Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro review [video]

October 30, 2012
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Not everyone who needs a smartphone has the luxury of being able to baby it. Whether it’s because of their job or simple clumsiness, some people need a phone that is tougher than most smartphones, and that’s where the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro comes in.

Built to stand up to both the elements and the general rigors of daily use, the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro is tough, but that doesn’t mean that it throws performance out the window for the sake of durability.

Read on to see our thoughts on the phone, or jump ahead to either the video review or the conclusion.

Specs

  • 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 chipset
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Krait CPU
  • Adreno 305 GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal storage
  • microSD slot for 32 GB additional storage
  • 5-megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 1080p video recording
  • 4G LTE (HSDPA, HSUPA)

First Impressions

The first think you notice when you take the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro out of the box is just how burly it looks compared to other smartphones. While it is still an attractive looking phone, you can tell simply by looking at it that it will stand up to far more use and abuse than other smartphones.

The Galaxy Rugby Pro doesn’t look like a cell phone from the 1980s, but compared to the super-thin phones on the market now, it certainly looks thicker and wider than many phones with a similar screen size.

Build Quality

Obviously, the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro puts a lot of emphasis on its build quality.The phone is thick and sturdy, but surprisingly light, weighing in at only 4.6 oz.  As mentioned above, the phone is a little bigger than many phones with a similar screen size, with dimensions of  5.04 x 2.64 x 0.5 inches.

The Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro is MIL-STD-810G certified, and resistant to salt, dust, moisture, vibration and shock, to name a few. While it is built like a very small tank, the Galaxy Rugby Pro is still easy to hold and use. In our testing we never ran into a case where the phone’s slightly larger dimensions felt unwieldy.

While the grippy material used for the casing is meant for durability, it has the handy side effect of making the phone less prone to attracting fingerprints.

Display

While the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro’s display may not seem impressive with phones beginning to arrive with 1080p displays, the 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display is definitely adequate for daily use. With a resolution of 480 x 800 and 16 million colors, images are bright and crisp, and text is sharp and easy to read. Unlike the casing, the screen is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but is is far from unusual with any touchscreen device.

Performance

As with the display, the performance of the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro may not seem impressive compared to today’s quad-core powerhouses, but is no slouch either. The phone runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 chipset with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Krait CPU, an Adreno 305 GPU and 1 GB of RAM. Internal storage is 8 GB, expandable by up to 32 GB via the microSD slot, which is hidden under the battery cover.

Running apps and games was no problem for the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro, with no noticeable performance hiccups or occurrences of slowdown. The only time we noticed any stuttering was when rapidly scrolling through the phone’s homescreens. Luckily, this isn’t necessary for daily use, so users of the Galaxy Rugby Pro shouldn’t encounter this issue very often.

Battery life for the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro’s 1,850 mAh battery  is rated at up to 11 hours of talk time and up to 336 hours of standby time. We never ran the battery down, even with fairly heavy use, so these figures are believable.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI running on top of it. So far, there is no word on whether the phone will see an upgrade to Jelly Bean in the future, but as it was just released earlier this month, an upgrade seems likely.

There are quite a lot of apps bundled with the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro, and the usefulness of these apps varies by quite a wide margin. Samsung’s own Kies Air and S Voice apps are certainly useful, but the quality of the AT&T bundled apps is debatable. AT&T Navigator might be useful, but with Google Maps already installed, it doesn’t seem likely that many users will find themselves running it. Some of the other apps, like AT&T Smart Wi-Fi or AT&T Code Scanner don’t seem as if users will be running them often at all.

With the rest of the apps, like Allshare Play, which has functionality similar to Kies Air; the simply named Memo; and the Qik Lite video calling software, whether they are useful is a decision that only the user can make, depending on their needs.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro has a 5-megapixel rear facing camera. The quality of photos taken with the camera are generally good, but in certain situations, colors appear washed out and are certainly not as vivid as they should be.

The Galaxy Rugby Pro is also capable of capturing 1080p video, which you can see in action in the video review below. Video quality is nice and sharp, especially for video taken from a smartphone, though it suffers from the same issues with colors that photos taken with the camera do.

Video Review

Conclusion


The Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro is a solidly built, full-featured phone that may find itself struggling to set itself aside from other rugged phones, which don’t often offer the same level of performance. While it is aimed at users who find themselves putting an unusual amount of stress on their phones, it could be useful for everyday users as well.

Accidents happen, no matter how well you may treat your phone, and with the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro, those accidents may no longer mean severely damaging your device. That’s something that everyone could find useful, not just those in certain lines of work.

