Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4 (SM-G390F) Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 06/19/2017

Robust and stylish? Samsung aims to provide a smartphone that survives in rough environments, but also radiates elegance at the same time. The handset is, in fact, robust and not too bulky. We checked whether its everyday suitability is just as impressive.

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a loyal reader of notebookcheck? Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team!

Especially wanted: 
English-Swedish-Translator - 
Details here
Review Editor - 
Details here
News Editor - Details here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4

For the original German review, see here.

Special protection is needed when a smartphone is often used in unfriendly surroundings, such as on dusty construction sites or in places with high humidity. The smartphone also has to withstand shocks since it could be dropped during work. Thus, an iPhone with its sensitive glass front will not really come into the question; rather, a so-called ruggedized device will be preferred. These smartphones are protected against shocks and environmental influences. Samsung's Galaxy XCover 4 is such a device. It is dust proof and can survive half an hour under water. Samsung prefers not to make any detailed statements about drop resistance, but a solid plastic casing is supposed to protect it against shocks.

There are not many ruggedized smartphones on the market. Some providers, such as CAT or Panasonic, have specialized in this category, but also demand a high price for their devices. The Galaxy XCover 4 is relatively cheap at an RRP of 249 Euros (~$260) and it is decent. However, there are devices that are considerably more bulky such as AGM's A8  that looks more rugged. The XCover 4 naturally has to compete against its predecessor and other comparison devices such as Lenovo's Moto X Force with its shatterproof screen and Huawei's P10 Lite to see whether the XCover 4 can keep up with conventional smartphones of the price range.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4 (Galaxy XCover Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1280x720 pixel 294 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 10.1 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm headset, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 256 GB, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: position sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM (850/​900/​1800/​1900), UMTS (850/​900/​1900/​2100), LTE (B1/​B3/​B5/​B7/​B8/​B20/​B38/​B40); LTE Cat.4 (max. 150Mbps download / ​max. 50Mbps upload); SAR rate: 0.611W/​kg (head), 1.24W/​kg (body), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.7 x 146.2 x 73.3 ( = 0.38 x 5.76 x 2.89 in)
Battery
10.6 Wh, 2800 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 17 h
Operating System
Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix f/1.9, contrast AF, LED flash
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix f/2.2
Additional features
Speakers: speaker on the right edge, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, charger, USB cable, S Health, Knox (secure container), Samsung Notes, 24 Months Warranty, IP68 certified, MIL-STD-810G certified, fanless, ruggedized
Weight
172 g ( = 6.07 oz / 0.38 pounds), Power Supply: 52 g ( = 1.83 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
249 Euro

 

Case

While the Galaxy XCover 3 was a 4.5-inch handset, the successor is an up-to-date 5-inch smartphone. Thus, it is not surprising that it is wider and longer. However, its casing is now slightly slimmer: 9.7 millimeters (~0.38 in) is pocket-friendly. AGM's A8 is much bulkier with a thickness of 16 millimeters (~0.63 in). The XCover 4 is not an extremely light smartphone, but with a weight of 172 grams (~6.1 oz), it is still comfortable to hold.

The casing is available only in unsusceptible black. Its rubber-coated surface and strong texture should make it particularly slip proof, which is actually true. Thanks to its curved corners, the smartphone is very pleasant to hold. The Galaxy XCover 4 looks neither bulky nor does it flaunt its protective qualities. At a first glance, the smartphone's robust nature is not obvious. The slightly protruding casing bezel protects the screen and the hardware buttons a little. However, we would not advise dropping the device from greater heights as our experiences with the Galaxy XCover 3 has shown.

Strong pressure on the front becomes visible in the liquid crystals, but pressure on the back is not passed on to the screen. The device can hardly be warped and it does not produce any noises then.

Samsung's robust smartphone has an IP68 certificate, i.e. it has a slightly higher protection level than the Galaxy XCover 3. It can also be used for 30 minutes at up to a depth of 1.5 meters (~5 ft) under fresh water without taking damage. It was fully functional in our underwater tests but only the hardware buttons could be used; the touchscreen did not work. The handset first has to dry before the touchscreen functions again. Unlike the predecessor, the audio jack did not cause any problems after bathing.

