Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled review: Variety over carry out

Rugged telephones often showcase a additional sturdy and confidence-instilling design. However, the Samsung XCover Skilled brings a particular methodology to the rugged market. Its sq. design and muted colors ensure that the phone is sleeker. Nonetheless is it sturdy ample to face as a lot because the rivals? Uncover out in Android Authority’s Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled review.

What it is worthwhile to know in regards to the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

  • Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled (4GB/64GB): $499 / £399 / €499

Inside the rugged system market, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled sits correct in the middle of the pack. Priced at $499, the XCover Skilled ships in a single color (black) and one selection — 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, expandable to 512GB by the use of microSD card. The unit I examined shipped with Android 10, and about six incremental updates later, I was able to change the phone to Android 11/One UI 3.

The XCover Skilled is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 9611 processor and an average-sized 4,050mAh battery. However, the huge promote proper right here is that the battery is removable, so chances are you’ll swap out different batteries at will to extend its use. The phone moreover comes with a Full HD 6.3-inch present protected by Gorilla Glass 5. On the underside, there’s an uncovered USB-C port and a single firing speaker. The best sees an additional programable button along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the left side sees one different smart key button. The correct side properties the quantity rocker and vitality/fingerprint sensor button.

Inside the area, you get a USB-C charger and some 3.5mm headphones.

Samsung XCover Pro 3 front shot showing the screen and apps.

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

The sleeker design of the XCover Skilled compared with totally different heavy-duty telephones has its professionals and cons. Whereas the additional standard type problem is additional cosy to utilize than its rugged opponents, it doesn’t actually really feel pretty as sturdy throughout the hand. It ships with an IP68 water and grime resistance rating, Gorilla Glass 5, and a rubber exterior that is constructive to take care of quite a lot of drops. It’s moreover rated MIL-STD 810G for protection in direction of shock, vibration, heat, chilly, humidity, and additional, though this isn’t the newest MIL-STD 810H rating offered by some rugged models.

If a combination of durability and design is what you is likely to be after, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled may provide top-of-the-line compromise. Nonetheless, even with the glass rating, I prefer to suggest using a glass show display protector on the present.

For testing, I dropped the phone quite a lot of events, submerged it under working water, and even threw it. In each check out, the phone carried out respectably. However, I would add that the removable plastic once more of the phone felt a little bit of fragile. A very powerful draw again of the design is maybe the uncovered ports of the phone. Whereas they’re sealed on the inside, I wouldn’t counsel submerging this phone in water for prolonged durations of time. That talked about, it must be excellent must it take a drop throughout the pool or a lake.

Other than the shiny aesthetics, top-of-the-line perform of this phone should be the present. It’s no shock {{that a}} Samsung system has a top quality present, and the XCover Skilled is not any exception. The 2,340 x 1,080 6.3-inch panel is vivid, with good distinction and sharpness, one factor I cannot say of various rugged choices I’ve examined. I need Samsung offered additional decisions to customize the color on the present, and whereas the color was vivid, I found it was a little bit of inexperienced for my liking. Nonetheless, it’s top-of-the-line present on a rugged system that you just’ll uncover.

The Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled has top-of-the-line present now we have examined on a rugged phone to this point.

Considering the smaller measurement of the 4,050mAh battery, I was genuinely shocked by the better-than-average effectivity of the XCover Skilled. In my day-to-day, I averaged about seven to eight hours of screen-on time, which consisted of loads of streaming video, social media, delicate gaming, and pictures. Sadly, the included 15W fast charger takes merely over two hours to vitality up the phone, which is a considerable time frame for a battery this small. Moreover, the XCover Skilled would not assist any kind of wi-fi charging. What makes up for these drawbacks is the removable battery. You may discover battery replacements on-line, and it was quick and easy to swap out batteries as soon as I needed a full price. That’s undoubtedly a plus for the XCover Skilled, significantly for people who want to use their phone for extended durations of time nevertheless gained’t be near an affect stage.

What’s not so good?

Samsung XCover Pro back of phone showing camera module.

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Up until this stage, chances are you’ll want thought the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled was top-of-the-line rugged phone spherical, nevertheless sadly, the phone has some drawbacks. The precept one is effectivity. The Exynos 9611 is a low-clocked chip that’s coupled with a meager 4GB of RAM. Although navigating in apps is relatively responsive, loading events are pretty abysmal, and I wanted to attend a powerful 4 to five seconds for apps or pages to completely load. Don’t get me mistaken, the phone is usable, nevertheless it might be sluggish. Moreover, on account of One UI 3, the phone has a considerable amount of extra stock apps and settings that might also lead to frequent sluggishness. Sadly, effectivity on this technique lacks behinds opponents with mid-tier Snapdragon chips.

The smaller 4GB of RAM means the system is simply not constructed for tempo.

Lastly, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled doesn’t perform any assist for 5G, one factor that is current in quite a lot of totally different rugged telephones throughout the same worth. Moreover, although I praised the sleeker design, some may uncover it not sturdy ample. Whereas it has an IP68 rating and certification for drop security, the plastic design and removable once more aren’t as reassuring as a number of of its metal/rubber counterparts. The system moreover lacks rugged choices which will very effectively be necessary for some consumers, like a night imaginative and prescient or thermal camera. So in case you’re a sort of seeking an absolute tank of a phone with some additional camera quirks, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled almost definitely isn’t for you. Speaking of cameras, the XCover Skilled has first price onboard cameras that compete with totally different decisions throughout the rugged fashion nevertheless images are often a little bit of softer than the rivals.

Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled camera samples

You may discover high-resolution variations of each image proper right here.

Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled specs

Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled


6.3 inches
2,340 x 1,080 pixels
Gorilla Glass 5


Exynos 9611




64GB / expandable as a lot as 512GB


Rear twin camera:
– 25MP necessary
– 13MP ultra-wide

– 13MP


4,050mAh (replaceable)
15W fast charging

IP Rating


Software program program

Android 10 (upgradable to Android 11)


159.9 x 76.7 x 10mm


GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSPA: 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
LITE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28A/28B/66

Twin SIM: nano-SIM + nano-SIM / nano-SIM + TF Card


Aspect-mounted fingerprint scanner

Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled: Should I buy it?

Samsung XCover Pro in hand showing the rear of the phone.

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

At first look, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled seems to be a well-rounded, rugged system, nevertheless in case you look nearer, that well-roundedness turns into some apparent shortcomings. Whereas I was impressed with the shiny design, Full HD present, and wonderful battery life, the decrease than ideally suited processor effectivity and not-so-durable assemble make the XCover Skilled a tougher promote. Although the $499 worth stage is fairly aggressive, these downsides be sure the XCover Skilled can’t compete with larger value telephones identical to the Doogee S96 Skilled ($389) and Unihertz Atom XL ($329), or the additional well-rounded Cat S62 Skilled ($649). That, coupled with the absence of 5G and lack of choices akin to a night imaginative and prescient or thermal camera, make the phone actually really feel a lot much less geared in course of rugged consumers.

The Galaxy XCover Skilled is a sleek-looking rugged phone, nevertheless there are additional sturdy decisions accessible with far superior effectivity.

On the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled outperforms in some major metrics nevertheless comes with some obvious shortcomings that make it a middle-of-the-road rugged phone.

Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

Samsung Galaxy XCover Skilled

That’s the newest entry in Samsung’s differ of rugged smartphones. It touts a removable battery, a up to date design, and an entire lot of toughness.

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