Rugby Pro

AT&T and Samsung are in store for a fairly busy holiday season, and Ma Bell is here in New York showing off what the two companies have put together this year. With the Note 2 on the top end and the Galaxy Express bringing up the rear, we’ve got the Galaxy Rugby Pro sitting pretty in between, offering some budget-friendly specs along with ruggedized features aimed at those who use their phone more as a tool than a fashion piece.

The Rugby Pro is the follow up to the Rugby Smart, and bumps up its specs just enough to keep it relevant. We’ve got a 4-inch Super AMOLED display at 480 x 800 that looks considerably better than the larger, less dense Galaxy Express. It’s definitely clear though that Samsung didn’t put its best foot forward with either of these displays, opting for more a more affordable, less gush-worthy experience.

Other than Android 4.0, LTE connectivity, and its 5-megapixel camera, internal specs are few and far between here, with AT&T opting to tout the Rugby Pro’s muscle rather than its brain. The Rugby Pro is waterproof, shock resistant, and dust proof, and can be submersed in one meter of water for up to a half hour. The Pro also supports EAS corporate email and push-to-talk functionality.

Its main competitor is the Motorola Defy Pro, another ruggedized smartphone, and I’ll give the Rugby Pro the one-up in this head-to-head, mostly due to its TouchWiz interface. While it’s not nearly as fluid or smooth as the rest of Samsung’s lineup, familiar aspects are here, and we’ve grown quite fond of Samsung’s UI as of late. The Rugby Pro also has ICS, compared to the Defy Pro’s Gingerbread, and it’s ligther and a bit more stylish that Moto’s offering.

If you’re looking for the hottest and sexiest phone out there, run far far away from the Rugby Pro, as its aesthetic qualities are severely lacking. But if you’re the type to abuse your phone and you’re not in the position to replace $600 phones every couple of months (who is?), this is definitely worth a look. And look away, at the photos and hands-on video after the break.