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Samsung Galaxy S5 Active review

8.7/10 AVG.

Informr score
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active currently has an Informr score of 8.7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 11 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Additional plastic reinforcement for shock protection
  • Fast performance
  • Great screen with crisp and bright colors

What's bad

  • Slippery and difficult to grasp
  • Bulkier than standard smartphones

In order to appeal to the more outdoorsy crowd, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S5 Active. Although not certified to be a truly rugged phone, the S5 Active is water and dust resistant. For better protection, Samsung added reinforced plastic corners, which provides extra scuff-proofing. Critics note that the reinforcements are necessary as the phone case itself is very slippery and difficult to grasp, leading to several accidental drops. Replacing the capacitive buttons are physical home, recent apps and back buttons which, according to Android Central, have "a nice click and texture to them." An addition to the device is the Active key, which pulls up various meters like atmospheric pressure, elevation and even a compass.

Due to the additional protection, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is larger than the S5 at 5.72 x 2.89 x 0.35 inches and weighs more at 170.1 grams (6 oz). Besides these changes, the S5 Active is practically identical to the S5. It comes with a 5.1" 1080p AMOLED display that reviewers describe as crisp and colorful. Running the phone is a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Diagnostic and real-world testing prove that it is more than capable of handling almost every task without lag. CNET calls the phone a "speed demon" though also mentions that it is not as fast as it could be due to Samsung's built-in throttling that lowers the clock speed when the CPU or GPU get too hot.

Overall, reviewers recommend the device for people looking for a little added protection and new features for their smartphone. The Verge says, "If you're looking for a smartphone to take on a construction site or up a mountain, this may be your best bet."

Operating system
2.5 GHz
Screen Size
16+ MP

What the Critics Are Saying...

Tom's Guide

While the S5 Active is larger and heavier than the original Galaxy S5, what it lacks in lightness it more than makes up for with military-spec durability. The only Android phone tougher than the S5 Active is the 4.5-inch Kyocera Brigadier and its Sapphire Shield screen. But fitted with last-gen comp...

- Sam Rutherford, Tom's Guide

The Galaxy S5 Active is essentially the Galaxy S5 in a ruggedized package. It has a different design, an extra button, lacks a finger print sensor, and is shock-proof. That’s it. I’d personally love to catch a glimpse of the GS4 Active’s sales numbers, given it (apparently) did wel...

- Blake Stimac, Greenbot
Android Authority

Rugged phones usually carry a lot of compromises, but that’s not the case with the Galaxy S5 Active. The premium price can be justified here, because, at the end of the day, you’re getting a high-end flagship in a ruggedized body. This phone isn’t going to be for everyone, but it&r...

- Lanh Nguyen, Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is everything we expected it to be and more. In terms of functionality and feature set, the handset is almost every bit as capable as the SM-G900 with the added benefit of higher durability and improved grip. The aforementioned two could very well make the model the pick...

- GSMArena team, GSMArena

Whatever the paint job, whether a Galaxy S5 Active belongs in your pocket depends on how much meat you really need on your smartphone’s bones. Remember, the stock S5 is already immersion-resistant, and while a MIL-STD-810G rating should mean the Active is much more durable, in our experience t...

- Michael Fisher, Pocketnow

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Screen Size

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active's screen size is 5.1 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

2.5 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad core 2.5 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Android 4.4 KitKat (Update Available: 6.0 Marshmallow) operating system (OS).

16+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 16+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2800 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 780 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy S5 Active Specs

Release date May 30, 2014
Regions available USA, Canada
Mobile / Cellular Data
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
850/900/2100 MHz
1700/1900/700/2100 /850/1800/2600 MHz
SIM card size
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.4 KitKat (Update Available: 6.0 Marshmallow)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad core 2.5 GHz
Internal Storage 16 GB
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.92 W/kg
Body: 1.48 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery, Headset, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2800 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 840 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 780 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 20 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Camo Green, Titanium Gray, Ruby Red
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.5 x 7.3 x 0.9 cm (5.7 x 2.9 x 0.4 in)
Weight 170 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design Yes
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 432 pixels
Size 5.1 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN, OBEX
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
DLNA Support Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
Main Camera
16+ megapixels
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, ISO, Panorama, Self-timer, Smile detection, Burst mode, HDR
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
2+ megapixels
Additional Front Camera Info
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MP3, OGG, WMA
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung SM-G870A

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Reviews
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
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