CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. I praised Samsung's Galaxy S7 Active in my initial review -- for its beautiful 2,x1,pixel resolution display, speedy processor, excellent megapixel rear camera and the largest battery Samsung has ever put in a smartphone. But the failure of its water-resistant coating threw cold water in my face. Rated IP68, the S7 Active is supposed to survive submersion in 5 feet of water 1.
When the Active failed waterproof tests conducted by Consumer Reports , we ran several more tests ourselves. Two of CNET's four waterproofing tests with the S7 Active failed , which led to CNET's decision to lower the phone's performance subrating from 9 to 7, and to lower the overall phone rating from 8. Since then, Samsung released a statement that it identified and fixed a problem on the manufacturing line. So we retested the S7 Active alongside the S7 and S7 Edge and all three phones passed our trial by water.
While still a good phone overall, the inconsistent test results for a major feature concerns us and we can no longer recommend the phone with complete confidence. However, we still expect the Active to hold up under normal usage e. You should still be able to withstand a drop in the toilet for 3 minutes ew , which is more than most devices can handle. Despite the phone's questionable behavior when held underwater, we do still recommend it for anyone looking for a durable and high-end phone -- this is the S7 to get if you don't want to use a case and want to avoid cracking your screen like this.
Galaxy fans who put a premium on design should stick to the S7 or S7 Edge. Check out our existing review of the S7 to see how the camera and processor perform. This review was originally published June 6, , and was updated on July 18, and July 31, to reflect further testing.
I was initially turned off by the Active's cheap look and feel, but it has worked hard to win me over, because it has a few things that the better-looking S7 and S7 Edge don't. And also a few reasons why you may want to stick with the original S7 or S7 Edge.
Samsung put an extra layer of protection on top of the display glass to keep it from cracking, and in general, the phone is rated to withstand falls from up to 5 feet. I've dropped it numerous times on the sidewalk, gravel and hardwood floor, and while the body has scratched slightly, the screen has remained unscathed.
The Active is also equipped with a military-grade body. Essentially, it's an S7 with a large plastic case around it. Sure it may not be the prettiest to look at, but it adds extra grip and helps protect the phone. Like the original S7, the Active is resistant to water and dust.
You can drop it in the toilet, have it fall in sand at the beach, or knock it off the table. In addition to the central home button, that also serves as the fingerprint scanner, you will find the task switcher and back physical buttons on either side of the home button. The same double press of the home button to launch the camera works too.
The green S7 Active has a camouflage back panel while the titanium gray and sandy gold have solid color textured back panels. These are both designed to help you monitor conditions, track your activity, and communicate during an emergency. The S7 Active is built for those who like to run with their phone, work in the field, or spend time outside for long periods of time.
You can also add a Samsung Tab E for 99 cents with some local stores possibly offering other promotions. There are very few high end smartphones with integrated rugged features such as the Galaxy S7 Active. Most of the rugged phones have lower tier specifications. The S7 Active continues with a similar rugged form factor and all the bells and whistles found in the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Given that the S7 and S7 Active are both water resistant, the choice comes down to whether you want more battery capacity and a display that can take a tumble. It's tough to choose between the two because the S7 feels so good in the hand and pocket, but it is a bit fragile with the glass back and front. The battery life is awesome and I was able to go nearly two full days with fairly heavy usage.
Given the wireless and fast charging support, the battery is not something you will pay much attention to on the Galaxy S7 Active. There is not enough room with the current Gear VR attachment, but you may be able to perform a custom modification to get it to fit. As a guy who spends time outdoors, I also really like the green camo look and feel.
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Editors' Review Specs. Specifications Processor : Qualcomm Snapdragon 2. Hardware Millions of people place their smartphone inside a case with rugged ones from OtterBox, UAG, and others being popular choices. Motorola Moto G Raspberry Pi Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro. Samsung Galaxy S7 Active product images. Mobility Google Reviews Samsung Smartphones.
I've dropped it numerous times on the sidewalk, gravel and hardwood floor, and while the body has scratched slightly, the screen has remained unscathed. The Active is also equipped with a military-grade body. Essentially, it's an S7 with a large plastic case around it. Sure it may not be the prettiest to look at, but it adds extra grip and helps protect the phone. Like the original S7, the Active is resistant to water and dust. You can drop it in the toilet, have it fall in sand at the beach, or knock it off the table.
You can have peace of mind knowing your expensive phone is less likely to break. One of the most overlooked features of the phone is the Active Key, a programmable button located on the top left-hand side that can be used to quickly launch apps. By default, a single press will open the Activity Zone fitness hub, and a long press will launch the DirectTV app. A double press here brings up Samsung's Emergency Zone, allowing you to instantly call or send a preset SOS message. The good news is that you can reprogram the button to open other apps.
