Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro Review: The Sophisticated Tough Phone
If you don't care about toughness, stop reading. You can find a better phone at a cheaper price. But if you want an Android device that can take a beating, the Rugby Pro a great choice -- as long as you don't need a great display.
The dimensions are as big as the frame is tough. It stands 5.0-by-2.7 inches and half an inch thick, so it's big -- but not overly large to hold. It's coated with a mix of rubbery and hard materials and meets military-grade specs to withstand dust, rain, shock and humidity -- that means you can toss it around on a construction site. You can drop it in a puddle too -- it's waterproof up to 30 minutes in up to a meter of depth -- just don't take it on a swim. A thick screw-on back keeps the cover in place, so you'll need long and pointy fingernails to open it without a tool. Meanwhile, a headphone jack and connector port are tightly covered with waterproof gaskets to keep the elements out, but if you listen to music, like I do, you can easily loose them.
The 4-inch display is decent for a rugged phone -- but that's not saying much. Tough devices are built for calling and texting, so subpar screens are fine to dial a number. But compared to smartphones, the 800-by-480 pixel resolution is a low -- I saw each pixel up-close. It's okay from a reasonable distance, but I had bigger concerns with the brightness level. It clocks in at a meager 220-lux rating, which well below rival devices, so images look rather dull, so you'll have a problem in direct sunlight. In addition, I thought the color tinted a bit green, and items looked a bit wonky and oversaturated.
The 5-megapixel camera takes vivid, true-to-life shots, but you won't notice it on the greenish display -- not until you offload it to a PC. I was surprisingly pleased by the lens for a durable device -- it takes clear photos. It's one of the best for a work phone, and useful to take shots of a leaky pipe or a work site. You'll also get a number of shooting and editing options too, so you can tweak the light and contrast or choose mode to take more accurate moving shots. To offload photos, you'll need to pry open the back cover to get to the microSD slot, though, since the paltry 8-gigabytes of storage can be bolstered by an extra 32-gigabytes.
But the best part is Android. It runs on ICS with a TouchWiz interface, which adds some useless bells and whistles to gussy-up the menu. But shortcuts give you space to reach favorite apps, so you can add the camera or hardware buttons, for example, to the "drawer." It's a nice convenience, and cuts down a few seconds, which can add up. I can see how it'd be useful in rough workplaces too. I loved the flip-to-mute option. If you need to silence the phone quickly, just turn it over. It's useful if you don't have two free hands.
The Rugby Pro runs on AT&T's push-to-talk service, for off-network walkie-talkie communication. If you're still reading, this is the feature you need. It's perfect to give to a fleet of mobile workers because it'll lower your monthly bill. Just tough the button and talk. Over-and-out. If you need to look up directions, it runs on blazing 4G LTE speeds, and NFC lets you wirelessly transfer data. It also doubles as an e-wallet -- not that you'll make mobile payments, because it's not widespread yet.
The 1.5-gigahertz dual-core chip keeps everything running smoothly, and I didn't experience any stalling or lag. Meanwhile, the 1,850 mAh battery kept me going for around six to seven hours on a single charge. You can prolong it by turning off 4G, but if you're buying it for work, you'll want to pick up a car charger -- just in case.
Overall, if you want an extra-tough phone with PTT function, the Rugby Pro is a solid choice. If you just need to make calls, take a look at the Rugby 3, but is a dumb phone that doesn't do much else. If it's within your budget, I'd recommend the Pro for its better display, camera and software -- for when you need to actually do stuff on the phone. But that's only if you need a rugged device. ♦
Super AMOLED (Gyroscope / Accelerometer / Compass / Proximity Sensor / Ambient Light Sensor)
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November 24, 2012
Good Sized Screen and Tough Exterior
If you need a durable and rugged smartphone, like me, you'll probably consider the Rugby Pro. I've considered the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3, like most people, but the drawbacks of both was the size of the display. What do I mean? They're too big.
It seems phone makers are in an escalating arms race to build the biggest phone with the biggest screen. I need the phone for work, and often can't fit them in my pocket. Enter the Rugby Pro.
Looking at the rugged devices, most specs are mediocre at best. Not the Rugby Pro. Android ICS is nice, through Jelly Bean would be better. The processor is speedy. And the display is plenty nice. Best of all, it's reasonably-sized at just 4-inches. And with the heavy-duty shell, I don't have to put it in a case. It'll stand up to all the elements, which is perfect for me.
I'm not scaling cliffs, I'm not jumping into the deep ocean, but I am an outdoor lover who likes an occasional drink and is clumsy with his phones. That means most phones break on me in a matter of months, so I need something that can take a beating. I used to keep my old phone in one of those heavy-duty cases, and that's the only reason it still works, but there's no way the iPhone or S3 would last for me.
The camera quality is not the best. It's good, but not great. Another issue I have is with the charger port, which sinks in due to the cover. That means some cables won't fit.Was this review helpful to you?
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