A 3.7-incher with a reinforced exterior, the Galaxy Xcover is by no means a compact handset at 122 x 66 x 12 mm. It’s reasonably slim and weighs only 116 g, thanks to its body being all-plastic.
The Galaxy Xcover has a traditional touchscreen bar design and offers good grip due to the special cuts at the sides and the rubbery finish.
The 3.65" HVGA (320x480) 16M-color capacitive touchscreen is multi-touch enabled and has a toughened Gorilla Glass up front for maximum scratch-resistance. The screen quality is questionable, with a dim and watery look. Brightness is below par and colors look dull and washed out. It's very responsive though.
Above the display, there’s a proximity sensor to disable the screen during calls and what appears to be an ambient light sensor. Our unit didn't have auto screen brightness enabled but that could be due to its pre-market status. We can't confirm or deny an ambient light sensor at this point.
Below the display there are three hardware buttons:- Menu, Home and Back. They are slightly raised and should be specially designed to be water tight.
The right side of the phone has those grip-enhancing cuts in the rubberized plastic. There is a single control on this side: the power/lock button. It is reasonably big and has a good press.
The left side of the phone is where the volume rocker is. There's an etched flashlight icon suggesting you can use the LED flash at the back as a torch but our unit didn’t have this feature enabled. This side of the phone is ribbed too.
The top of the device is where the 3.5mm headphone jack is. It's covered by a plastic lid, which however doesn't seem to fit tight enough, raising doubts about the level of waterproofing. But we guess that will only be an issue with this pre-production unit.
The MicroUSB port is placed at the bottom of the Galaxy Xcover and is too covered with a plastic lid.
The patterned back panel has a special lock at the bottom to keep it tightly in place. The rough texture gives a good grip. There are four tiny cushions in each corner on which the phone rests when placed flat on its back. The camera lens and LED flash are located at the top of the panel and there's the grill of a very powerful loudspeaker on the right.
Removing the back cover is no easy task (and it shouldn’t be). After you manage said task, you get to the 1500mAh Li-Ion battery, the MicroSD card slot and the SIM compartment. We couldn't do a dedicated battery test, which was going to be inconclusive anyway with a pre-release unit. Details on the battery life will have to wait for a proper review of the Galaxy Xcover.
The Galaxy Xcover has a good sturdy build and feels very comfortable in the hand. The rubberized finish on the sides of the phone minimizes the plastic feel and enhances the grip. And you won't have to worry about fingerprints, except on the screen, as there are no glossy bits. The Gorilla Glass display also inspires confidence and you won’t probably need additional protection.
We did set out to do some stress testing on the Galaxy Xcover as we were eager to check out the level of proofing it offers. Sadly, our tests ended very shortly. Our pre-market sample wasn't obviously fully prepared to take more than a couple of hits.
Drops from half a meter onto solid ground didn’t scare it at all, but a dip in a glass of water was the end of it. So, at this point the whole IP67 certification doesn’t hold water. The Galaxy Xcover does, but well… in the wrong way. Let’s hope the final release version of the phone will have better luck.
Anyway, let’s see what the smartphone has to offer.