For the past few generations, the Active line of Samsung’s popular Galaxy S series has offered an interesting compromise of features for durability. For those looking for a rugged phone ready to life on the go, the new Galaxy S7 Active is here! But can it keep up with the current flagships or does surviving some falls mean giving up the S7 experience?
Turns out, that on the inside the S7 is largely the same! This is good news for anyone disappointed in the compromises of the previous Active releases.
However, there are a few key differences, so we hit the review sites to bring you an idea of what to expect from this rugged little powerhouse.
First thing you’re likely to notice is the design of the phone. This isn’t the super-slim, glass and metal job you’re used to seeing from Samsung. The phone has a permanent rubberized protective shell. While it adds a bit of size and heft to the handset, reviews are generally positive. Phone Arena notes, “The phone's bulky plastic exterior has the appearance of a rubberized bumper, though to the touch the material is much firmer; it feels like a smartphone bonded to a relatively high-end case.”
There is also a treatment on the front screen to help resist damage during falls. Combined with the protective shell, Samsung claims the phone can survive repeated falls from up to 5 feet. Tom’s Guide was one of the only reviewers to put this to the test, noting, “I tossed the device down a 12-step staircase multiple times, and the only real damage I noticed were a few scratches on the back.”
With IP68 water resistance, the phone is also good for full submersion in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Every reviewer with a fish tank or sink in the office had no problems taking their review model for a swim.
The last design difference is the button arrangement. In addition to the typical Galaxy S7 home button, the two Android buttons are hard buttons instead of capacitive. Reviewers noted no trouble in using them, though some wished they were back lit. There’s also the Active button on the side of the handset. You can program it to launch different apps depending on whether you short press, long press or double tap. This was a hit with all reviewers for its reliability and function.
Where many previous Active models resulted in downgrading certain parts of the hardware, this generation of Active nets you an upgrade in the battery department. Cramming in a 4000mAh cell, most reviews found the S7 Active near the top of their benchmarks with all noting that all-day use should be no issue. You’ll also find wireless charging and QuickCharge support for topping off if needed.
The only concern mentioned came from ZDNet, saying, “One thing to note is that the current Samsung Gear VR will not work with the S7 Active.”
As the rest of the specifications are identical, you can find information on performance, screen quality and camera in our summary on the Samsung Galaxy S7.