The device is also MIL-STD-810G certified, which means that in theory it should easily withstand salty air, high or low temperatures or low pressure. However, according to Wikipedia, the test conditions for consumer devices are not controlled since it is a military standard. Samsung can thus specify its own test criteria – this should be kept in mind. According to the manufacturer, the smartphone had to pass the following tests to achieve the MIL-STD 810G certification:

Altitude (during use and idle), high temperature storage (permanent and cyclic), humidity, freeze, immersion, permanent low temperature storage, rain, salt fog, deposited dust, solar radiation (thermal impact), acceleration, arbitrary vibration, use in high temperatures (permanent and cyclic), streaming rain, blowing dust.

As with the predecessor, flaps for protecting the smartphone's USB port or audio jack are not included. The back is removable and even the battery can be removed.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4

Size Comparison

Configuration

With 2 GB of working memory and 16 GB of storage for data, the Galaxy XCover 4 is not really generously equipped. Although it has been upgraded in both aspects compared with its predecessor, all comparison devices have at least 32 GB of storage and at least 3 GB of working memory. The storage of the XCover 4 can be expanded via a microSD card. The microSD can be formatted as internal storage. It can only be used for storing data when used as external storage; apps cannot be moved to it.

The handset supports NFC and USB OTG. The sensor configuration of the XCover 4 includes an ambient light sensor, position sensor, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. This is satisfactory and acceptable for the price range.

Left: XCover button, volume control
Left: XCover button, volume control
Right: Standby button
Right: Standby button
Upper edge: 3.5-mm audio jack
Upper edge: 3.5-mm audio jack
Lower edge: Micro-USB 2.0
Lower edge: Micro-USB 2.0

Software

The Android 7.0 operating system with security patches from 1st March 2017 is preloaded. That means that the patches were already three months old at the time of testing. Samsung uses its own user interface that stands out with modified settings and new effects. Samsung Knox – Samsung's own encryption engine that, for example, provides a safe file for personal data – is also installed.

Otherwise, Samsung preloads Microsoft's apps that are currently installed on many new smartphones. These are the components of the mobile office suite, OneDrive, and Skype. Furthermore, Samsung's Galaxy Apps store, as well as the health and fitness app SHealth, and Samsung's own email client are installed. Annoying: The Microsoft apps can only be deactivated but not completely uninstalled.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4

Communication and GPS

The smartphone supports LTE Cat.4 at speeds of up to 150 Mbit per second (download) and up to 50 Mbit per second (upload). Four GSM and UMTS frequencies and eight LTE bands are available. Thus, a network should be found in many countries. The micro-SIM is quite easy to insert, but the battery has to be removed for this. The Galaxy XCover 4 supports only one SIM card. The reception in the moderately developed German E-network is good in urban areas. At least 3/4 of the signal strength was displayed indoors, and LTE reception was also often indicated.

In terms of Wi-Fi, the smartphone supports the 802.11 a/b/g/n standards and can thus also communicate with the 5 GHz network. At least theoretically, since the 5 GHz network of our router was not identified in practice. We thus performed the test in the 2.4 GHz network. The reception and transmission rates are acceptable. Huawei's P10 Lite with a fast 802.11 ac Wi-Fi takes a clear lead. The full signal was displayed in the router's vicinity. ¾ of the signal strength was available at a distance of 10 meters (~33 ft) and through three walls but websites opened slightly slower.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Huawei P10 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 658, 32 GB eMMC Flash
229 MBit/s ∼100% +365%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Mali-T720, 7570 Quad, 16 GB eMMC Flash
49.2 MBit/s ∼21%
AGM A8
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 32 GB eMMC Flash
26.9 MBit/s ∼12% -45%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Huawei P10 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 658, 32 GB eMMC Flash
232 MBit/s ∼100% +512%
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
Mali-T720, 7570 Quad, 16 GB eMMC Flash
37.9 MBit/s ∼16%
AGM A8
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 32 GB eMMC Flash
18.4 MBit/s ∼8% -51%
GPS test, indoors
GPS test, indoors
GPS test, outdoors
GPS test, outdoors

Our position was roughly located even indoors, but the accuracy of 40 to 60 meters (~131 to ~197 ft) was not very high. The inaccuracy quickly dropped to up to 4 meters (~13 ft) outdoors. A good rate.

