For the great outdoors: Samsung’s new smartphone

Xcover 2Aimed at the rugged outdoors type, Samsung has released a new addition to its Galaxy range, just ahead of the Mobile World Congress.

The new Galaxy Xcover 2 is designed to withstand tough conditions. Protected against the elements, it is dust and sand proof. And Xcover 2 is even water resistant up to one meter for 30 minutes, with a direct camera key to allow you to take underwater photos.

For those who like to get out into the countryside without the fear of getting lost, there’s pre-downloaded Google map data along with a combination of GPS and GLONASS to pinpoint your location more accurately. Battery capacity is also impressive – you should be able to use your phone for 570 hours before needing to recharge. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys hiking or camping.

There’s also a Cardio Trainer Pro workout application which will help users to meet their fitness targets by creating a training program tailored to the individual, checking progress and recording speed and distance.

While well equipped to deal with the elements on the outside, the inside of Samsung’s latest offering comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The 4-inch WVGA display is covered in Gorilla Glass to give it extra protection against knocks and bumps. There’s a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of memory which you can expand to up to 32GB with a microSD card.

It has two cameras – a five-megapixel on the back with a 720p video, which has an LED flash that doubles as a torch, and a VGA camera on the front.

Xcover 2 againXcover 2 is also packed with what Samsung describes as “a series of innovative features and services to boost performance and the overall user experience”.

There’s Motion UI, which understands your movements, updating when you shake the handset, or muting when you turn it over. There’s Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri, in S Voice, which lets users control the handset with their voice. You can use it to find the weather forecast before you head out for your hiking, cycling or horseriding session or to find a contact number or take a photograph of the scenery you are enjoying.

Best Shot recommends the best picture from a series of photographs for you, which could come in useful if you’re intending to share your images through social networks, while Smart Stay recognizes if you are still looking at the screen so it stays lit up and dims when you turn away.

Samsung certainly believes it has another winner on its hands. A spokesman described the new gizmo as “the ideal smartphone for active explorers who are enjoying outdoor lifestyles and seeking a more durable mobile device with essential smartphone capabilities.” An official press release described the Galaxy Xcover 2 as “the best possible smartphone partner for outdoor exploration.”

No details have been released yet on pricing or availability, but we’re sure to find out more at Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona from February 25 to 28.