O Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is an intermediate smartphone with an unusual proposal: to withstand falls, bumps and other bad weather to allow the user to venture with him in activities that could easily cause damage to conventional cell phones.
To this end, the model has a reinforced body and MIL-STD-810G military certification. In addition, it features water protection (IP68), removable battery and two additional programmable buttons. All this is complemented with a technical file that includes a 6.3-inch LCD screen, Exynos 9611 processor and 4 GB of RAM.
What is it like to use a “stick for every job” smartphone like this? Is he really as robust as he looks? Is the overall performance good? Does the battery have decent battery life? Is it worth paying the suggested price of R $ 2,799? This is what you will discover from now on.
Review of the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro on video
O Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. The XCover Pro was provided by Samsung on loan. The product will be returned to the company after testing.
Design and strength
The Galaxy XCover Pro was designed with a focus on professional activities. This is the type of cell phone to be used by those working in construction, mining or agriculture, for example. These activities are performed in environments that generate debris or conditions of use that can damage a cell phone relatively easily.
But the device can also be used by couriers who spend a lot of time on the streets, by those who practice extreme sports and so on. That’s why Samsung decided to sell the XCover Pro to end consumers (and not just companies).
So that it can withstand adverse conditions, the company equipped the device with a dense plastic housing that, to the touch, resembles rubber. The first contact is funny. It looks like you’re holding a cell phone that comes with a case that can’t be removed.
This finish is just like that to allow the phone to come out unscathed from falls or bumps – or, at most, with some superficial damage.
It happened while I was testing the cameras: dropping the device was already on the cards, but I let the XCover Pro slip out of my hand unintentionally. The phone popped up on an uneven concrete floor. The blows were strong.
Despite this, the smartphone was left with only a few superficial marks on two ends. And the screen? Apparently, the Gorilla Glass 5 protection here fulfilled its duty: when I turned the phone over, I noticed that it was intact. That was when my heart started beating again.
At this point, it is worth quickly addressing such military certification MIL-STD-810G. It indicates that the device has undergone resistance tests that follow parameters defined by the American armed forces.
Basically, this is a way of saying that the device is more resistant to drops, variations in temperature and humidity than the average. In this sense, Samsung explains that the XCover Pro supports drops from heights of up to 1.5 m. To take the test, I dropped the device a few times from that height – this time intentionally – and he stayed there, whole.
The IP68 certificate is another attribute found here. The manufacturer indicates that the device is resistant to dust and fresh water at depths of up to 1.5 m for 30 minutes. Well, I quickly played with the device in the water and, again, it came out of the test as if nothing had happened.
But, see, all these features do not make the Galaxy XCover Pro an indestructible smartphone. It just takes more trouble than most cell phones, so to speak.
Extra buttons and features
On the right side of the Galaxy XCover Pro, everything is normal: there are the volume controls and the on / off button, which, incidentally, also reads fingerprints – the procedure is almost always fast and accurate.
Now, when we look to the left side, we find a big button with a metallic orange frame. This is the XCover programmable key, which can take on several functions, such as activating the flashlight, going to the home screen or opening an application of your choice.
There is an additional programmable button, this one at the top, next to the headphone connection. Both can be useful for very specific activities, such as quickly activating point of sale tools or even functioning as a walkie talkie – the smartphone is compatible with a function of the type existing in Microsoft Teams, for example.
The lower part houses the USB-C port and the audio output, which has a high volume and clear sound in most situations, but is not impressive. And where’s the chip drawer?
Galaxy XCover Pro supports two SIM cards and a microSD, but you need to remove the back cover to access these slots. That’s because the model has a removable battery. It is a very rare feature nowadays, but the idea here is to allow the user to change the component quickly in circumstances where there are no outlets nearby.
Another explanation for the removable battery: this approach helps the device to disassemble itself from falls and thus “dissipate” the resulting impact to reduce the chances of damage.
The extra features don’t end there: we come across a big LED next to the button on the top. It reports battery status and flashes to alert you of unread messages or other notifications.
AMOLED panels are a striking feature of the Galaxy family, but the XCover Pro appears as an exception: the model has a 6.3-inch TFT LCD screen.
Don’t worry, this is a good panel: the resolution is 2340 × 1080 pixels, the maximum brightness is not the most intense, but it guarantees good visualization in bright environments and the colors are displayed vividly, although the black is not deep, as is typical of LCD displays.
It is true that the edges are somewhat generous, but this is probably a margin that helps to protect the component in falls. In addition, the panel may take on a slightly whitish tone when viewed from different angles (another characteristic typical of LCD screens), but this does not make it difficult to view the content.
But, yes, an AMOLED display would be more interesting.
Samsung draws attention to the possibility that touch screen sensitivity may be increased to make it easier to use the device when you are wearing gloves. To do this, simply activate the corresponding option in the settings.
It works. After activating the feature, the XCover Pro screen recognized touches made with a flannel easily, something that did not happen with the display of an iPhone XR (also LCD).
As you already know, the Galaxy XCover Pro was developed to be a functional smartphone in somewhat hostile situations. This is reflected in the software. At first glance, we did not notice any changes in relation to other current intermediaries of the Galaxy line: the operating system is Android 10 accompanied by the One UI 2.0 interface.
