Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 review: Gone fishing
Modern smartphones are essential tools for urbanites, but they are usually left behind on a trip to the great outdoors. Not the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 though, it will gladly join in the adventure and isn't afraid of a few knocks or a dive.
What sets the Galaxy Xcover 2 apart from most other phones is the IP67 certification. The first digit, the 6, means that the phone is completely dust tight and won't let anything inside, even if you take it through the dirtiest, dustiest places. The second digit, the 7, is for water resistance. The Xcover 2 can survive under up to 1m of water for as long as 30 minutes.
The Xcover 2 will make the dive worthwhile too - it can take 720p underwater footage @ 30fps with its 5MP camera. Here are the rest of the highlights of the phone, plus some low points.
- Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
- 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
- 4" 16M-color LCD capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution
- Android OS 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Nature UX
- 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 1GB of RAM
- 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, face and smile detection, image stabilization
- VGA secondary camera
- 720p HD video recording at 30fps; Underwater shooting mode
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support; DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot
- GPS with A-GPS connectivity and GLONASS; digital compass
- 4GB of inbuilt storage, microSD slot
- Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- microUSB v2.0 port with MHL
- Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
- FM radio with RDS
- Big and heavy, even for a water resistant phone
- Reflective screen with poor color rendition
- Battery could have been bigger
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean at launch. It has TouchWiz 5.0 and Nature UX on top of that so you basically get the same great software package that the Samsung Galaxy S II has right now (and very close to that of the Galaxy S III).
A notable, but easily overlooked feature is the Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. This Bluetooth revision represents an ultra-low-energy wireless connection, designed to stay constantly on. If you haven't figered it put so far, it is really popular with the latest batch of training body sensors. The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 comes with an app to track your workouts with a Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitor, but other sensors - heart rate, cadence, etc. - typically come with free Android apps too.
Other important considerations for a handset with such an outgoing personality (pun intended) would be the sunlight legibility of the screen, the battery life, the beefy storage for a large music collection, and GPS positioning, too. That's because the Galaxy Xcover 2 is more likely to be used for hiking, running, at the beach or even at a construction site, rather than at the cozy confines of an office (where something like the Galaxy S III mini would be the better choice).
The first two, screen and battery, we'll be looking at in the following hardware chapter and only then we'll see how good the Xcover 2 is in handling its more sophisticated smartphone alter ego.