- 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."
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Jason Million, G Style Magazine
Once you get it in your hands its hard to not like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active. It has a nice sized battery, carries just about all the pluses of the flagship of the Samsung Galaxy S6 model with very minuses since as its build design and fingerprint scanner. Being water-resistant is always a good t...
- Tim Schiesser , TechSpot
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, especia...
- Joshua Vergara, Android Authority
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...
- Cherlynn Low, Tom's Guide
If you live life a little more dangerously than most, the Galaxy S6 Active is like a dependable James Bond gadget. It will work rain or shine, and it's got enough juice to last you more than a workday. Just as with the regular S6, you'll also enjoy speedy performance, a vivid display and an excellen...
- Kellex, Droid Life
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...
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We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active user manual here.
Samsung backs up the Galaxy S6 Active with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Galaxy S6 Active has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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