Samsung Galaxy Xcover Review

Introduction and Design

Although we've heard more than a few stories of smartphones surviving all kinds of abuse – being dropped from a plane, baked in an oven, or ran over by a car, to name a few examples, they are pretty vulnerable devices in general. The Samsung Galaxy Xcover, however, does not want to obey this unwritten rule and stands out with its rugged design and IP67 certification. In plain words, the phone is allegedly resistant to shock, dust, dirt, and submersion in water at up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

But being able to withstand the elements does not mean that the Galaxy Xcover belongs to the feature phone kind. It is powered by Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, packs a 3.65-inch HVGA display and a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash graces its back. Besides that, you get GPS, Wi-Fi, and a 7.2Mbps 3G radio.

So in theory, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover is shaping up like a blend between an entry-level smartphone and a tough phone combining various bits of both worlds. But will the end result from such a concoction really deserve your attention? Let's take it for a spin and find out.

The package contains:

  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Getting started guide
  • 2GB microSD card with SD adapter


Just a brief inspection of the Samsung Galaxy Xcover is enough for one to realize that this smartphone is meant to be tougher than the rest. Sure, the handset may not be among the prettiest we've ever seen, but it feels solid in the hand despite the fact that its body is made solely out of plastic. Strangely, we noticed that holding the smartphone gives the impression that you are using a larger device, but nevertheless, operating it with a single hand is an effortless process. Samsung has chosen to go with only physical buttons for the Galaxy Xcover. We are glad to say that they are all well exposed, which makes finding them with your thumb pretty easy.

You can compare the Samsung Galaxy Xcover with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The handset’s textured battery cover provides a bit of extra grip, and the ridges on its side give it an adventurous look. Still, it is not quite clear how high of a drop the smartphone can withstand, and the lack of rubberized elements hints that its shock resistance is inferior to that of most tough dumb phones.

Taking the smartphone's back cover off is possible after untwisting the special lock, which holds it firmly attached in place. Once it is gone, we are treated to a view of the handset's 1500mAh battery, under which hide the SIM and microSD card slots. We also noticed the rubber trims, which are there to prevent moisture and dust from destroying the phone's circuitry. The phone's insulation would not be complete without the removable covers, which both the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and the microUSB port are protected by. Unfortunately, the microUSB port is recessed so deep that plugging a generic microUSB cable into it may be impossible, which can be a bummer if you don't have the stock one nearby.


What glows on the front side of the Galaxy Xcover is a 3.65-inch scratch-resistant display, which is surely among the ugliest ones to be fitted on Samsung's recent Android smartphones. First of all, it has the unimpressive resolution of 320 by 480 pixels. That translates into a pixel density of 158 PPI, meaning that graphics look pixelized and fine text is difficult to read. What further disappoints us are its unsaturated colors and narrow viewing angles. On top of all its outdoor visibility is average at best, which is a shame considering that the device is marketed at the adventurous crowd.

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 360-degrees View:


The Samsung Galaxy Xcover runs Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread with the TouchWiz user interface installed on top of it. You get up to seven customizable home screens and a grid-like application list that every Android user is already familiar with. A single-core Marvell MG2 processor clocked at 800MHz is what ticks under the smartphone's hood, and while navigating about rarely exhibits anything more than a slight, tolerable lag, you can forget about using a live wallpaper. Using the on-screen virtual keyboard is pretty straightforward as it is comfortable and responsive. Text can be easily typed at high speeds in both landscape and portrait mode.


Samsung has not forgotten to include a set of apps that will surely come in handy. The AllShare app allows for files to be transferred wirelessly between the smartphone and a DLNA-enabled device. The Music Hub app also comes preloaded and lets you browse and purchase music on the go.

SocialHub is what has been added to satisfy your social networking needs. Sure, it may not be as versatile as a dedicated Twitter or Facebook client, but it gets the job done if you simply need to shoot out a quick message on the fly. Some other goodies like a File Manager app and Polaris Office for document viewing have also been included out of the box.

Internet Browser:

Surfing the web using the Galaxy Xcover’s stock browser is pretty comfortable. Pages render in a timely manner, scrolling around works as it should, and the pinch-to-zoom functionality works without a hitch. Unfortunately, a slight lag becomes apparent when viewing heavy web pages, and the experience feels incomplete as Adobe Flash support is out of the question.


The 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera on the Samsung Galaxy Xcover is backed up by an LED flash, which has the neat ability to act as a flashlight without the need to install third-party software. Still, 3.2 megapixels is a relatively low figure considering that we have seen more than a few entry-level smartphones featuring 5-megapixel sensors.

It was quite gloomy when we took a bunch of sample shots, yet the photos turned out good enough to be used on social network posts, or perhaps to make small prints out of. Still, fine details were missing, and some of the outdoor samples were overexposed. Thankfully, the camera interface offers a broad selection of shooting modes, including panorama and smile detection.

The Galaxy Xcover is also capable of shooting videos in VGA resolution, which is the bare minimum that all modern smartphones should handle. Sadly, its quality is far from admirable as it lacks detail.
Samsung Galaxy Xcover Sample Video:


In terms of multimedia, all you get is the stock music and video players that Android comes equipped with, but the important thing about them is that they get the job done. Videos of size up to 720p play smoothly, but the smartphone's lack of support for the DivX/Xvid formats needs to be pointed out. There is an FM radio built in as well, yet it still requires you to plug a pair of earphones in order for it to work, and such does not come out of the box.

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The earpiece of the Samsung Galaxy Xcover sounds slightly muffled, but it produces really loud, distinct voices without a hint of distortion even at the maximum volume level. The microphone performs even better as it picks up voices that sound clear and distinct on the other side of the line.

According to the manufacturer, out of the smartphone's stock 1500mAh battery one can expect getting rougly six and a half hours of talk time on 3G, or about 660 hours of stand-by. And while the talk time figure is nothing out of the ordinary, the stand-by time is slightly above the average for a modern smartphone.


All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover combines the functionality of an entry level Android-powered smartphone with the ability to withstand dust, shock, and water damage, which is a profile that few handsets can match. Our only major complaint is that its display is of very poor quality. However, since the Xcover retails for about $330, we would definitely recommend checking out a few tough alternatives. For example, the Motorola DEFY+ has better specs, yet can be found even slightly cheaper. At the same time, the Sony Ericsson Xperia active has a better camera, a display that works even when wet, yet can be found at a sub-$300 price.

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  • Resistance to dust, water, and shock
  • Solid feel
  • Easy to use with a single hand


  • Ugly-looking display
  • Camera could be better

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