Samsung’s “Galaxy XCover Pro” seems to be bringing back the company’s line of rugged smartphones, but this one is more than some extra protective plastic slapped onto an existing design. The phone has—get this—a removable battery, a feature that has all but disappeared from the market. There are a handful of very low-end smartphones that still have removable batteries, but as a mid-ranger, this would be the highest-end removable-battery phone on the market.
It’s hard to say if the XCover Pro is currently official or not. Samsung’s Nordic division posted a CES press release that detailed the never-before-seen XCover Pro, complete with specs and pictures, alongside several other previously announced phones. A later update scrubbed all mention of the XCover from the press release. The release said the phone would be for sale in Finland on January 31 for €499 ($ 554), but since the release was pulled, it’s unclear if that is still accurate.
Samsung Nordic listed the phone with a Samsung Exynos 9611 SoC, an eight-core, 10nm chip with four Cortex A73 cores and four Cortex A53 cores. This would make it a mid-range phone on par with the “Galaxy A” series. The phone has 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage that’s expandable thanks to a microSD slot, and that sweet 4050mAh removable battery.
The display design is… interesting. The display is a 6.3-inch 2400×1000 LCD, which is strange, as most Samsung phones use the company’s OLED panels. Like most modern Samsung phones, this device also has a circular cutout in the display for the camera, and while this makes sense on devices with slim top bezels, the XCover’s top bezel seems like it would have had plenty of room for a camera.
In the past, Samsung has built ruggedized phones under its “Active” line and would usually make rugged versions of its flagship phones. The last one of these was the Galaxy S8 Active, though—there was no Galaxy S9 or S10 Active. Instead, Samsung has been building “XCover” phones that are cheaper, more mid-range devices, and this “Pro” version is the highest-end unit so far.
As a rugged phone, the device has a IP69 water and dust resistance rating, and it has been “tested to withstand a drop of 1.5 meters.” Other unusual features include a push-to-talk button, which looks to be the big, orange button on the side of the device. This button and the button on the top of the phone probably also count as the “two programmable buttons” mentioned in the press release. There is a fingerprint reader on the side of the device somewhere, probably integrated into the power button.
The rear has two cameras, one 25MP and another 8MP camera, while the front has a 13MP sensor. The biggest downside of the device seems to be the software, which is running nearly 1.5-year-old Android 9 Pie instead of the newer Android 10.
With Samsung Nordic being the only source for official info on this device, it’s hard to say where it will end up for sale. A report from WinFuture.de claims the phone will see wider European availability in February. The XCover Pro has already visited the FCC, so a US release seems likely.
Listing image by Samsung