Samsung gets a lot of stick over the build quality of some of its phones -- a common complaint of devices like the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 are that they're glossy, plasticky and cheap-looking. So it's ironic that the Korean manufacturer's come out with one of the nicest-looking ruggedized handsets we've seen so far. The Galaxy XCover 2, announced a few weeks back, packs mid-range smartphone internals into an attractive yet hardy exterior.
Make no mistake, this is still a plastic phone. But Samsung's done a good job of making the XCover 2's chassis look and feel more premium than the average rugged smartphone.The back and sides are textured, and have a metallic color not unlike the Galaxy Nexus. Around the front are the three standard Samsung buttons -- menu, home and back, and all they're of the old-fashioned clicky variety.
Around the back you'll find a 5MP camera, along with a locking mechanism for removing the back cover, the microUSB port down below also sports a plastic protector, as you'd expect for a waterproof device. Moreover, the Galaxy XCover 2 is IP67-rated, meaning it's water and dust-resistant, and can stay submerged one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. For easy underwater photography, there's also a dedicated camera key.
The screen an internals are nothing to write home about, but nor are they anything you'd be embarrassed to be seen with. There's a dual-core 1GHz CPU inside, and the display is a WVGA (800x480) LCD. On the software side, it's a more standard Android 4.1 Jelly Bean plus TouchWiz experience, something we've seen on plenty of devices over the past year.
Many ruggedized smartphones seem to skimp on hardware or software, so it's reassuring to see that Samsung hasn't cut corners on the Galaxy XCover 2. It's an attractive-looking toughened device with the full Samsung/Android software package to boot.
The Samsung Galaxy XCover 2 is due to launch in the UK this March. Pricing details have yet to be revealed.