Samsung has apparently put a high value on the GPS module in its outdoor smartphone. Our bike ride with the review sample and Garmin's Edge 500 professional navigation system proves this. The logged route deviates by just 30 meters (~100 ft) over 12 kilometers (~705 mi) – great. The Galaxy XCover 4 is not less accurate than Garmin's Edge 500 in the crossing scenario or when crossing the bridge. The XCover 4 only rarely draws a straight line between two points, but they are never too far apart. Thus, the XCover 4 can be trusted on hikes or when used for navigating by car.

GPS Garmin Edge 500: Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Bridge
GPS Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4: Overview
GPS Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4: Overview
GPS Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4: Crossing
GPS Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4: Crossing
GPS Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4: Bridge
GPS Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4: Bridge

Telephony and Call Quality

Samsung has developed the phone app that can be directly accessed from the lock screen. It strongly resembles Google's stock app: Recent calls are displayed when opened, but all contacts can be accessed via a tab or search for a contact via voice input or keyboard. The keypad has a dedicated button that is always displayed.

Unfortunately, the call quality is mediocre: The earpiece is comparatively quiet and could be a problem in loud environments. The installed microphone tends to hum and also reproduces our voices slightly muffled. The speaker is not particularly loud and tends to omit some sound, which can lead to misunderstandings. Furthermore, loud sounds cause the microphone to overdrive in hands-free mode. Samsung should have put more effort into this after we criticized the call quality of the predecessor.

Cameras

Front camera photo
Front camera photo

In terms of cameras, the Galaxy XCover 4 is considerably more up-to-date than its predecessor. A 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel camera on the front provide the common resolution levels of the lower mid-range. The primary camera has a standard contrast autofocus and a single-colored LED flash. Its photos are quite sharp and the color reproduction is natural, although they do not look particularly warm. The image quality is good, even in details, but the dynamic in dark areas could be higher. The camera hardly identifies anything in low-light conditions, making party photos without the flash difficult. Videos can be recorded in the Full HD resolution. Exposure and sharpness can be adjusted manually, but the camera does that automatically otherwise. The focus is usually correct, but the exposure is often too dark, especially with light from the back. The image sharpness is overall good.

The front camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels. At a first glance, the exposure of the photos seems to be good, but they lack some dynamic in both the bright and dark areas. Areas are reproduced with little details and thus the flower petals on the test photos almost look like a painting. Minor contour doubling can be seen on edges. It is also possible to record Full HD videos with the front camera. The image quality is quite good here. Exposure adapts quickly, but this camera also has problems with light from the back.

Overall, the photos are acceptable for an affordable mid-range handset. The rear-facing camera even shoots quite good photos in normal light conditions. The front camera is  quite suitable for undemanding selfies, but it should not be used for sophisticated photography.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

The primary camera has to prove itself again in our lab under defined light conditions. Our test photo displays minor sharpness problems when reproducing text on colored backgrounds. At least the edges are displayed with almost no artifacts or contour doubling. The sharpness stays high toward the edges.

The color reproduction tends to be a bit too pale. This is true for both bright and dark color shades.

Test chart (click for original)
Test chart (click for original)
Test photo section
Test photo section
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.

Accessories and Warranty

Samsung does not include many accessories: Only a charger, a USB cable, a quick start guide, and warranty conditions are found in the box. Samsung does not offer any special accessories for the XCover 4 on its website either.

Samsung includes a 24-month warranty on its smartphone. This also applies to the IP certification, i.e. water and dust sealing as long as the smartphone is used in accordance with Samsung's specifications of use. The battery is covered for 12 months, and the charger and USB cable both for 6 months.

Input Devices and Handling

Samsung only preloads its own keyboard app on the smartphone. Thus, users who want another keyboard will have to download it from Google's Play Store. Samsung's keyboard offers relatively narrow keys that are tall in portrait mode and have a dedicated number row. Swipe inputting has to be enabled, but it is also present. Generally, there are many settings and it is possible to type quickly on Samsung's keyboard.

