Samsung's first rugged smartphone with a hole punch display is official (and coming to the US)

Samsung's first rugged smartphone with a hole punch display is official (and coming to the US)
UPDATE#2: Shortly after properly unveiling the Galaxy XCover Pro in Korea, Samsung has confirmed the rugged handset will bring its surprisingly modern design to the US in the "first half of 2020" at a refreshingly reasonable price of $499.99. There are no other details on availability to report, but the company has joined forces with Verizon for the XCover Pro US announcement, so the nation's largest wireless service provider is pretty much guaranteed to carry this bad boy for both businesses and everyday consumers.

UPDATE: As it turns out, the Galaxy XCover Pro wasn't supposed to go official in Finland while CES 2020 was taking place in Vegas, properly making its debut in Samsung's homeland of Korea after the Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up. We don't have anything new to report on the specifications of the chaebol's latest rugged smartphone, but the tech giant is indirectly confirming the handset will be making its way to North America at some point by saying dual SIM functionality will be supported around those parts. 

There are no words on a price tag of commercial release date for the US and Canada, though. Our original story follows below.

With the Galaxy S20 (or S11) family launch event still a little over a month away and the ink barely dry on the recent press release previewing the upcoming S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite, no one expected Samsung to announce any other new smartphones at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

But the company just surprisingly took the wraps off a fairly unconventional device called the Galaxy XCover Pro with minimal fanfare in Finland (of all places). If the somewhat convoluted moniker sounds familiar, that might be because Samsung unveiled a handset branded Galaxy XCover FieldPro just a few months back.

What's interesting is that the XCover Pro undeniably looks sleeker and cooler than the XCover FieldPro on the outside while downgrading a bunch of key specs and features.

Is this the closest we'll ever get to a Galaxy S20 Active?


Obviously, it's far too early to answer that question, but at the same time, it seems highly unlikely that Samsung will bring back its Active line of rugged Galaxy S-series flagships anytime soon. The S8 Active is two and a half years old already, and instead of an S9 Active, fans of both robust mobile device designs and high-end specifications had to settle for the aforementioned Galaxy XCover FieldPro a full 20 months after the "regular" Galaxy S9 was unveiled.


Worse still, the FieldPro caters exclusively to Samsung's enterprise customers, never actually going on sale for the masses. For now, all we know about the availability of the Galaxy XCover Pro is that official sales will be underway in Finland on January 31 at a fairly reasonable price of €499. But clearly, this is a more "mainstream" rugged effort, and we wouldn't be surprised if Samsung decides to roll the muscular bad boy out across the old continent and maybe even the US.

Naturally, its design is nowhere near as stylish as what we expect from the Galaxy S20 lineup or what the S10 series has going for it. But we applaud Samsung for integrating the modern hole punch into an otherwise conventional build capable of taking a beating thanks to military-grade endurance. The screen bezels are pretty darn thin, at least for a rugged handset with a built-in bumper designed to absorb shocks and reduce the damage caused by drops on hard surfaces.

The textured back is probably made from plastic for the exact same reason, housing two cameras instead of the single rear shooter on the XCover FieldPro, and the fingerprint sensor is moved from the back to the side, doubling as a power button.

The Galaxy XCover Pro comes with respectable but unimpressive specs


In case the price point didn't make it abundantly clear, let us highlight this is by no means a high-end cousin of the Galaxy S20 or S10 on steroids. Instead, the XCover Pro borrows the middling Exynos 9611 processor from the Galaxy A51 while settling for a slightly smaller 6.3-inch Infinity Display with an identical resolution of 2400 x 1800 pixels and some added outdoor-friendly Wet Touch and Glove Mode functionalities.


Due to its thicker screen borders, strengthened metal frame, and reinforced corners, the Galaxy XCover Pro is significantly taller, wider, and thicker overall, as well as heavier, at no less than 217 grams. But that's actually a solid improvement over the 256 grams weighed in by the XCover FieldPro. 

On the not so bright side of things, the XCover Pro packs a smaller 4,050mAh battery, although the 6.3-incher also borrows the 15W fast charging technology from the non-rugged A51. Perhaps more importantly for road warriors concerned about that unremarkable cell size, the battery is user-removable, which means you can easily replace it with a fresh one on the fly.

The Galaxy XCover Pro doesn't look like a very impressive cameraphone on paper, combining 25 and 8MP rear-facing imaging sensors and featuring a single 13MP selfie shooter. Disappointingly, the handset also runs Android 9.0 Pie out the box, but when taking its 4GB RAM count and 64 gigs of internal storage space into consideration as well, the value for money feels pretty great. Let's just hope Samsung is indeed planning a global rollout in the near future. 

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12 Comments

1. shield

Posts: 892; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

Ugly smartphone 2020 :D

11. androiduser

Posts: 558; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

As someone who prefers 16:9 ansd 18:9 aspect ratios I wonder if they'll make a comeback in the future, I'd love to buy a future OnePlus or pixel phone with that aspect ratio.

2. Vancetastic

Posts: 1898; Member since: May 17, 2017

I'd like for all phones to be less fragile. This interests me, other than the hole in screen. I'd much rather have a bezel.

3. Locked-n-Loaded

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2019

Oh look another iteration of the same phone from Samsung. What a shock. Hey... lets make 15 phones a year w/ various iterative designs & fragment our products line & add mass confusion to what we do. SMH

4. Knownhost

Posts: 116; Member since: Nov 13, 2017

Haters gonna hate, I suppose. But it's a good option for those who do actual work in conditions more severe than those found in an office or mom's basement. I would buy this phone to use while out in the field, and most of the guys I work with would as well.

5. Vancetastic

Posts: 1898; Member since: May 17, 2017

Pretty sure you've nailed it with the "mom's basement" part.

10. LiveFaith

Posts: 519; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

This all day. I wish every phone were durable like this. These companies go to astronomical lengths to create these gorgeous industrial art. They everyone who ponies up a grand+ for one of them is forced to cover it all up with a fat and ugly $30 case. Stooopid paradigm.

6. CDexterWard

Posts: 138; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

The thing that jumped out the most to me was that the "battery is user removable." I mean, hallelujah, it's a splinter of hope!

8. magnaroader

Posts: 53; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

You know I'd actually like for more flagships to be available in a "rugged" option. This might not be that, but at least it's a modern Samsung phone with rugged body. I'd like to buy one as a secondary phone for use in the outdoors and such.

9. markcrawfd

Posts: 6; Member since: Aug 08, 2019

The S8 Active is the best Samsung phone because it has a flat screen. This XCover Pro could have been a successor if it had the latest specs. There really needs to be true successor to the S8 Active.

12. matistight

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 13, 2009

If this is an LCD maybe, but even flexible OLEDs are not durable at all! Look at the Samsung S7 Active and its wonderful pink lines, and the S8 Actives ease of screen burn/pink tinting

13. SaRPeR

Posts: 170; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Galaxy XCover Pro has TFT LCD display not OLED.

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