This means that the device’s software is well organized and offers the standard set of applications and features from Samsung itself, such as Bixby, Samsung Health and Dual Messenger.
But, searching the system’s guts, we find the configuration options for the extra buttons, for example. As this is a mobile phone designed for professional use, security features such as Pasta Segura (protects files and apps from unauthorized access) are also highlighted here, although they are not new.
Four camera phones are a trend in 2020, but the XCover Pro is tough even on that. The smartphone only has two cameras on the back. The main one has 25 megapixels. The secondary is an 8 megapixel wide angle.
For a mid-range cell phone, they do an interesting job. The main one caught my attention for giving an increase in the intensity of the colors. The effect of this is that the photos come out vividly, even when the light conditions are not the best (such as when the day is cloudy).
The problem is that, depending on the circumstances, the saturation may be exaggerated, making the image appear to have been edited. Despite this, the definition is decent and the noise is well controlled.
The wide angle (maximum angle not revealed) makes the coloring more realistic. The problem is that it is less efficient in controlling the definition. Because of this, dimly lit spots in the image may be darker than they are. Even so, the result is usually pleasing.
The front camera consists of a 13 megapixel sensor and also does a good job. When the lighting conditions are favorable, the colors are vibrant, the noise level is well controlled and the level of detail of the object in the foreground is high.
For a smartphone that doesn’t have photography as a priority, until the XCover Pro does a neat job.
Performance and battery
The gears of the Galaxy XCover Pro are powered by an Exynos 9611 chip accompanied by 4 GB of RAM. It is the same hardware that equips the Samsung Galaxy A51 and, therefore, the performance is similar to this: the XCover Pro performed everything it was subjected to, but it can suffer a little under certain conditions.
It is nothing to disturb the user experience. In the overwhelming majority of applications, the device does well. However, from time to time, you may notice a delay in opening apps or switching between them, especially when many applications are open.
In games like Asphalt 9: Legends, it is possible to notice choking when the graphics settings are at maximum due to the drop in the frame rate. With settings at medium or automatic level, this problem occurs much less frequently.
The battery, with its 4,050 mAh battery, does the job. To test it, I ran a two-hour movie on Netflix with maximum screen brightness, I played Asphalt 9: Legends and Breakneck for 15 minutes each, I accessed Chrome and social media for about an hour and a half, ran Spotify via speaker for an hour, played on Google Earth for 15 minutes and made a 10 minute call.
The tests started in the morning with 100% load and were carried out during the day. At around 22:00, the battery registered 39% capacity. It is not a bad number.
The recharge time from 7% to 100% was two hours with the charger included in the product packaging.
Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro: is it worth it?
In Galaxy XCover Pro, performance is consistent, the screen is not AMOLED, but it offers a good experience, the cameras convince and the battery does not do badly in autonomy. These are positive points, but they differ little or nothing from what is offered by other intermediaries.
What sets the model apart is its external finish. Just by touch you realize that the smartphone is prepared to withstand the inclement weather. In falls, he may have a scar here, another there, but the device is really less likely to suffer damage compared to “normal” smartphones.
In addition, the extra buttons, the notification LED and the easily replaceable battery can be useful in certain situations.
Here’s the leap of the cat: the Galaxy XCover Pro is not a product designed to have a high volume of sales, but to meet very specific usage profiles.
This detail is interesting because it shows that Samsung is such a strong brand in smartphones that it can afford to bet even on niche models. Niche products sell little, on the other hand, help to position the brand as creative or innovative.
Based on this, the XCover Pro emerges as a curious phone for most consumers, but useful only for a minority. If you engage in any professional or sports activity that increases the chances of your cell phone being damaged, go ahead. The price of R $ 2,799 is high, but it is already possible to find it for values around R $ 2,500.
Now, if you are looking for a robust cell phone because you consider yourself to be a clumsy person, the tip is to go for another model and try to protect it with a reinforced case, because, in the range of R $ 2,500, you will find devices that offer a better experience with screen, cameras or performance, like the Galaxy s10 Lite or, as an even more affordable option, the Galaxy A71.
Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro
- Really robust finish
- Decent cameras for the category
- Battery with good autonomy
- IP68 certified
- Screen could be AMOLED, right?
- Speaker just ok
- Value for money is not the best
- Screen: 6.3 inch TFT LCD, 2340 × 1080 pixel resolution, Gorilla Glass 5
- Processor: Samsung Exynos 9611 octa-core up to 2.3 GHz, GPU Mali-G72
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 64 GB expandable with microSD up to 512 GB
- Drums: 4,050 mAh removable, 15 W charger
- Frontal camera: 13 megapixels, f / 2.0
- Rear cameras:
- Main: 25 megapixels, f / 1.7
- Wide angle: 8 megapixels, f / 2.2
- Connectivity: 4G, USB-C, NFC, GPS, ANT +, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, headphone connection, dual SIM
- Sensors: accelerometer, proximity, gyroscope, compass, fingerprints on the side
- Others: two extra programmable buttons, notification LED on the top, MIL-STD-810G military certification, IP68 certification
- Operational system: Android 10 with One UI 2.0 interface
- Dimensions and weight: 159.9 × 76.7 × 9.9 mm, 218 grams