A rugged device is defined by its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions and physical stress, making it well-suited for use in demanding industrial, military, emergency services or in-field settings. These devices are characterised by robust construction, typically featuring reinforced materials that provide resistance to factors such as extreme temperatures, moisture, dust, vibrations, and impacts.

Rugged devices often adhere to specific durability standards, such as MIL-STD for military applications, and they may have higher Ingress Protection (IP) ratings to indicate resistance to solid particles and liquids. The design of rugged devices prioritises durability and reliability, ensuring they can function effectively in environments where conventional electronic equipment might fail. Common applications for rugged devices include field service, transport and logistics, construction, mining, and any other scenarios where reliability in challenging conditions is paramount.