I bang on about being rugged all the time and as many of you know, i’ truly passionate about providing the right rugged mobile hardware when it comes to business users.  However if you ever take a look at our guide to ruggedness then you’ll learn that it’s not just about being waterproof and drop proof, there’s an awful lot you as the user can do to stop your device form being damaged in it’s day to day use and this is especially good advice when it comes to things like the LCD screen of your prized rugged smartphone!

We sometimes forget that all rugged devices are still at the end of the day precision electronic devices that are packed with technology that will go wrong if not cared for and the screen one of the biggest items in a mobile device where we see the most issues occurring.  The bad news is that screens are still made form glass or plastics that will scratch and break if mis-treated, but the good news is we’ve got some proven experience when it comes to helping you and your users stop screen issues in their tracks!

Here’s our top 10 tips to help you stop cracking or scratching your rugged mobile handheld’s screens

Screen Protector

If I got a penny for every time I gave this advice, but a screen protector will save your business so much money.  Most of the screen damage our repair centre sees is from scratches and every day use of the screen.  many rugged devices now have plastic dual layer screens to protect the LCD from damage in the event of a drop but this means they’re vulnerable to scratching.  All our Raptor devices are supplied pre-fit with a screen protector but if it gets worn or damaged, replace it.  It’ll be the best £5 you ever spend!the supplied

Stylus mis-usage

If your device still has a resistive touch screen, then it can be used by anything that can apply pressure.  Ball point pens, bits of wood, screws, nails and anything else like that will work, but they’ll screw your screen up pretty quickly, always carry a spare stylus or use your finger!



Whilst using your device with gloves on is a benefit of rugged devices, be careful that your gloves aren’t dirty.  Gloves that are gritty, laden with abrasive powders like cement or road dust can be a real hazard to your screen over time.  if you use gloves, then use a screen protector that can be replaced when it’s worn out.

Use a holster

Many screen cracks come from drops that occur when the user is not using the device.  I see drops from pockets when getting out of vans, devices sliding off the top of fork lifts and even devices dropping from decks of boats into the sea that could have all been avoided with a £20 belt holster to keep the device safe when not in use.

Use a cradle

Likewise secure your device when in use if that’s possible.  Van drivers who leave their devices on the floor or on their dash board could have avoided screen cracks if they only had a vehicle cradle to securely hold it when in use.

Recess your screen

Recessed screens are a bit of a thing of the past these days as Android is a finger driven OS, not stylus driven one and as such a finger can’t get into a recessed screen.  However the fact is a recessed screen will help to stop screens from hitting the floor so if this is an issue for you, look for a mobile device that has a recessed screen, or like our Raptor R4 recessed screen can have one attached in any colour you like!!

Tether your device

A device tether is something that stops you from dropping your device a long way!  We sell these to people up ladders, on platforms, on boats or anywhere where the user can drop their device and lose it forever.  A tether will stop your device form being dropped full stop, making it almost impossible to crack your screen. [/column]

Beware the toolbox

We see a lot of screen issues here from engineers throwing their mobile device into their toolbox or bag that’s full of tools.  Close the lid and it’s easy for a screwdriver or wrench to apply enough pressure to the screen to scratch or crack it.  If you use a toolbox, then find a proper place for the device or put it in a holster or case first.[/column]

Use education

This isn’t a cop-out, but more about getting users to understand the device they’re using and to educate them to use it responsibly.  Too often we see too many companies who think just because a device is labelled as rugged, they can throw it up in the air 30M or not have to look after it at all because “it’s rugged”.  All to often this just leads to user screen cracks that are clearly user abused scenario’s and are not covered.  A little education can go a long, long way to helping you minimize all damage, let alone screen issues.

Don’t rely on Gorilla glass

Although it does work to reduce scratches, Gorilla glass isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the minds of most users.  Firstly we’re yet to see any indication that it protects against cracks at all.  IN our own testing we have never found that any gorilla glass screen has resisted drops at all.  Secondly, whilst it does help with lighter scratches, bigger gouges into the screen arn’t so well protected like keys in a pocket or a tool being wedged against it.  We’ve found that a good screen protector coupled with the advice above is way better than relying on hardened glass.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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