The best rugged tablets means you can stay connected to the web and apps in even the harshest environments. So whether you work for the military or public utilities, industry or the emergency services, you'll find your tablet is able to cope with drops, shocks, dust, dirt, rain, vibrations and extreme temperatures.
Just like the best rugged laptops, the tablets on our list are thoroughly tested and certified to military standards, so your hardware and precious data will stay highly protected, even if the case of accidents or harsh environments. Yes, you'll have to pay more than for a normal tablet, but you'll be able to use them in a much wider range of situations and environments.
Below, we've gathered together the best rugged tablets available today, at a range of prices and for both Android and Windows operating systems. You won't find a rugged iPad, unfortunately, because Apple don't yet make them... but the moment they do, we'll be sure to update our list!
Oukitel isn't a brand you're probably familiar with, but they've made one heck of a rugged tablet in the Oukitel RT1. Conforming to MIL-STD-810G military standards and IP68-certified, this super-tough device is waterproof to five feet for 30 minutes. With its rubberized corners and a shock-absorbing metal frame, it boasts drop protection to 1.5m (5 feet). Plus you'll benefit from 360° all-round dust resistance, to IP69K certification.
It's a very nice tablet in general, too. Running Android 11, it has a 10,000mAh battery, which the makers say will keep your device running on standby for up to 350 hours. Alternatively, you're promised seven hours' gaming time, 22 hours of video time, or 21 hours of talk time from a single charge. Yes, talk time: you can use this tablet to make calls too.
The 10.1 inch touchscreen, which has an aspect ratio of 16:10, offers Full HD resolution, and works even when you're wearing gloves. Both the front and rear, meanwhile, boast 16MP Samsung cameras with built-in photography modes.
On the downside, the P22 processor isn't the most advanced, so it can run a little slowly. Also, the screen offers only 350 nits of brightness, so isn't great in sunlight. But given this is a budget-priced tablet, we see those as acceptable compromises. And overall, this fully rugged tablet offers outstanding value.
Looking for a rugged tablet that runs Windows? The Dell Latitude 7220EX Rugged Extreme Tablet is our top pick. Certified to MIL-STD-810G and IP65 standards, it provides a good level of protection against weather, dirt, dust, sand, vibration and drops (up to four feet when switched off, and three feet when in use). It's also temperature-tested from -28°C to 62°C.
The Full HD, 11.6-inch screen is nice and big, and offers up to 1,000 nits of brightness, making it a great choice for using outdoors in sunlight. This tablet also benefits from a fast Intel Core i5 processor, a nice stylus pen which can attach to the side, and the fact you can use the touchscreen while wearing gloves. Yes, it's expensive, but you're very much getting what you pay for.
Nowadays, more and more tablets are coming with a detachable keyboard, allowing you to use them as a 2-in-1 laptop. If you want that, and rugged protection to boot, we recommend the Panasonic Toughbook 33.
Certified to MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-810G and IP65 standards, it provides a high degree of protection against water, dust, dirt, sand and more. You also get drop resistance of 150cm (5 feet) and it can operate at temperatures as cold as -29 °C, and as high as 60 °C.
The 12-inch, glove-enabled touchscreen offers a highly detailed 2160 x 1440 resolution, and there are two great cameras: a 2MP/full HD selfie lens, with privacy shutter, and an 8MP rear camera with autofocus. The i5 processor gives you great performance, and there's a generous 265GB of storage.
Overall, we only have two small niggles. The trackpad on the keyboard is a bit too small, and the onboard battery isn't the most powerful, although you can buy extended batteries that double the battery life from 10 to 20 hours.
Released in 2020, the Toughbook A3 is getting a bit old now, and only runs Android 9. But by the same token, you may see one for a lower price than others on this list, and if so, there's still a lot to like here.
Ruggedness, for one. The Toughbook A3 has been tested to MIL-STD-810H standards and certified for dust and water resistance to IP65 standards. It's also been tumble tested (500 tumbles over 3.3 feet at 5rpm) and drop-tested to six feet in height.
The Toughbook A3 is very customisable, thanks to five configurable physical buttons. It also boasts volume controls, dual swappable batteries, a built-in stylus, USB-A and type-C ports, dual SIM support and a barcode scanner. Plus the 10.1-inch LCD screen offers 1920x1200 pixel resolution and up to 800 nits of brightness, making it suitable to use in bright daylight.
The Getac UX10 is not just a great tablet, it also has ATEX and IECEx Zone 2/22 certification. That means it's safe to use in potentially explosive environments, such as mines, factories, oil and gas rigs, and flour and wood mills.
The UX10 is also IP65-rated for water and dust resistance, certified to MIL-STD-810G military standard, and drop-proof to six feet. It can operate between temperatures of -29° to 63°C, and can be stored at -51°C to 71°C. All that's made it a popular choice among emergency services and public safety personnel, as well as those working in the armed forces, industrial manufacturing and transportation.
Running Windows Pro, it's a fast worker thanks to the Intel i5 or i7 processors and 8GB RAM. The 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen can be used with gloves on, and boasts an impressive 1,000 nits of brightness. There are five programmable buttons. And if you wish, you can add a full-size detachable keyboard (sold separately) to turn it into a rugged 2-in-1 laptop.
Love Samsung gear and don't want to veer away from your favourite brand? The Galaxy Tab Active Pro might be a bit old now (it was first launched in 2019) but is impressively rugged.
This Android tablet is both compliant with the MIL-STD-810G standard and IP68-certified to protect against moisture, dirt, extreme temperatures, drops, and shocks. That means it can be immersed up to 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes, and it's passed a drop test on a plywood impact surface, over concrete, from a height of 1.2m. Replaceable batteries keep you in the field for longer, and you can use the touchscreen with gloved hands too.
As an older tablet, it runs Android 9 and the processor isn't the best, so things can run a bit slowly at times. On the plus side, the 7,600mAh battery gets you quite a lot of juice, replaceable batteries keep you going longer, there's a programmable key for easy access to your favorite apps, and enhanced Near Field Communication (NFC) makes for easy payment processing.
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