Modern technology gives us many things.

Not bad for a rugged smartphone

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Samsung is known for its ability to branch out and develop smartphones for anyone and everyone. Whether you’re looking for a big battery, a beautiful display, or a stylus built into the body, Samsung has a smartphone for you. And when it comes to the XCover6 Pro, the company has done it again with a mid-tier, rugged smartphone that won’t look like you’re smuggling a bag of popcorn in your pocket on your way to work. And let’s just say, you won’t need a rugged Samsung case to protect this smartphone.


The XCover6 Pro is the marriage of rugged smartphones and standard mid-tier devices, bringing a durable screen and high waterproof rating together with an updated interface and good-looking display. Sure, it doesn’t come with the newest processor found on flagships, nor does it offer the rubber body of more heavy duty rugged smartphones. But it finds a pleasant middle ground that is accessible to anyone in the market for a bit more protection from the elements without having to rely on a bulky, expensive case.

Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro is a surprisingly solid rugged smartphone that pairs protection with functionality. It won’t necessarily compete with a flagship on the basics, but if you really don’t want to get a rugged smartphone case, this smarpthone could be an excellent alternative.






Front camera

Rear cameras
50MP + 8MP



USB Type-C

Micro SD card support
up to 1TB


  • Decent camera for a rugged smartphone
  • Two customizable hot keys for quick shortcuts
  • Five years of security patch support

  • Poor low light photography
  • No rubberized body

Availability, network, and pricing

The Samsung XCover6 Pro is available on the Samsung website for $600, putting it in the same range as the Pixel 7, but you can get a substantial volume discount as a business looking to buy in bulk with a Samsung Business Account. The rugged smartphone phone initially launched globally last July before arriving in the US in the fall. In addition to the Samsung website, you can get the phone on Amazon, but you’ll be out of luck on the potential volume discount.

The Samsung XCover6 Pro is available on all three major carriers if you’re buying or business, and you can purchase the device as a consumer unlocked for just $480 if that’s the way you want to go. As should be expected from a phone for business, it comes in one color: black.


Design and display

Right out of the box, the Samsung XCover6 Pro is not a typical smartphone, and hopefully, you knew that before you opened it up. It’s certainly light compared to other ruggedized devices, but as someone used to reviewing consumer-facing products, I thought at first that the XCover6 came with a case already pre-installed. Quickly, I realized what I had mistaken for a case was actually its plastic body. That’s right — the XCover6 Pro does away with the rubberized body of other rugged devices, which does mean it’s a bit less, well, rugged.

It may not be rubberized, but the back of the XCover6 Pro is ribbed to deliver a durable feel. The back also detaches easily to reveal the removable battery, a nostalgic feature I didn’t know I missed in smartphones. The small metal slot above the battery is where you’ll install your SIM card, which you can only do by removing the battery, a fact I had forgotten in the modern age of exterior SIM card slots (and sealed batteries).


As for the other ports and holes on the XCover6 Pro, you’ll find a lot of the basics. The standby button — which doubles as a fingerprint sensor — is flush against the right edge and is flanked above by the two volume buttons. On the bottom, you’ll find the USB-C port as well as a very basic mono speaker, perfectly placed to accidentally block audio when holding it with one hand.

Along the top of the XCover6 Pro, you’ll find the headphone jack (another nostalgic win) and the top key, a small, red, textured button that can be programmed to interact with apps on your phone to perform specific tasks. By default, the top key is set to operate the flashlight, turning it on and off with each click. You can even program it to work when your phone is locked, but if it accidentally turns on in your pocket, it’s going to drain the battery.

In addition to the top key, the XCover6 Pro features the XCover key, a much larger, textured red button on the left edge of the device, which can also be programmed for actions for a simple click and for press and hold actions. This means that there are four customizable actions that you can access with this smartphone, two for each button on the top and right.


While four shortcuts seem like a lot, I honestly found this quite convenient, and I can only imagine how great it is for those working on a job site. The flashlight hotkey alone made it worth the while, allowing for the most seamless illumination process on a smartphone I’ve ever experienced, significantly better than the Motorola double chop, as it won’t risk soliciting odd looks from strangers in public.

The XCover6 Pro’s display performs quite admirably compared to other rugged devices. It matches even some of the best flagship phones with a 120Hz refresh rate and the bezels are small enough to give you a respectable 77.8% screen-to-body ratio on the 6.6-inch PLS LCD. Plus, the display is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+, which is how it survived a few two-foot drops on our vinyl floor and a few medium-strength whacks against the metal lid of my water bottle.

Other hardware and what’s in the box


As a rugged device at a low price, it’s safe to assume that the XCover6 Pro does not pack much punch when it comes to the processor. The phone is sporting a Snapdragon 778G chip, which isn’t Qualcomm’s most recent iteration of its 7-series chips, but handles basic tasks and mobile games like Candy Crush without any issue.

You’ll also be pretty limited when it comes to storage options, as the XCover6 Pro is only available as a 128GB model with 6GB of RAM. That should be more than enough storage in most cases, but it can’t be expanded, so you’ll need to keep an eye on what’s on your device. In terms of networking, support for Sub6 means it performs well over long distances and in rural areas, which should be perfect for a rugged, work-first device like the XCover6 Pro, depending on what you need it for.

As you’d expect from a rugged phone, the XCover6 Pro sports an IP68 rating and a MIL-STD-810H certified design, which means it is certified by the military to withstand particular conditions like heat, cold, and shock.

