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printed November 20, 2014
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Review: Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro for AT&T

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Media

The Rugby Pro stays in familiar territory when it comes to media consumption. The bare-bones music and video playback apps are on board and can be used with most sideloaded content. (Sideloading is a pain from Macs, which requires a crummy desktop app from Google.) The Rugby Pro is loaded with the the Google Play Store and associated apps for music, video, books, magazines, and apps.

The Rugby Pro also comes with Samsung's Media Hub and Music Hub. The Media Hub is an alternative place through which to purchase and/or rent movies and television shows. It works fine, but requires a Samsung user account. The same goes for the Music Hub for making music purchases.

Last, the Rugby Pro includes the AT&T-branded video streaming service, LiveTV. It costs money and doesn't work very well.

 

Media

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Camera

The Rugby Pro does not have a dedicated camera button, but the camera can be launched via the lock screen shortcut. It loads quickly.

The layout of the camera controls is typical for a Samsung smartphone. There is a control strip down each side; the viewfinder is positioned between them. The settings strip - which is fully customizable - offers access to features such as the flash, exposure controls, scenes, shooting modes, and so on.

Once you've spent a moment familiarizing yourself with the controls, the camera is a breeze to use. It focuses and shoots photos quickly. You can choose to use touch-to-focus if there is something in particular you want to be in focus.

 

Camera

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Photos

The Rugby Pro's 5-megapixel camera does an admirable job. The images I captured with it were in focus, showed good white/color balance, and exposure was spot on. Shots taken outdoors under the sun looked impressive. Indoor shots showed a bit more grain than outdoor shots, (as is normal,) but still looked good. The bright flash goes a long way to making sure those pix of your friends turn out well. In all, the Rugby Pro can certainly serve to replace a point-and-shoot.

 

PHotos

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Video

The Rugby Pro shoots video at a maximum of 720p HD resolution. The sample video I took looked good. I was pleased with the focus and sharpness of the video, and the amount of detail visible. Color was a bit off, though. Bottom line: the Rugby Pro's video camera does a mostly fine job at recording video.



Gallery

The Rugby Pro's gallery application is very close to the stock Android 4.0 gallery app. The basic view includes a mish-mash of photos from all your accounts in one epically huge grid. Using the tools at the top of the page, you can shift the view to specific folders or collections of photos.

The Rugby Pro has the same photo-editing features that most Android 4.0 smartphones do. Images can be cropped and rotated easily. More intensive edits (straightening the image, killing red-eye, correcting exposure/color) are available, too.

 

Gallery

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Apps

The Rugby Pro is besotted with AT&T-branded apps and services. Some of the AT&T stuff includes Code Scanner, FamilyMap, Navigator, Live TV, myAT&T, and the Yellow Pages. Samsung's Media and Social Hubs are accounted for, as are Kies Air and a handful of others. Some of these apps can be deleted, some cannot. Even with all this stuff taking up space, there's plenty of room with a microSD card to store whatever you need (one is not included, you're on your own).

Bluetooth

The Rugby Pro's Bluetooth radio performs well. It paired easily with every device I threw at it. Unfortunately, the volume problems I experienced with the main phone carried over to Bluetooth. That means when I used the Rugby Pro with my car's hands-free system, I had to crank the volume nearly all the way up to hear anything at all. Bottom line, the Rugby Pro is just not loud enough to use effectively with a Bluetooth headset. Music sounded OK through stereo headphones, but was also a bit too quiet.

Browser

The Rugby Pro ships with the stock Android browser. The application itself is fine for browsing the web and does a good job of rendering web sites. It performed excellently on AT&T's LTE 4G network. Web pages appeared quickly thanks to the speedy power of LTE. There are plenty of alternative browsers available in the Google Play Store, however, if you're looking for something a little bit different.

 

Browser

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Clock

There's a white digital clock on the lock screen. It’s big enough to be seen at an arm's length, but it cannot be customized. There are a multitude of clock widgets available for the home screen.

GPS

AT&T Navigator and Google Maps are both available on the Rugby Pro. They both work well at general mapping tasks, such as routing directions and searching for nearby point of interest. The AT&T Navigator app costs $10 to use per month, while Google Maps is free. The GPS radio was excellent at pinpointing my location in about 15 seconds and to within 15 or 20 feet.

 

Maps

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