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Overview

Tough calls

Last reviewed: November 2009
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The great outdoors is often inhospitable to electronics gear, including cell phones. One unfortunate fall or splash can instantly dispatch your cell to the great electronics hereafter. But these three models, with their rugged, water-resistant cases, can keep you connected on tough terrain or in foul weather. (We actually tested them in a rain shower.) And they have other useful qualities that might persuade you to overlook their slightly bulky cases.

 
Casio Exilim Mobile

Casio Exilim Mobile ($280), Verizon

The Exilim's shiny black exterior is actually a translucent display that shows incoming calls. Twisting the cover transforms it into a 4.9-megapixel camera with a flash (which doubles as a flashlight), optical 3x zoom, image stabilizer, autofocus, and best and multishot modes. It also includes digital photo album software. There's good voice quality when talking, only fair when listening.

 
Motorola Tundra

Motorola Tundra ($200), AT&T

The Tundra boasts Motorola's latest noise-reduction technology, called CrystalTalkPlus. It has very good voice quality when talking and good when listening, better than that of most AT&T cell phones.Its 1.9-megapixel camera can record video and supports USB printing but lacks a flash. The display for incoming calls is difficult to read, and its memory card is hard to access. The phone is recommended: See 398 Top products.

 
Samsung Rugby

Samsung Rugby ($130), AT&T

The Rugby is the "brainiest" of the bunch. It can open and view Office files, blurring the line with smart phones. Its 1.2-megapixel camera supports USB printing and can record video but lacks flash. Voice quality is very good when talking, fair when listening. It lacks voice-activated dialing, the auto-answer doesn't work with a headset, and the memory card is hard to access.