The good The Galaxy S7 Active has
extra long battery life and is resistant to
dust, water and drops. It has has the
same speedy performance, expandable
storage and excellent camera quality as
the original S7.
The bad The bulky, plastic design feels
cheap compared with the glass-and-
metal S7 and the phone is expensive.
The bottom line AT&T customers
looking for a durable and high-end
smartphone can’t go wrong with the
Galaxy S7 Active.
I praised Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Active in
my initial review, for its beautiful
2,560×1,440-pixel resolution display, a
speedy processor, a microSD card slot
for additional storage and an excellent
12-megapixel rear camera. It’s also
equipped with the largest battery
Samsung has ever put in a smartphone.
While the Active doesn’t have the S7’s
sleek metal-and-glass design, it does
include a shatter-resistant screen,
physical buttons and a military grade
body. Perhaps the most appealing
feature was its waterproofing. Samsung
claimed the Active could withstand being
submerged in up to 5 feet of water (1.5
meters) for 30 minutes, but our further
testing with the device found that’s not
consistently true.
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
8.8 to 8.0.
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.g., not submerging the
phone underwater for 28 minutes). You
should still be able to withstand a drop
in the toilet for 3 minutes (ew), which is
more than most devices can handle.
Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S7
Active for AT&T (pictures)
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
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.
Right now, the Active sells only with
AT&T in the US, and at $795 (around
AU$1,085 and £550, converted) at full
retail when it goes on sale on June 10, it
isn’t cheap. That’s the same price as the
curved-screen Edge, and $100 more
than the S7 and a whole lot of other
Android phones.
This review was originally published
June 6, 2016, and was updated on July
18, 2016, to reflect further testing.
Here’s why you’d want the Active
instead
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).
Sarah Tew/CNET
The shatter-resistant screen and
durable body mean you don’t need a
case
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. You can have peace of mind
knowing your expensive phone is less
likely to break.
Sarah Tew/CNET
The Active Key can keep you efficient
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 911 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.
A battery that will last for a day
The Active’s 4,000mAh battery is one of
the most impressive I have ever seen.
That’s 1,000mAh more than the regular
S7 and 400mAh more than the S7
Edge. 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.
Sarah Tew/CNET
Why you might not be sold
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 .
Moisture appeared in the camera
lens of the S7 Active after it was
submerged in water.
Dan Graziano/CNET
It may not be as waterproof as
Samsung claims
The Active carries a water-resistant
rating of IP68 . That means it can
withstand being submerged in 1.5
meters of water (5 feet) for up to 30
minutes — manufacturers must specify
a depth for the IP68 rating.
Following a report from Consumer
Reports , CNET ran four tests to
determine just how waterproof the
Active really is. 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).
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Active takes a
dunk in the pool…and then dies
Hardware specs
SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 ACTIVE
VERSUS THE GALAXY S7,
GALAXY S7 EDGE
Samsung
Galaxy S7
This review also appears in Spanish.
Read: Un Galaxy más fuerte y duradero
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review!
The good The Galaxy S7 Active has
extra long battery life and is resistant to
dust, water and drops. It has has the
same speedy performance, expandable
storage and excellent camera quality as
the original S7.
The bad The bulky, plastic design feels
cheap compared with the glass-and-
metal S7 and the phone is expensive.
The bottom line AT&T customers
looking for a durable and high-end
smartphone can’t go wrong with the
Galaxy S7 Active.
A stronger and longer-
lasting Galaxy
$794.99 See all prices | Get from
Amazon
by Dan Graziano / @DanGraziano
Jul 19, 2016
2 Related Models
36 Photos
15 Photos
Display size,
resolution
5.1-inch;
2,560×1,44
pixels
Pixel density 576ppi
Dimensions
(Inches) 5.6×2.7×0.
Dimensions
(Millimeters)
142.4×69.6
mm
Weight
(Ounces,
Grams)
5.4 oz; 152
Mobile
software
Android 6.0
Marshmallo
Camera 12-megapix
Front-facing
camera 5-megapixe
Video
capture 4K
Processor
2.15GHz +
1.6GHz qua
core Qualco
Snapgradon
820 process
Storage
32GB, 64GB
(varies by
region)
RAM 4GB
Expandable
storage 200GB
Battery 3,000mAh
(nonremova
Fingerprint
sensor Home butto
Connector Micro-USB
Special
features Water-resist
Price off-
contract
(USD)
AT&T: $695
Sprint: $65
Mobile: $67
Verizon: $6
US Cellular:
$672
Price (GBP) £569
Price (AUD) AU$1,149

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