Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 is a waterproof Android (hands-on)

The rugged Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 is basically the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini in a waterproof case.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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BARCELONA, Spain--After a hard day on the trail, the last thing you need is a smartphone that can't cope with the rigors of outdoor life. Fortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 can take a licking and keep on ticking.

The Xcover 2 is basically the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini in a rugged shell. It's IP67-certified, which is a fancy way of saying it's dust-proof and waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. It'll survive a dunking in your drink or the bathroom, and it'll survive you washing it afterward.

Just because it has an uncompromising exterior, the Xcover 2 doesn't make compromises on the inside. It has a chunky dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The display is a 4-inch, 800x480-pixel touch screen -- respectable midrange stuff.

When you're out in the great outdoors, you're not likely to run across too many power sockets. So the Xcover 2 is endowed with a 1,700mAh battery to keep it running even as you trek far into the forest. But it's still a smartphone, and smartphones eat battery even when you're not looking, so I'd suggest packing a spare battery alongside the glucose tablets in your rucksack, to make sure both you and your phone have access to emergency energy.

With its tough exterior, the Xcover 2 will appeal to the outdoors type, as well as anyone who works on site -- not to mention the clumsy.

On the front, the Android soft keys are on chunky, easy-to-press physical buttons, instead of flush with the face as on regular Samsung Galaxy phones. There's a dedicated camera key on the side to make it easy to snap photos with the 5-megapixel camera when underwater or while wearing gloves.

The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 gets tough (pictures)

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The headphone jack and charger port are protected by rubber flaps to keep out the elements. And the plastic back is attached by a lock, the type you turn with a coin to open.

The sides have raised ridges for grip, and the back and the buttons have a textured feel to make them easier to get hold of when wet.

Not only does the Xcover 2 feel tough, but with its black and gray design, it looks tough, too. If you want a phone that looks more butch than the average shiny, glossy smartphone trinket -- and you don't mind a bit of extra bulk -- then this could be the phone for you.