- Heavy design
- Mediocre resolution
- Poor camera
- Lack of cellular data support
With all the smartphone makers putting out waterproof and dustproof phones, it was only a matter of time before more started appear in the tablet market as well. While there have been a few, most run well more than the cost of traditional flagship tablets. Samsung is looking to change that with the Galaxy Active. Combining one of the lowest prices of a ruggedized tablet with the hardware prowess of Samsung, it has generated plenty of hype. But does it live up to it? Let’s check out some reviews!
The first thing you’ll noticed about the tablet is that its far from sleek. But this bulked up design, with reinforced corners and a thicker chassis, is rated for drop protection from three feet. Add the included Protective Cover+ and Samsung claims it will survive multiple falls from a distance of four feet. PC Magazine put these claims to the test, noting, “I have dropped it a number of times without any problems, and felt more comfortable doing that than I would with consumer tablets.”
Other notable design features include physical buttons for navigation and a flapless IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating. Multiple reviews submerged their tablet and while it doesn’t appear to be very usable underwater, it works just fine once back in the dry air.
Sitting on the front of the tablet, you’ll find an 8-inch 800-by-1280 pixel TFT display. While its far from cutting edge, reviews note that it is a decent screen. Many reviewers were suprised at how good the viewing angles on the older screen technology are. While you might notice a lack of fine detail and text can get a little fuzzy, Tech Radar Pro summed it up well, stating that it was “OK, not great”
The processor is equally mid-tier. With a 1.2GHZ quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM, it should have plenty of chops for standard web browsing and productivity work, but don’t expect stellar performance with cutting edge games or heavy multitasking. Notebook Check put it through its paces and declared, “System performance is decent, but minor stutters will be noticed occasionally.”
If you’re planning to use the tablet for movies or games, you might have some issues with the 16GB of internal storage. Fortunately, microSD card support allows you to tack on an additional 64GB of storage space at an affordable price.
Tablet cameras have never offered particularly strong performance. Unfortunately, the cameras on the Galaxy Tab Active are even weaker than most. With a scant 3MP rear camera with flash and 1.2MP front-facing camera, reviews were decidedly negative in almost all aspects. Low-light performance, detail and color reproduction were all lacking. Unless you’re looking to take the occasional picture of a receipt or snapshot to file in Evernote, reviews indicate you shouldn’t expect much from the camera. Tablet PC Review called it, “Poor by any standard.”
One stand out feature of the tablet, apart from its durability, is its 4,450mAh removable battery. Reviewers found it averaged nearly 12 hours on a single charge with mixed usage and media consumption. Even at max brightness and pushing the processor to its limits, it pulls more than six hours from a single charge. Combine this with a nearly unheard of removable battery and you have a tablet with unparalleled battery life. Add in support for both POGO chargers and microUSB and you have a tablet that is flexible and ready to go the distance.
While you have to make a trade-off for the rugged design in performance and weight, reviews on the tablet are mostly positive. PC Magazine calls it, “A much better fit in the outdoor and industrial markets than almost anything else I've carried.” Tablet PC Review praised it, stating, “The functional additions of the ruggedized design, physical buttons, and removable battery make it an appealing tablet, and not just to business users.” However, it is still priced considerably above non-ruggedized tablets, so unless that is a key feature for you, you might be better served elsewhere.