Rugged, waterproof design; Strong performance and graphics; Good battery life; Useful apps
A tad bulky; No 4G LTE; Relatively dim display
The Samsung Rugby Smart is an ultra-durable Android phone that can take anything from being submerged in water to getting dropped from 6 feet.
Here's a smartphone that's pretty much guaranteed to last through that two-year contract. The Samsung Rugby Smart from AT&T ($99) is built to withstand up to 30 minutes under water, extreme heat, violent shock and blowing rain and dust, making this Android device a tempting choice for those who work (or play) in demanding environments. The phone also features a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with strengthened glass. Can the Rugby Smart break from the scrum and score with consumers?
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The sides of the phone are wrapped in a thick soft-touch plastic.Port covers protecting the headphone jack and miniUSB port can be found at the top and bottom of the phone, respectively. The volume rocker rests on the device's left side while the power button sits on the right.
The 4.4-ounce, 4.8 x 2.6 x 0.5-inch Rugby Smart is a little chunky compared to the 4.5 ounce, 5.2 x 2.7 x 0.4 LG Nitro HD or the 4.1 ounce, 5 x 2.6 x 0.35 inch Samsung Galaxy SII. However, the Rugby Smart is fairly light given the amount of protection it provides.
That means that the Rugby Smart can survive being submerged under 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. It can also be dropped from approximately 6.6 feet and can withstand extreme temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
We tested the Rugby Smart's water resistance by submerging it in 8.5 inches of water for 1 minute and the phone continued running even as it sat underwater. Snorkelers won't want to bring the handset with them on their adventures, though, because you can't operate its touch screen while submerged.
Display and Audio
The 3.7-inch Super AMOLED 480 x 800p display delivered bright, vivid colors along with sharp detail, which came in handy when reading text. However, at 209 lux, the display isn't the brightest on the block, especially when compared to the HTC Vivid and the Nitro HD, which averaged 261 and 233 lux respectively. The Galaxy SII notched a blinding 463 lux.
When we watched "The Avengers" HD trailer on YouTube, Black Widow's flame-red hair popped, offsetting her blue eyes while Captain America's red and white shield glistened against a clear sky. There was some graininess, however.
At full volume, the small rear speakers packed a decent punch, filling a small room. We could clearly distinguish Andre 3000 and Big Boy from the synthesized instrumentals on "Mighty O." However, we lost some of the background ad-libs and there was noticeable brassiness in the percussion.
Software and Interface
Another screen has a Facebook widget where we could view our friends' updates and add our own. There are also apps for Contacts, Qik Lite and Social Hub. One screen holds an AT&T Featured Apps widget along with apps for AT&T Live TV, Movies, AT&T Code Scanner and Amazon Kindle.
Icons for Phone, Email, Web and Applications are permanent fixtures along the bottom of the homescreens. A top system bar holds mini-notifications, signal strength, battery life and a small clock. Swiping down on the display reveals the notification shade, which has shortcuts for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Airplane Mode and Screen Rotation.
The Apps page displays icons on a 4 x 4 grid that loops through, similar to the homescreens.
The Rugby Smart has a familiar assortment of apps for a Samsung smartphone. Kies Air allowed us to quickly transfer and manage multimedia content between our laptop and phone provided they were on the same Wi-Fi network. The Amazon Kindle app came in handy for a quick read on the subway. Qik Lite took care of voice chat while QuickOffice handled our light productivity needs. YP (aka Yellow Pages) helped us find a gas station or a quick bite to eat.
AT&T preloads a few of its own apps, including AT&T Live, TV, Code Scanner, FamilyMap, Navigator, Featured Apps and MyAT&T. We liked Messages which took all of our texts, calls, and voicemail and organized them in one thread.
The Rugby Smart's 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor with 512MB of RAM held its ground despite our rampant multitasking. We were able to stream music from Pandora without any latency, despite having 4 open Web browsers and tweaking a photo in Photo Editor.
During the Benchmark CPU test, which measures overall performance, the Rugby Smart scored a respectable 2,919, well above the 1,763 Android phone category average. It was enough to beat the HTC Vivid and its 1.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 (2,129) as well as the LG Nitro HD and its 1.5-GHz ARMv7 dual-core CPU (1,482). However, the Pantech Burst (3,105) and Samsung Galaxy SII (3,341) both scored higher.
On An3DBench, the Rugby Smart scored 7,392, beating the Android phone category average (5,933), Burst (7,058), Vivid (6,001) and Nitro HD (7,353). However the SII continued its dominance, registering 7,754.
The Samsung Rugby Smart comes with 4GB of onboard storage, but can be expanded to 32GB via the microSD slot.
Web Browsing and 4G
Using the Speedtest.net app, the Rugby Smart delivered a 2.4 Mbps average download speed with 900 Kbps uploads. By comparison, the HTC Vivid notched 21.6 Mbps down and an upload rate of 11.1 Mbps, while the LG Nitro HD averaged 23.8 Mbps down and 5.7 Mbps uploads.
Camera and Camcorder
The persistent white haze also showed up in our test video of New York City traffic. The sharpness was affected, but we could still read the signage across the street. We were happy to see the camera only took approximately half a second to readjust after we panned up to the sky and back down to street level.
The 1.3-megapixel front camera captured mediocre images. During our video chat using Qik Lite, our call partner reported a slightly grainy image that blurred when we moved and audio that faded in and out.
The Samsung Rugby Smart consistently provided clear calls to landlines in New Jersey, South Carolina, and New York. There were a few instances of fading in and out when we called other cell phones, however. While the speakerphone was loud, we heard a slight echo in some cases.
On the LAPTOP Battery Test, the Samsung Rugby Smart lasted 6 hours and 39 minutes. That's 56 minutes longer than the 5:43 Android phone average. The Nitro HD and the Vivid only lasted 3:53 and 4:21 respectively, but they pack a more battery-hungry LTE radio.
AT&T offers three data plans for the Samsung Rugby Smart: the $20/month DataPlus 300MB ($20 for each additional 300MB of data usage), the $30/month DataPlus 3GB ($10 for each additional GB) and the $50/month DataPlus 5GB ($10 for each additional GB).
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|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Android 2.3|
|Networks||GSM, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+|
|CPU||1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor|
|Memory Expansion Type||microSD Card|
|Display (main)||480 x 800p WVGA Super AMOLED|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth 3.0|
|Front Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Camera Resolution||5 MP|
|Audio formats supported||M4A|
|Audio formats supported||AAC|
|Audio formats supported||WAV|
|Audio formats supported||MP4|
|Audio formats supported||MP3|
|Audio formats supported||MIDI|
|Video formats supported||3GP|
|Video formats supported||3G2|
|Talk / Standby Time||up 8 hours/16 days|
|Size||4.8 x 2.59 x 0.48|
|SAR Rating (Head)|
|SAR Rating (Body)|