Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 review
Durable, smart and well designed
The latest smartphone release that fits the bill as a ‘tough phone’ is the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3. This rugged phone treads successfully where few before have, by blending a design appeal that screams extreme sports with a set of features that challenge the preconceptions of what a rugged phone can do.
Couple this with conjuring’s of a strange desire to throw it, dunk it, drop it and bury it, and we have a smartphone for the action man or woman of 2015!
The build quality is of prime importance for this tough phone and Samsung has managed, through a clever use of the latest materials and nano technologies, to create a product that is durable whilst light (154 grams) and strong yet slim (9.95mm). IP67 certification for the Galaxy Xcover 3 confirms all of the above while highlighting its resistance to dust and (fresh) water.
The traditional areas of weakness for water resistance phones have been overcome and this means that the audio jack and USB port are waterproof, even when left uncovered. The practicalities of a tough phone have been extended further on the Galaxy Xcover 3 with heightened operability for glove wearers. The special Xcover Key allows gloved users to access frequently used apps with a short press and a long press assigned to the users choice of app.
The build of this Samsung phone includes a 4.5” display, which will appear quite compact next to those of other Galaxy smartphones that are reaching 5.5” and beyond. The resolution of 480 x 800 pixels is slightly short of high-definition and the processing power from the 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB RAM firmly places this smartphone in the mid-range levels of performance.
Phone Set Up
For most, familiarity with any previous smartphone will be sufficient to get the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 up and running in just a few short minutes. The Samsung Smart Switch feature can be used to aid the process, which will undoubtedly include downloading popular apps from Google Play or the Samsung Galaxy App Store.
The Android KitKat OS, which has a planned OTA upgrade to Lollipop in the works, allows users to group apps into folders, add widgets to the home screen and adjust the touch sensitivity on the screen.
An 8GB user memory is included and there is a microSD card slot for cards with a memory value of up to 128GB.
All crucial smartphone features appear to make an appearance on the Galaxy Xcover 3 and these include 4G internet connectivity, GPS, Wi-Fi tethering and mobile hotspot creation. The S Planner app makes it easy to manage events and tasks and there is the usual line up of Google apps that come as part of the Android OS.
Apps of note include the Chrome web browser, Gmail, Google+, Google Maps, Drive, YouTube, Hangouts, Voice Search and Google Voice Typing.
Camera & Video
The duo of cameras capture pictures in excellent form but this isn’t the main focus of the phone, so cutting edge camera trickery and a resolution ready for the cinema screen will be not found within. However, the 5MP resolution of the main camera and the 2MP resolution of the secondary / selfie camera do hold up well next to all but the top tier of smartphones.
Camera modes include Panorama, Best Photo where a photo can be saved from a burst of images and Continuous shooting designed to capture a series of shots of moving images. The Aqua mode has been designed specifically for taking photos under water while Palm Selfie allows for a gesture to activate the shutter.
The remaining camera features of note include 720p video recording and Beauty Face which lightens the face for a gentler image.
The 2,200mAh battery performs well and has been rated to offer up to 13 hours of internet browsing or 10 hours of video, 85 hours of audio or 10 hours of talk time.
Ultra Power Saving mode can be used to achieve maximum standby and it does this through intelligently switching off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Mobile data when the screen is off, while restricting apps to only essential tasks and updates.
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 verdict: This smartphone really does succeed in finally giving the world a tough phone that consumers will want to own.
Written by: Michael Brown