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Samsung's small, cheap, and rugged Galaxy XCover5 is now official and landing this month

Yesterday we saw a couple of leaks for a new Samsung rugged phone, and whaddya know, here it is. The Galaxy XCover 5 is a smaller, cheaper entry in the tough-as-nails series, a fraction of the cost of the XCover FieldPro. And crucially, it’s actually running a current version of Android.

The XCover 5’s spec list is pure budget, with a 5.3-inch, 720p LCD screen, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The Exynos 850 processor is the same one you’ll find in low-cost phones like the Galaxy A21s. The rear camera module uses a single sensor, 16MP, with a 5MP front-facing cam. The battery is rather spare at 3000mAh, and Samsung’s announcement is notably lacking in any mention of 5G, though the phone does have a dual-SIM variant.

Specs are not what the XCover 5 is about. Nope, this is a cheap little phone that’s designed to take an absolute beating. In addition to IP68 dust and water protection, as good as any on the top-of-the-line Galaxy S series, the XCover 5 features MIL-STD 810H compliance. Exactly which sections of this very long US Department of Defense standard it meets weren’t mentioned. Its reinforced 9.2mm-thick body and Gorilla Glass 6 screen (not as tough as Victus, but still better than most) can withstand a 1.5 meter drop, and the screen can be operated with gloves.

The XCover 5 also features a couple of non-standard additions: an extra programmable button with snazzy red trim, a la the Galaxy Active series, and POGO pins on the bottom for 15-watt charging in a proprietary dock. This is technically “wireless,” as stated in the press release, but not the same as standard Qi charging. Both make more sense for a device that will be going into rough territory. There’s no fingerprint sensor, though Samsung’s basic face detection is available.

Samsung will sell the Galaxy XCover 5 in the UK starting on March 12th, with a price of £329 (about $460). That makes it considerably more expensive than its specs would indicate, but the rugged nature of the phone will probably be worth the upgrade for plenty of buyers. It helps that the phone is running Android 11 right out of the gate, and as part of Samsung’s Enterprise Edition program, the company has committed to five years of security updates.

It will also be sold in “select markets in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.” A US release wasn’t mentioned, though availability might expand later.

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