Samsung's XCover 4 uses quite a few hardware buttons. The Android menu buttons are situated below the screen. They have a clear pressure point and make a robust impression. The standby button is on the casing's right, and the volume control and a dedicated XCover button are found on the left. Short pressure enables the flashlight, and longer pressure launches the camera. All buttons are easy to feel and have a clear pressure point.

As usual with Samsung, there are many aids for disabled users and diverse control options, such as turn to mute, emergency messages or display several apps simultaneously via a multi-window display.

A glove mode is also integrated again, and thus the touchscreen can be used when wearing thin gloves.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Subpixel grid
Subpixel grid

The resolution of 1280x720 pixels is on the standard level for the price range. The considerably more expensive Moto X Force has a four times higher resolution, and Huawei's P10 Lite has at least, Full HD. Despite the large screen size, the PPI has also increased considerably compared with the predecessor due to the higher resolution: The XCover 4's screen offers 294 pixels per inch. The review sample is one of the few devices by Samsung that does not have an AMOLED screen but an IPS panel.

The screen has an average brightness of 436.8 cd/m², which is on par with the screen in the XCover3 but much higher than the screens in the Moto X Force or AGM A8. An illumination of 88% is the lowest rate in the comparison field, but that is still enough to let large colored areas look relatively homogeneous.

430
cd/m²
452
cd/m²
462
cd/m²
421
cd/m²
445
cd/m²
453
cd/m²
407
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
445
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 462 cd/m² Average: 436.8 cd/m² Minimum: 3.71 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 445 cd/m²
Contrast: 664:1 (Black: 0.67 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.5 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 7.2 | - Ø
Gamma: 2.53
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
IPS, 800x480, 4.5
Huawei P10 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Motorola Moto X Force
AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.4
AGM A8
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Screen
16%
37%
24%
54%
Brightness
437
436
0%
509
16%
336
-23%
343
-22%
Brightness Distribution
88
91
3%
95
8%
91
3%
93
6%
Black Level *
0.67
0.53
21%
0.36
46%
0.21
69%
Contrast
664
853
28%
1408
112%
1695
155%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.5
5.71
12%
5.1
22%
3.99
39%
3.7
43%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.2
5.02
30%
6.1
15%
1.66
77%
1.9
74%
Gamma
2.53 95%
2.15 112%
2.28 105%
2.32 103%
2.5 96%
CCT
8274 79%
7441 87%
8143 80%
6584 99%
6412 101%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 20400 Hz90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 20400 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 20400 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6272 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The high black value of 0.64 cd/m² is somewhat a problem: dark areas often look milky gray and the contrast drops to 664:1, which leads to less brilliant colors on the screen. Both the Moto X Force with an AMOLED screen and thus theoretically infinite contrast, and AGM's A8 with a much lower black value are better here. The device also uses pulse width modulation for brightness control at a brightness of just 90%, which is a high-frequency flickering that lets the image look darker. Since this frequency is very high, it should not be a problem even for sensitive users.

We also discovered a visible bluish tint in the image reproduction analysis with the spectrophotometer and CalMAN software. Apart from a blue filter, there are no options to adjust the white balance. The color reproduction is generally too cool due to the bluish tint. Blue colors also deviate most from the specifications of the sRGB reference color space.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
16 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 9 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 8 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 26 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).

The good brightness pays off outdoors. Although the screen is highly reflective, it is usually possible to recognize something on the screen even in very bright surroundings. The ambient light sensor is sometimes a bit slow, but it then adapts the brightness quickly and appropriately.

The viewing angles of the IPS screen do not give much cause for complaint. Minor brightness shifts are visible from very flat angles at most. Overall, the image remains  quite legible even then.

Outdoors, maximum brightness
Outdoors, maximum brightness
Outdoors, medium brightness
Outdoors, medium brightness
Outdoors, minimum brightness
Outdoors, minimum brightness
Outdoors, ambient light sensor
Outdoors, ambient light sensor
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The Exynos 7570 SoC in the XCover 4 can boast with four cores and 1.4 GHz of power. It allows for performance rates on the lower mid-range level and presents a strong performance gain compared with the predecessor. However, it is noticeably inferior to high-quality mid-range devices, such as Huawei's P10 Lite. The performance of AGM's A8 is clearly surpassed.

