- Jamison Cush , Brighthand
The Samsung Galaxy S6 active takes everything that was great about the Galaxy S6 and puts it into a tougher design, making it a better smartphone.
- Michael Fisher , Pocketnow
With its tough exterior and beefy battery, the Galaxy S6 Active gives its slimmer sibling a run for its money.
- IP68 certified water and dust proof
- Certified military-grade durability for weather, pressure, shock and altitude resistance
- Beautiful screen with bright colors and excellent viewing angles
- Excellent battery life
- Smooth performance
- Excellent quality camera pictures
- Only 32GB of internal storage
- No microSD slot
- No fingerprint sensor on home button
- No connection to Gear VR
When looking at Samsung's production history, it wasn't too much of a surprise that they would release an Active version of the Galaxy S6. Marketed more towards the outdoors crowd, the S6 Active offers a tougher build while keeping all of the same hardware specs of the S6. The ruggedness does come at a cost, most notably in the looks department. Rather than the sleek glass and metal build, the S6 Active is made of plastic and rubber. It is both heavier and thicker than its counterpart and instead of the sleek lines of the S6 reviewers found the overall design to emphasize the ruggedness of the phone all the way down to the camouflage print and faux-bolted lining. It isn't just for show though. The phone earned a military-grade durability certification meaning it is relatively impervious to extreme temperatures, shock, low pressure and high altitudes. As well it comes with an IP68 rating which makes it waterproof in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. Still, Android Authority warns, "…a drop on a jagged rock that hits the screen at just the right angle will make it crack…" Samsung didn't stop there, though. To help prevent accidental drops they added a finely textured back and rubberized grips around the edges. This combined with the additional thickness actually made it much easier for reviewers to grip preventing accidental drops.
Besides the design, Samsung had to make a few other concessions. There is no longer a fingerprint scanner or on-screen buttons. Instead, there are three textured, physical buttons below the screen. Experts describe the buttons as strong and "very clicky." The S6 Active also does not pair with the Gear VR – Samsung's Oculus-powered virtual reality headset. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that it only comes with only 32GB of storage with no microSD expansion slot.
Specs-wise there aren't too many differences from the S6. It still comes equipped with an octo-core processor (4 2.1GHz and 4 1.5GHz) and 3GB of RAM. As expected, experts had smooth performance even when multi-tasking or using processor heavy apps. The biggest change is in the battery life. The S6 Active comes with a non-removable 3500mAh battery compared to the 2550mAh of the S6. It lasted critics a full day even with moderately heavy usage with a little bit of juice left to spare. And thanks to the inclusion of fast charging technology, they were able to fill back up within 90 minutes. As an added bonus, it also includes Qi wireless charging.
In terms of the screen, the same 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) resolution adorns the front of the device. Android Central states, "There really isn't anything bad you can say about this display…" going on to add that the brightness in sunlight, contrast, colors and viewing angles were great. Other critics agree calling the colors "punchy" albeit a bit oversaturated. While waterproof, the screen still will not function well when submerged underwater. It also comes with a brand new Active button that brings up two applications you can choose. By default, it will launch the Activity Zone – a dashboard with widgets that launch into full apps like the weather, barometer, stop watch, S Health, compass and flashlight – and a fitness application.
The 16MP camera offers the same experience on the S6 Active as the standard S6. That means experts were able to get good photo quality even in lower light situations, excellent color reproduction and excellent details. There is a new mode called Aqua mode, which makes the screen inoperable for better underwater photography. While critics experienced some difficulty swiping between menus, they still were able to take very bright and highly detailed HD photos and video even while submerged.
While they had a couple issues with the S6 Active, overall reviewers generally recommend it for those looking for a durable device. CNET states, "The S6 Active isn't the most beautiful or premium phone on the market, but…If you want a flagship phone that you don't have to baby, you can't beat this one."
Reviews (8.1/10 Avg. rating)
Only reason you may not get one in your hands is if you aren’t a AT&T customer
Tough, rugged exterior removes the need for a case
Depending on what you want from your smartphone, the Galaxy S6 Active is a fantastic choice, especially for those that love smartphone cases and want superb battery life. My personal preference is still the Galaxy S6 for its sleek design, but the Galaxy S6 Active is just as good of a choice, especially if you can grab one for the same price as the regular Galaxy S6.
Unfortunately, the Galaxy S6 Active hasn’t been widely released by Samsung, which might make it a bit difficult to obtain outside the United States. The device is available exclusively through AT&T in the St... Full review
One of the easiest to recommend phones this year
The Galaxy S6 Active might be setting the benchmark in what an active lifestyle phone should be, because the phrase “active lifestyle” can mean so many things to different people, and this phone manages to satisfy all of those demographics. An outdoorsy person can knock this phone around and still have perfectly working phone; a gym rat can check heart rate and quickly change songs or fitness routines using the active key; and even the heavy phone user couch potato will benefit from one of the best battery life experiences we’ve had this year. It may not be the prettiest p... Full review
Swift, rugged, and better than the S6
Fast, apps load and switch quickly, the camera fires right up
The Galaxy S6 Active is for the most part, a really great phone. It has almost all of the good stuff from the Galaxy S6, yet is also equipped with a massive battery that will last you more than a day, and can withstand some water and rough play. The camera on this phone is awesome, as is the display.
If you want some negatives, I’d say that the design itself is quite ugly, but that’s my personal opinion. I don’t like the button setup either. But really, the biggest downside here is that this phone is an exclusive to AT&T. Options like this need to be availab... Full review
Not simply a rugged version of the incumbent flagship
Samsung gets rugged right
The Galaxy S6 Active is a more durable and more capable smartphone than any Galaxy S that’s come before. It goes much further on a single charge than the regular S6, keeping pace with some of the longest-lasting phones in its segment. Even better: it’s corrected most of the problems that have long plagued Samsung’s Active line, like leaky casings and inflated durability claims. And while it’s exclusive to the nation’s second-largest network, there are certainly worse carriers to be locked into than AT&T. If you’re in need of an Android phone that take... Full review
Solid phone that shouldn’t be overlooked
There’s nothing holding back the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active. Well, there’s just one actually. That’s the fact that it’s only exclusive to AT&T at the moment, where it can be picked up for roughly the same price as the S6 – so it all boils down to design, the ultimate differentiator between them. Sure, the S6 Active is best described as an S6 with a permanent Otterbox case on it, but don’t be fooled by its tough exterior, because it’s a solid phone that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Not everyone will fancy its particular design, however, i... Full review
Adds above-average durability and extended battery life to the already-excellent S6 smartphone formula
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active will appeal greatly to those who didn't find anything wrong with last year's Galaxy S5. It trades metal and glass for more durable plastic and water-resistance, beauty be damned. And the beefed-up battery will help to appease those that miss the user-replaceable cell in last in the S5. With the Active, Samsung favors function over fashion, with the lone exception being the missing fingerprint scanner on the Home button. That might make things tricky once Samsung Pay launches, but with the service still absent from standard S6s in the U.S., it doesn't appear to b... Full review
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