used to in the past. But it gives you so much extra with careful selected features which give real advantages to trades people and outdoor adventurers. It excels in the protection it offers with the ability for submersion in up to 2 metres of water for up to 30 minutes, and being able to withstand significant impacts on to concrete. The high ingress protection rating of IP68, means you shouldn’t have any problems with water, or dust. All this makes it a phone you can rely on when you are working, or enjoying the outdoors.