A now somewhat older ARM Mali-T720 graphics unit is installed. Its performance is also on the level of the lower mid-range. Again, Huawei's P10 Lite is clearly superior and AGM's A8 offers a much weaker graphics performance.

AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
35379 Points ∼16%
Huawei P10 Lite
60438 Points ∼27% +71%
Motorola Moto X Force
89911 Points ∼39% +154%
AGM A8
26753 Points ∼12% -24%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
952 Points ∼31%
Huawei P10 Lite
1592 Points ∼53% +67%
Motorola Moto X Force
1351 Points ∼45% +42%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
85 Points ∼2%
Huawei P10 Lite
326 Points ∼6% +284%
Motorola Moto X Force
2067 Points ∼38% +2332%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
107 Points ∼3%
Huawei P10 Lite
396 Points ∼10% +270%
Motorola Moto X Force
1849 Points ∼48% +1628%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
955 Points ∼32%
Huawei P10 Lite
1537 Points ∼51% +61%
Motorola Moto X Force
1282 Points ∼43% +34%
AGM A8
739 Points ∼25% -23%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
157 Points ∼2%
Huawei P10 Lite
520 Points ∼7% +231%
Motorola Moto X Force
3226 Points ∼42% +1955%
AGM A8
43 Points ∼1% -73%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
193 Points ∼4%
Huawei P10 Lite
610 Points ∼12% +216%
Motorola Moto X Force
2413 Points ∼48% +1150%
AGM A8
54 Points ∼1% -72%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
11459 Points ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
9613 Points ∼13% -16%
Huawei P10 Lite
13510 Points ∼19% +18%
Motorola Moto X Force
11963 Points ∼17% +4%
AGM A8
9082 Points ∼13% -21%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
3985 Points ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
2591 Points ∼1% -35%
Huawei P10 Lite
10603 Points ∼2% +166%
Motorola Moto X Force
38394 Points ∼8% +863%
AGM A8
3808 Points ∼1% -4%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
4661 Points ∼2%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
3093 Points ∼2% -34%
Huawei P10 Lite
11135 Points ∼6% +139%
Motorola Moto X Force
25751 Points ∼13% +452%
AGM A8
4372 Points ∼2% -6%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
6.8 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
5.4 fps ∼0% -21%
Huawei P10 Lite
17 fps ∼1% +150%
Motorola Moto X Force
58 fps ∼4% +753%
AGM A8
2.8 fps ∼0% -59%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
11 fps ∼2%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
15.1 fps ∼3% +37%
Huawei P10 Lite
18 fps ∼4% +64%
Motorola Moto X Force
42 fps ∼9% +282%
AGM A8
9.5 fps ∼2% -14%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
2.6 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
0.8 fps ∼0% -69%
Huawei P10 Lite
7.2 fps ∼1% +177%
Motorola Moto X Force
27 fps ∼5% +938%
AGM A8
1.8 fps ∼0% -31%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
5.4 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
2.3 fps ∼1% -57%
Huawei P10 Lite
7.7 fps ∼2% +43%
Motorola Moto X Force
17 fps ∼5% +215%
AGM A8
4 fps ∼1% -26%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
1.6 fps ∼0%
Huawei P10 Lite
4.2 fps ∼1% +163%
Motorola Moto X Force
20 fps ∼5% +1150%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
3.9 fps ∼2%
Huawei P10 Lite
4.8 fps ∼3% +23%
Motorola Moto X Force
12 fps ∼7% +208%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
3446 Points ∼50%
Huawei P10 Lite
4464 Points ∼65% +30%
AGM A8
3701 Points ∼54% +7%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
4508 Points ∼54%
Huawei P10 Lite
5794 Points ∼70% +29%
Motorola Moto X Force
5365 Points ∼65% +19%
AGM A8
2920 Points ∼35% -35%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
661 Points ∼43%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
744 Points ∼48% +13%
Huawei P10 Lite
654 Points ∼42% -1%
Motorola Moto X Force
939 Points ∼61% +42%
AGM A8
557 Points ∼36% -16%
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
253 Points ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
129 Points ∼1% -49%
Huawei P10 Lite
829 Points ∼10% +228%
Motorola Moto X Force
3376 Points ∼39% +1234%
AGM A8
306 Points ∼4% +21%
Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
1066 Points ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
366 Points ∼8% -66%
Huawei P10 Lite
1592 Points ∼36% +49%
Motorola Moto X Force
1085 Points ∼25% +2%
AGM A8
757 Points ∼17% -29%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
1396 Points ∼21%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
1103 Points ∼17% -21%
Huawei P10 Lite
2642 Points ∼40% +89%
Motorola Moto X Force
2878 Points ∼44% +106%
AGM A8
1161 Points ∼18% -17%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
706 Points ∼19%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
443 Points ∼12% -37%
Huawei P10 Lite
1229 Points ∼32% +74%
Motorola Moto X Force
1774 Points ∼47% +151%
AGM A8
622 Points ∼16% -12%
Geekbench 4.1
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
1855 Points ∼10%
Huawei P10 Lite
3460 Points ∼19% +87%
AGM A8
1383 Points ∼7% -25%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
629 Points ∼13%
Huawei P10 Lite
913 Points ∼19% +45%
AGM A8
515 Points ∼11% -18%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4 Samsung Exynos 7570 Quad, ARM Mali-T720, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 Marvell Armada PXA1908, Vivante GC7000UL, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P10 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 658, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto X Force Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
AGM A8 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 32 GB eMMC Flash

