Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 review: Gone fishing
No specialty tools in the retail package
Samsung included only the essentials with the Galaxy Xcover 2. There's a charger, of course, plus a microUSB cable and a single-piece headset. Good thing that the phone is self-reliant, because it's not getting any special accessories.
Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2 360-degree spin
The Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2 is not the most compact device, even with a 4" screen. At 130.5 x 67.7 x 12 mm, and a weight of 148.5g, it's bigger and heavier than a Sony Xperia V, which has a 4.3" screen. Guess that IP67 certification takes its toll (the Xperia V has IP57).
Design and build quality
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 is a rugged phone and it looks the part. Almost every surface besides the screen is textured or ribbed for extra grip, making sure the phone won't slip even off wet hands.
It probably won't be voted the best looking phone ever, but it's attractive in its own way, especially if you're tired of Samsung's recent trend of recreating the Galaxy S III design in all possible sizes. More importantly it's practical, it has more physical keys that we're used to seeing lately and those will work even if your fingers are wet or covered in gloves (which capacitive keys and screens will not).
Fingerprints are not a problem for the Xcover 2, instead it has to worry about dirt getting caught in all those patterns and grooves. It's a good thing you can always run it under the faucet and rinse it clean.
To ensure that the phone is watertight, every port is covered by a special plastic flap that plugs the hole to make sure the contacts inside are safe. The back of the phone even has a lock that keeps the back panel securely in place - you'll need a coin or something similar to undo the lock.
It would have been easier to seal the battery altogether - in fact, most other water-resistant phones go this route - so we commend Samsung on keeping the option to swap out the battery and giving easy access to the miniSIM and microSD card slots.
Anyway, back to the buttons. Below the screen there's the standard trio of Menu, Home and Back. They are physical keys (so they work with gloves) and their patterned surface will keep your finger from slipping.
Above the display we have the earpiece, as well as a proximity sensor. There's an ambient light sensor too to control automatic brightness. There's a VGA front facing camera as well.
The earpiece grille is watertight, which has a slight effect on the audio quality, but sound during calls is good enough.
The 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top of the phone. It's covered by a protective flap that you'll have to open when you want to use a headset - an unavoidable consequence of the phone's water resistant qualities.
At the bottom are the microUSB port, covered by a similar flap. There's a tiny slot here used for removing the back cover. We found that it's easier to do with the flap open.
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 are made of metal and are ribbed to improve your grip on the phone. The volume rocker is on the left and the volume up button can be set to turn on the LED light (volume down turns it off or you can have it turn off automatically after a set period of time).
The Power/Lock key and the camera shutter key are on the right. Those are important as capacitive screens do not work under water. Instead you can snap photos and videos with the shutter key and lock the phone when you're done.