Although Samsung avoids some modern annoyances with its removable battery and headphone jack, it’s kept to the current trend of a mostly empty box. The XCover6 Pro doesn’t ship with a charging brick, so all that’s included is a USB-C to USB-C cable and the quick start guide with some basic instructions.

Performance, battery life, and two-way audio


The actual reality of the Samsung XCover6 Pro’s performance isn’t nearly as doom and gloom. Certainly, the Snapdragon 778G is not up to par with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, but this reviewer didn’t experience any lag, even while downloading app updates and viewing a comedy special on YouTube’s minimized, multitasking-friendly view. Basically, compared to other rugged phones, the XCover6 Pro packs a punch, and overperforms compared to other competitors on the market today.

Though the phone initially shipped with Android 12 out of the box, in February, it got an update to Android 13 with One UI 5, packing all the bells and whistles found on Samsung’s most recent iteration. The device is set to receive four major OS upgrades, so it will be eligible for Android 14 when that arrives later this year. So far, the XCover6 Pro has gotten monthly security updates, so you can safely assume that Samsung is planning to take care of this smartphone like its other consumer-facing devices.

This phone’s battery life is pretty impressive, sporting a removable 4,050mAh battery, which is also found in its predecessor. The battery isn’t as big as power-focused devices like the Moto G Power, but thanks to its weaker specs, this battery still manages to last a long time, getting me through the day and then some on a single charge. Even more impressive, when left alone on the counter at 100 percent, the XCover6 Pro lasted around four days before finally giving up the ghost. Plus, if the phone does die prematurely, you can always swap out the dead battery with a replacement.

Arguably one of the primary draws of the XCover6 Pro as a rugged smartphone for work is its ability to utilize two-way audio functionality, or Push to Talk, which is why we were given two devices to test out the feature. While the XCover key can be customized to use any app, it’s perfectly positioned to act as a talk button for Push to Talk, although you’ll have to make sure it isn’t assigned to any other apps to make sure it works.

The audio is surprisingly crystal clear, although I’ll admit I haven’t used a walkie-talkie in 20 years. If you’re on a job site, it’s certain to be an excellent way to communicate, but for those picking up the phone as a single unit, you’re unlikely to actually use Push to Talk in your daily life.



In true Samsung form, this device is equipped with a 50-megapixel main sensor that takes some crisp, well-detailed pictures with colors that pop. No, you obviously won’t get access to the 100x zoom levels that Galaxy S23 Ultra users are all too happy to boast about, but this camera is more than respectable. You’ll also get an 8 megapixel wide-angle lens, so you can take pictures that get it all in the shot.

Even better, the pictures actually look pretty great. Obviously, you aren’t getting all the processing power of the Pixel 7, for example, but the colors are bright, and the details are crisp. To my eyes, I didn’t spot anything noticeable, outside the decidedly blurry photos at 10x zoom and the poor performance in low light situations. Still, you could do a lot worse than this camera, particularly considering it’s housed in such a ruggedized smartphone.

The selfie camera doesn’t disappoint either. At 13 megapixels, it’s actually higher-res than the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which offers a 12 megapixel selfie camera. It shows too, with the XCover6 Pro taking some surprisingly crystal clear selfies that look good in terms of color and detail. No grainy noise, no noticeable blurs, and no dim colors found in several selfies, which you love to see. Admittedly the selfie camera is likely not a priority for rugged smartphone buyers, but it never hurts to have one that can still take a good-looking shot.



When it comes to major competition for the Samsung XCover6 Pro, not much comes to mind as far as rugged phones are concerned. Admittedly, if you need something with a bit more heft, there are a lot of rugged phones that have rubberized exteriors that add protection. The Blackview BL8800 Pro comes to mind, and it has a much bigger battery at 8380mAh, so you’ll get longer life on every charge. However, it’s nearly twice as heavy at almost 13 oz (versus 8 oz on the Samsung XCover6 Pro) and the body is much bulkier, making it difficult to actually use off the job site.

If you’re in the market for a rugged phone, but you don’t want to sacrifice all the flagship features you’re used to, there is a way to get around it: a rugged case. Rather than shopping for a dedicated rugged device, there are plenty of ruggedized cases for phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 that are built for heavy-duty protection. This way, you can pick up a product you actually want, grab one of these heavy-duty cases, and you’ll still be prepared for all the drops and spills you can handle.

Should you buy it?


If you’re looking for a mid-range, fairly ruggedized smartphone that can handle a drop, a spill, and large downloads without breaking a sweat, the Samsung XCover 6 Pro might be exactly what you need. It doesn’t sacrifice a lot of functionality for the sake of protection, and it’s rugged enough to handle the bumps and bruises of a smartphone that is used on the job. Plus, the customizable buttons make features like two-way talk and flashlight use a million times easier, which could make all the difference.

However, if you’re in the market for a heavy duty, super ruggedized phone, you may want to look elsewhere. The plastic body and thin design aren’t quite as impressive as similar products in the past, although the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ can admittedly take a wallop. Similarly, if you’re not looking for a rugged smartphone, there are plenty of top Android phones in this price range that will more than suffice and still survive the occasional drop or spill.

Overall, the Samsung XCover6 is a rock solid middle-ground between mid-tier smartphones and big, bulky rugged phones that will feel a bit more comfortable in your pocket while still protecting your device on the job.


Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro is a surprisingly solid rugged smartphone that pairs protection with functionality. It won’t necessarily compete with a flagship on the basics, but if you really don’t want to get a rugged smartphone case, this smarpthone could be an excellent alternative.

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