The Galaxy XCover 4 also places itself on class average in Internet browsing. The speed is acceptable for the lower mid-range. More expensive smartphones process website data much faster, though. Sophisticated HTML 5 pages can also be opened in practice, but minor stutters and occasional waiting times are quite noticeable.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
11130 ms * ∼19%
Huawei P10 Lite
8590.8 ms * ∼14% +23%
Motorola Moto X Force
4080.1 ms * ∼7% +63%
AGM A8
12247.9 ms * ∼21% -10%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
3133 Points ∼6%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
2059 Points ∼4% -34%
Huawei P10 Lite
4589 Points ∼9% +46%
Motorola Moto X Force
8699 Points ∼18% +178%
AGM A8
2733 Points ∼6% -13%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
20.988 Points ∼6%
Huawei P10 Lite
30.047 Points ∼9% +43%
Motorola Moto X Force
49.373 Points ∼15% +135%
AGM A8
16.897 Points ∼5% -19%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
61 Points ∼8%
Huawei P10 Lite
62 Points ∼8% +2%
Motorola Moto X Force
103 Points ∼14% +69%

* ... smaller is better

The Galaxy XCover 4 does a very good job when accessing our Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 reference microSD card. It can even outrun the more expensive comparison devices. It also offers very high speeds in read.

Accessing the internal storage is fast, but not quite on the level of the microSD card's access rates. However, the Galaxy XCover 4 still achieves very solid values here.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
55.66 MB/s ∼64%
Huawei P10 Lite
32.7 MB/s ∼38% -41%
Motorola Moto X Force
46.96 MB/s ∼54% -16%
AGM A8
20.46 MB/s ∼23% -63%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
68.97 MB/s ∼71%
Huawei P10 Lite
53.4 MB/s ∼55% -23%
Motorola Moto X Force
79.04 MB/s ∼82% +15%
AGM A8
22.01 MB/s ∼23% -68%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
11.9 MB/s ∼8%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
4 MB/s ∼3% -66%
Huawei P10 Lite
19.36 MB/s ∼13% +63%
Motorola Moto X Force
19.78 MB/s ∼13% +66%
AGM A8
3.73 MB/s ∼2% -69%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
21.8 MB/s ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
15.8 MB/s ∼9% -28%
Huawei P10 Lite
72.47 MB/s ∼42% +232%
Motorola Moto X Force
22.55 MB/s ∼13% +3%
AGM A8
11.44 MB/s ∼7% -48%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
73.6 MB/s ∼36%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
25.6 MB/s ∼12% -65%
Huawei P10 Lite
129.18 MB/s ∼63% +76%
Motorola Moto X Force
47.99 MB/s ∼23% -35%
AGM A8
69.47 MB/s ∼34% -6%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
181.6 MB/s ∼23%
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
113.5 MB/s ∼14% -37%
Huawei P10 Lite
264.3 MB/s ∼33% +46%
Motorola Moto X Force
252.03 MB/s ∼32% +39%
AGM A8
140.67 MB/s ∼18% -23%