What are your thoughts on Samsung’s latest tough creation? What would you have liked to see? Let us know down below!

Comments

  • Kristyn

    I LOVE THIS! Thank you so much for posting the review, I am an extremely clumsy young woman who has cracked or broken every smartphone Ive ever had, I will DEFINITELY be buying this phone!

  • JCT

    I upgraded to the Rugby Pro from a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate about a week ago. It kept the things I liked so much about the Captivate (size and feel in hand, vibrant amoled screen, ease of use) and added the processor and network speed that was obviously missing compared to newer phones. And, while my Captivate had survived many, many drops and tumbles with just a Body Glove TPU case, I found the ruggedness and tough, industrial looks of this phone to be quite appealing. I’m a very happy customer!

  • ACP_Paddy

    I owned a SGS1, SGS2, SGS2 HD LTE. They all died. I got a Galaxy Rugby. it was slow as shit. almost unusable for web browsing. Just got a Rugby Pro. I had to look it up that it was a S4 chip. I thought it was gonna be 1.5ghz single core and mediocre GPU, but as soon as I held it, the thing f**kin flew. Faster than any of the phones I listed before. The AMOLED screen bests my SGS1, and ties my SGS2 for the screen. (rugby is pentile, but colours are actually better than my S2) Sound quality is top notch too! (For a cell) I think they may have used this SOC or similar in the HTC ‘Beats phone. I’m pretty happy with this phone. It’s $250 cheaper than a iPhone here, and it bests a 4s.

  • libs

    Could you compare it to the Lumia 920? There are multiple drop tests and torture tests where the Lumia excel, while Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5, die at the second drop.

  • LindaScales

    Nice review. I just moved to New York to work as a graphic designer, and I’ve been looking for a mobile device that can handle the type of work I do. I think I’ll get this. Not only does it have a nice display, it runs on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Not very sleek but very functional. A+

  • http://www.facebook.com/keith.underdahl Keith Underdahl

    Unfortunately this phone is not very rugged. I dropped my Galaxy Rugby Pro from a height of just one meter and shattered the glass. My old iPhone 3 survived much worse. The problem with this phone is that the glass is flush with the edge, so it’s vulnerable if the phone happens to fall flat on its face (as mine did). A slightly raised lip around the display would do a lot to protect the glass. And because this phone is marketed as “rugged” nobody makes a truly protective case for it.

    I’m out of luck with Samsung because it’s “physical damage.” Isn’t the whole point of a rugged phone that it will be less susceptible to physical damage? Seriously, I didn’t throw this thing off a cliff or drive over it. It just fell out of my pocket onto the floor.

    Stay away! You’d be better off with an iPhone or S3 and an Otterbox.

  • dontdoit

    Iv been told by countless people cellphone kiosk’s and my service provider that my rugby pro is so indestructible you can’t get a case for it. We all know that’s a load of bull sh## so why not make one. The first day I had it the scene got two huge scratches in it, never once left my hand. First week dropped it 3ft on a smooth clean concrete cracked the top of the screen. Now two months in and I destroyed the screen, dropped 3ft onto dirt. Every other time Iv dropped it the back pops off opposite the lock and the battery fly out. Thank god for the insurance because I will certainly never buy another one. I just hope two replacements a year is adequate.

  • J-J

    samasung rugby pro…Great phone…new to the smart phone family…read the reviews about this phone and was able to purchase from amazon for just under 30 bucks (typical 2 yr agreement) when AT and T still had it for 99 bucks and then 49 bucks oabout 2 weeks laterline. after a month i upgraded the rest of the family thru walmart because they had the phone in there ad for 97 or 98 cents with the usual 2 yr agreements thru at and t (super bargin)….is it water proof???…had to test it myself so i threw it in the hot tub….still works great….all functions working perfectly excepts one. Had an issue with the speaker volume for about an hour or so but as it dried out it was good as new….two thumbs up for durability so far. Its been 3 months so far so good…..

  • tennessee

    I have had this phone for about 3 months now. I absolutely love it! I work in a rubber manufacturing plant and I literally wash my phone in the sink after work everyday. The extremely fine carbon black dust has destroyed 2 HTC’s and the samsung S2. I have dropped this phone on concrete multiple times and have not even scratched the screen. This is an extremely durable phone for people that don’t have the option to sit it on the desk while they work. Oh and I have never put it in a case. Performance of the phone has been excellent. My came with the jelly bean operating system on it which I love. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that isn’t delicate with their phones.