A single tap now brings me to Snapchat and a double tap to Spotify. The Active's 4,mAh battery is one of the most impressive I have ever seen. In our battery test, which continually loops a video until the battery completely drains, the Active lasted an astonishing 21 hours and 30 minutes.
We're verifying with additional tests and will average the final results soon. This phone will keep going well over a day with normal usage and when it is time to charge, it supports both wireless charging and fast charging.
There aren't a lot of truly rugged phones out there, so it's great to see the Active step up as a real, fully featured flagship, but the durable design may not appeal to everyone -- it certainly doesn't appeal to me. And as much as Samsung says the screen is protected, there's still a chance you could shatter it, because life happens, and Samsung doesn't offer a guarantee like Motorola does with the Droid Turbo.
There is, however, a standard one-year warranty, or you can get an extended warranty. So while the Active is pretty much your only option for a tougher premium phone, unless you're really interested in physical navigation keys or the burlier look and feel, you could save some extra cash by picking up the original S7 and a rugged case. The Active carries a water-resistant rating of IP That means it can withstand being submerged in 1. In two tests, the phones were fine, another had moisture in the camera lens and eventually failed to power on, and the last one died a terrible and tragic death we got it all on video and in photos.
This review also appears in Spanish. Dan Graziano. Is brawn more important than beauty? Our Galaxy S7 review called the handset refined, polished and possibly the best smartphone ever but does this also apply to the Galaxy S7 Active?
Find out in this, our Galaxy S7 Active review. The biggest difference between the two handsets is in the design; the original Galaxy S7 features an all glass and metal design but the Galaxy S7 Active swaps this out for a more rubberized body. Like previous Active devices, the rubber build does result in quite a thick phone that is honestly a little bit bulky but this trade-off is certainly not new to the Galaxy S7 Active. Naturally, you do lose the sleek curves and corners of the original Galaxy S7 but the compromise is certainly worth another look when you consider this phone is much more likely to survive a hefty drop.
As a result, the phone is rated as being resistant to drops from heights under 5 feet and being able to survive harsh conditions including salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock. Build quality aside, the Galaxy S7 Active also trades the capacitive navigation keys of the Galaxy S7 Active for physical hardware buttons for the recent apps and back keys.
The majority of other buttons and ports are in the same place as the Galaxy S7, with the exception of the headphone jack which is moved to the top of the phone. The key is completely user definable and can be configured for three different actions — your standard short press, a long press and a double press — which can be used to open any application you choose, with a further option to allow the app to open when the phone is locked.
How does it feel to go from the sleek and slender Galaxy S7 to the larger and beefier Galaxy S7 Active? The simple way to explain it is that the Active very much feels like the Galaxy S7 inside of a case, which comes complete with the front lip to protect against any damage. While the Galaxy S7 Active shares the same 5. The display is shatterproof up to 5 feet meaning the handset should survive a drop from shoulder height for most people, or so Samsung claims.
The display is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 panel — which we know is susceptible to shattering — with a plastic protector on top so shatter resistant, not shatterproof, is the more applicable word to describe the display. A problem with screen protectors or devices that use a plastic panel on top of the display is that often it can detract from what could be a very good display.
The last major change between the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Active is the size of the non-removable battery. Aside from the key differences outlined above, the rest of the Galaxy S7 Active is very much the same as the Galaxy S7. Running the usual benchmarks also corroborates this theory, with the Galaxy S7 Active proving to be on-par with, if not better, than the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Moving on to GeekBench 3, the S7 Active scores in the single-core test and in the multi-core test, which is almost identical to the and scored by the Galaxy S7. The images produced are sharp, vibrant and contrasty and the camera excels in most lighting conditions. Like the regular Galaxy S7, you can still double press the home button to quickly launch the camera and the camera software remains mostly the same, with features such as selective focus and live broadcast to YouTube also present.
The Galaxy S7 Active is running on Android 6. Generally, the Galaxy S7 family sports a heavily refined user experience that has been optimised and streamlined to offer the best performance possible and, for the most part, the S7 Active certainly continues this trend.
For more on the overall software experience, check out our TouchWiz Feature Focus video below:.
Engineered to be shatter-resistant, the Galaxy S7 active gives you extra protection, making the occasional fumble, stumble or drop nothing to worry about.** All. Check out our support resources for your Galaxy S7 Active SM-GA to find manuals, specs, features, and FAQs. You can also register your product to gain. Samsung Galaxy S7 active ; Display, Type ; Size, inches, cm2 (~% screen-to-body ratio) ; Resolution, x pixels, ratio (~ ppi density).