Games

We can only conditionally recommend the Galaxy XCover 4 to players looking for a robust smartphone. The graphics unit is too weak to render sophisticated graphics, even for the not particularly high-resolution screen. “Asphalt 8” does not run smoothly in high details. Somewhat less demanding 3D games, such as “Dead Trigger 2”, can run smoothly. That is also true for 2D games like “Angry Birds”. Since the graphics unit does not support all modern APIs, some effects might not be displayed and its future compatibility in terms of games is also questionable.

Control via position sensor and touchscreen is smooth.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high23 fps
 very low30 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps

Emissions

Temperature

The casing temperatures of Samsung's Galaxy XCover 4 are already noticeably increased in idle mode. We measured a maximum of 33.7 °C (~93 °F). The temperatures climbed up to 38.2 °C (~101 °F) during full load. This maximum temperature is reached in the earpiece area of all places. Thus, making calls can be a sweaty issue after prolonged load. The measured temperatures are not critical overall, but lower temperatures would have been desirable, especially in idle mode, particularly in view of the smartphone's relatively low performance.

At least the SoC does not throttle its performance even after prolonged load as we discovered using the battery benchmarks of GFXBench.

Heatmap front
Heatmap front
Heatmap rear
Heatmap rear
GFXBench battery benchmark
GFXBench battery benchmark
Max. Load
 36.4 °C36.6 °C34.8 °C 
 38.2 °C36.6 °C35.7 °C 
 37.9 °C37 °C36.2 °C 
Maximum: 38.2 °C
Average: 36.6 °C
36.2 °C36.6 °C36.6 °C
35.8 °C37.4 °C37.3 °C
35.6 °C37.5 °C37.3 °C
Maximum: 37.5 °C
Average: 36.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  30.6 °C | Room Temperature 21.5 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speaker

Pink Noise speaker test
Pink Noise speaker test

Unlike the rear-sided speaker of the Galaxy XCover 3, Samsung has incorporated the speaker into the upper right of the Galaxy XCover 4. This is an unusual place that we found quite favorable in practice. It is difficult to cover the speaker there. The sound is not overly loud and fairly clear. Low tones are hardly audible; the sound is relatively treble-heavy. The sound tends to become inaccurate in louder parts and the instruments are reduced to a pulp. High tones sometimes sound unpleasant.

Overall, it is quite possible to watch an occasional YouTube video or sample a piece of music, but it is not really fun. Playback via the 3.5-mm jack or Bluetooth is much better; we did not have problems with the connection.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.634.12525.433.43125.332.34032.927.65033.628.16331.634.48028.430.11002736.512520.833.41602241.220021.347.625020.852.131521.255.240019.457.450019.560.363017.765.480017.968.6100017.870125017.370.6160017.472200016.771.3250017.269.7315018.271400017.972.4500017.666.3630017.761.4800017.857.91000017.9581250018.149.21600018.246.6SPL3080.4N1.347.4median 17.9Samsung Galaxy XCover 4median 60.3Delta1.310.731.641.725.440.125.336.632.927.533.629.731.633.228.429.42727.420.825.1222321.32720.839.221.247.819.454.319.562.517.772.217.975.317.876.717.374.917.472.916.774.917.275.818.276.617.97617.672.317.761.217.856.217.95718.163.718.252.73085.81.359.8median 17.9AGM A8median 62.51.316.9hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.4 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 7.4% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.3% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 27% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 56% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 37% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

