“Built like a tank,” Casio’s new G’zOne Commando smartphone puts a new twist on an old concept. While rugged tablet PCs abound and have been around for years, examples of rugged smartphones are far less prevalent. The G’zOne Commando is the first ruggedized Android handset on Verizon’s network, hitting stores on April 28.

According to engadget, the G’zOne meets military specifications for water, dust, shock, vibration, salt, fog, solar radiation and temperature extremes. With that degree of built-in toughness, G’zOne users hopefully won’t experience the displeasure of owning a spider-man edition of the phone (cracked screen). Ideal for field service workers, the phone transitions from work to play with a number of features that will appeal to the outdoorsy type, including a compass, pedometer, star gazer and thermometer.

Key features include:

  • Android 2.2
  • 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus, still photo, video capture, LED light
  • High-security encryption for corporate email
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Bluetooth
  • VZ Navigator for GPS
  • Mobile Hotspot capable

A couple neat features that techs might not need in the field but can enjoy for recreational purposes in their downtime include an app called “Adventure Training” – which allows users to run with virtual opponents, such as wild animals or record-holding athletes – and “Trip Memory,” which plots and records outdoor activities along with location information to share with friends and family on social media.

While the new smartphone will provide a great rugged option for field service workers, CNET points out a couple pitfalls. According to a review by Nicole Lee:

The Casio G’zOne Commando is unfortunately saddled with bloatware from Verizon, and the default search engine is Bing. Google Maps is not preinstalled either, though you can download it yourself. Casio’s snap-out menu is not as fluid as we would like. Photo quality is average, and call quality is a little muddy.

But despite a few setbacks, the G’zOne offers a great option for those seeking a smartphone that doesn’t require a rugged case to handle the perils of working in the field.

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ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.