Samsung's New Rugged Phone Has Custom Buttons and a Replaceable Battery
It's launching in the US along with a rugged tablet after debuting in other markets.
Lisa EadiciccoSenior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Samsung is adding yet another phone to its US lineup. The Galaxy XCover6Pro is a rugged device designed primarily for industrial and enterprise use, unlike Samsung's flagship Galaxy S22 family or premium foldable Galaxy Z phones. It will launch in the US on Oct. 22 after first debuting in other markets, and it's the South Korean company's first rugged phone with 5G compatibility. US pricing hasn't been announced yet.
The Galaxy XCover6Pro can withstand drops of up to 1.5 meters, according to Samsung. It comes with a few specific features that aren't found on most phones, including programmable buttons and a replaceable battery. Samsung is also launching its rugged tablet, the $649 (roughly £580, AU$980) Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro, in the US today.
Both devices were already announced for other markets earlier this year and retain many of the same features. They're both MIL-STD-810H compliant, meaning they've undergone specific testing designed by the US military to withstand a certain threshold of altitude, humidity, immersion, salt fog, dust, vibration and drops. The Galaxy XCover6Pro and Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro both have replaceable batteries, but the tablet can also function without a battery, drawing power from a vehicle or kiosk if it needs to be used continuously. The phone and the tablet both support 5G.
Each device has programmable buttons that can be customized to act as a shortcut for launching specific apps or features. While replaceable batteries and custom buttons sound like useful features for any phone, the Galaxy XCover6Pro and Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro were designed primarily for industrial use. Examples include public safety workers that might need to use the programmable button as a push-to-talk shortcut, or people working in transportation and logistics who may need to quickly communicate with dispatchers or leave devices in their vehicles under extreme weather conditions.
On the inside, the Galaxy XCover6Pro has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that can be expanded to 1TB via a microSD card slot. It has a 6.6-inch screen and a dual-lens camera with 50-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensors. It's also one of the few smartphones to still come with a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. It's rated IP68 for dust- and water-resistance and it has scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass Victus Plus.
Since these devices are designed for enterprise and industrial use, they'll both be available through Amazon Business and IT channel partners in addition to Samsung's website. The Galaxy XCover6 Pro is also coming to certain carriers, although Samsung hasn't said which ones.
Samsung is the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world in terms of shipments, claiming 21% of the global market according to market research firm Canalys. But its rugged devices face competition from other brands such as Caterpillar and Kyocera. CNET's Brian Cooley named Kyocera's DuraSport 5G, the Cat S62 Pro, UniHertz Atom XL and Sonim XP8 among the best rugged devices on the market in 2021 (alongside Samsung's previous XCover Pro).