Samsung likes to have a phone for any niche it can think of. The latest addition to the Samsung Galaxy smartphone range is the rough and ready Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2. We’ve been able to get some time with the device at MWC 2013, so here’s out Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 hands-on review. See Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on review.
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 is a brute of a phone that’s ready and willing to be taken anywhere and looks like it wants to get stuck right into any situation. It boasts impressive and almost pointless attributes such as being water resistant for up to 30-minutes in a depth of 1-meter. See also Nokia announces four smartphones: Nokia Lumia 720, Lumia 520, 105, 301.
The Xcover 2 is not only waterproof (sort of), but it will also stick two-fingers up to sand and dust too. This is largely thanks to the rather ugly and bulky (in my opinion) grey ‘Xcover’ that this smartphone wears on its back. For the rugged smartphone geeks out there, this device comes with an IP67 rating, which doesn’t really mean much to most people, but we can tell you that it’s 10 IPs(?) better than the Sony Xperia Z, and that is because this smartphone is sand-proof, which the Sony is not.
It's obvious that the Samsung XCover 2 isn’t a device designed for the average person who simply wants a top smartphone. It’s a device for someone who works in extreme environments, but still needs smartphone functionality. With that being the case, you’d have to say that Samsung has got a lot of things right with the Xcover too.
In hand, the Xcover 2 feels like a device that is a bit of a blast from the past. It’s chunky, grippy and has big physical buttons – three things that modern smartphones are trying their hardest to avoid. But as mentioned above, this phone isn’t designed to be a tradition smartphone, so we can only really praise its chunkyness, grippyness and big physically button-ness.
The device comes with some interesting features that have obviously been designed to appeal to the explorer types. These features include enhanced GPS + GLONASS which shortens the satellite signal detection by up to 20%, which is nice as connected to GPS on a smartphone normally takes far too long. Samsung said the Xcover will come equipped with the latest Motion UI, which enables users to ‘shake to update’ and ‘turn over to mute’. Other notable attributes are a solid LED flash which can double up as a torch, a middling-to-good battery (1700mAh), it also has S-Cloud, S Voice, Best shot and Smart Stay.
To be frank, the rest of the Xcover 2’s specs are pretty average. There’s the mediocre 4-inch 480 x 800 pixel (233 ppi) display, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage (expandable up to 32GB with micro SD), 5MP rear-facing camera (720p video), VGA front facing camera and the other usual suspects that include, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microUSB, GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack.
From out limited time with the phone, we were far from blown away with it. This is perhaps because recently, we have been lucky enough to spend some time with new high-end smartphones such as the Xperia S and HTC One, which make this interface seems a bit low-end. That said, the Xcover 2’s overall performance wasn’t appalling by any stretch of the imagination. It was responsive to the touch and apps opened and closed in a timely fashion, just don’t expect to be wowed by its performance.
When we grilled Samsung Scottish Xcover 2 representative for the expected release date in the UK, he responded we a beautifully dour “Q2 for the UK” confirmation.