AGM A8 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.78 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 30.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 10% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 9.1% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (33.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 85% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 8% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 92% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 5% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram comparison (checkboxes above can be turned on/off!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Galaxy XCover 4's power consumption in a turned off state and in standby are very low, which is a good start in this chapter. The idle consumption is also on a normal level, but the predecessor was more efficient overall. The XCover 4 is also situated in the midfield of the comparison devices with a maximum load consumption of 5.92 watts. It is not a power waster, but it is not a power saver either.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.006 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.56 / 1.57 / 1.68 Watt
Load midlight 4.6 / 5.92 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
2800 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
 mAh
Huawei P10 Lite
3000 mAh
Motorola Moto X Force
3760 mAh
AGM A8
4050 mAh
Power Consumption
24%
7%
-26%
-23%
Idle Minimum *
0.56
0.6
-7%
0.38
32%
0.96
-71%
0.86
-54%
Idle Average *
1.57
1.2
24%
1.87
-19%
1.35
14%
1.97
-25%
Idle Maximum *
1.68
1.3
23%
1.92
-14%
1.4
17%
2.04
-21%
Load Average *
4.6
2.6
43%
3.82
17%
6.11
-33%
4.86
-6%
Load Maximum *
5.92
3.6
39%
4.9
17%
9.43
-59%
6.43
-9%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The XCover 4 manages very impressive runtimes with its relatively low capacity battery of just 2800 mAh or 10.6 watts. Over 11 hours of Wi-Fi browsing remote from an outlet are possible. That is easily enough for two normal workdays.

Users who need an even longer battery life can enable the two-level energy-saving mode and even adapt it manually. It controls screen brightness, throttles the processor speed, and a basic theme that is to save power with a dark background and more basic graphics.

When the battery is depleted, it takes about two hours for a full recharge.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
23h 08min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
11h 08min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
11h 21min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 25min
Samsung Galaxy XCover 4
2800 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3
 mAh
Huawei P10 Lite
3000 mAh
Motorola Moto X Force
3760 mAh
AGM A8
4050 mAh
Battery Runtime
-18%
7%
11%
-2%
Reader / Idle
1388
1002
-28%
1410
2%
1610
16%
H.264
681
678
0%
586
-14%
710
4%
WiFi v1.3
668
503
-25%
665
0%
426
-36%
654
-2%
Load
205
166
-19%
286
40%
330
61%

Pros

+ solid and unobtrusive casing
+ diverse hardware buttons
+ water and dust proof
+ very accurate GPS module
+ good battery life
+ bright screen
+ removable battery
+ glove mode
+ UI with many options
+ Android 7.0

Cons

- low memory configuration
- poor voice and audio quality
- moderate front-facing camera quality
- relatively high black value
- bluish tint in the panel
- moderate gaming performance

Verdict

In review: Samsung Galaxy XCover 4. Review sample courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de
In review: Samsung Galaxy XCover 4. Review sample courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de

Even if Samsung's Galaxy XCover 4 is not quite as resistant as it appears, it is protected better than many other very sensitive smartphones. The robust plastic casing does not look bulky and even the battery can be replaced. Water and dust protection have been increased compared with the predecessor, and the speaker now functions impeccably when the handset is wet. After using it in water, we found a drop of water under the rear cover. Thus, the device should be dried separately here.

The device's storage configuration could be more generous, but its extensive operating system and quite useful primary camera are convincing. The input options are diverse, the screen is appropriate, and the performance sufficient for daily routine. The battery life also fits well to the good overall impression. We did not like the handset's sound quality and gaming performance as much, though.

Like its predecessor, the Galaxy XCover 4 is not suitable for extreme situations, but quite well-equipped for the uncertainties of everyday  life. The hard shell conceals a solid, lower mid-range smartphone.

Users who need an ultimately high-end ruggedized smartphone for extreme situations will have to look around at the experts. Samsung offers a solid device for slightly more demanding routine use, for hiking, or the occasional visit to a dusty construction site. Since the device is relatively cheap and can serve with very good GPS, it is quite suitable for these situations.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 4 - 06/12/2017 v6
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
69 / 75 → 92%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
37 / 60 → 62%
Weight
90%
Battery
93%
Display
82%
Games Performance
7 / 63 → 11%
Application Performance
40 / 70 → 58%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
49 / 91 → 54%
Camera
66%
Average
70%
81%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

Read all 2 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy XCover 4 (SM-G390F) Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2017-06-19 (Update: 2017-06-20)