Smartphones are very fragile things and I’m sure everyone reading this article would have had at least once dropped their phones and would agree to this. However, there is a market of its own for smartphones that can withstand everything you throw at them and the Samsung Galaxy Xcover is the latest addition to this line of phones. Coming with a rugged design and IP67 certification, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover also impresses with some good specs. So being resistant to shock, dust and dirt aren’t going to be the only features this phone has to offer. Read on to find out if this is the phone for you.
The back of the phone is textured to give you extra grip, the first step to prevent you from dropping the phone. We also liked the ridges on the side but the phone does lack rubberized elements. It’s a surprising move since you see those elements on every other shock resistant phone out there. With the Samsung Galaxy Xcover, you are actually given the option of taking off the back cover, which is in place with a special lock. The phone also has removable covers that are able to protect the standard audio jack on the top of the phone and the mircoUSB port found on the bottom. On the right side of the phone is your power key while sitting on the left is the volume rocker. The microUSB port is sadly too deep into the phone that using a common microUSB cable might be tough. So be sure to carry the cable that this phone ships with whenever you travel. The display onboard is of course scratch resistant and is 3.65 inches big. Flip the phone to reveal your 3.2 MP auto-focus camera with LED flash.
The OS is also another way this phone sets itself apart from its counterparts as it runs on Android v.2.3.4 Gingerbread. It also has Samsung’s GUI, Touchwiz running atop the OS. So that means you will not lose out on the seven homescreen feature when using the Samsung Galaxy Xcover. The grid-like application list is also found on the phone. Samsung throws in a few apps that will make using this phone more fun. One of the apps is AllShare, an app that allows you to move files wirelessly between your smartphone and any DLNA capable device. For music lovers, don’t worry, you are not left out as Samsung has Music Hub preinstalled so you can browse and purchase music whenever you like. Of course, social network users will never be left out as with the SocialHub app you will be connected all the time. So if you are not near a computer but cannot stay away from Facebook updates, then SocialHub will do the job for you. Polaris Office for all your document viewing purpose is a welcome addition as well. The screen maybe only 3.65 inches big but the on screen keyboard wasn’t tough to use. It was super responsive and you can get out those texts quickly.
The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Xcover is probably rather disappointing especially since Samsung is known for its AMOLED screens. The 3.65 inch scratch-resistant screen just doesn’t make the cut for us. It only offers a 320 x 480 pixel resolution at that too. With numbers like that, it was no surprise that we had trouble reading fine text. Viewing angles were also bad and viewing the screen under sunlight is not so good either. To make it even worse, the colors are unsaturated as well.
We have always said that numbers don’t tell the true story when it comes to cameras, but a 3.2MP auto focus camera on the Samsung Galaxy Xcover definitely disappointed us. It does come with an LED flash and it’s nifty that you can use the flash as torchlight without needing separate software. The pictures taken on the camera was a tat bit gloomy but making small prints would still turn out ok. We also found the pictures to be lacking detail as well as being overexposed at times. However, there was nothing to complain about the camera interface as it had many modes to offer which includes panorama mode. You can also shoot videos at VGA resolution but you probably won’t as we didn’t like the output so much.
Browsing the internet with this phone was a pretty good experience. The browser on the Samsung Galaxy Xcover is good as it does the job well like loading pages quickly and other navigational features like pinch-to-zoom work without any issues. Sadly though, there’s no support for Flash on this phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover also does great in terms of performance. Although the earpiece produced some muffled sounds, but you will be able to get over that as the voices sound loud and distinct. You can turn up the volume to maximum and still expect the same results. Our friends on the other end had no problems whatsoever as they say we sounded clear as well. Opening the battery cover revealed a 1500mAh battery which should last you one day for average use.
Pros and Cons
The overall design may not be appealing to many. The camera should have been much better as its quality is that of a feature phone.
Buy Samsung S5690 Galaxy Xcover