As the cycle has been since the Galaxy S4, Samsung will release its flagship then an Active version a month or two later and exclusive to AT&T. Last year when the Galaxy S5 Active came out while I always been a fan of the line it didn’t hold as much weight. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 flagship had water and dust resistance under its belt(with its annoying flap) and you were really getting the Active if you liked the design and were an AT&T customer. This year with the Galaxy S6, Samsung has taken those features back out and given it an all around glass body. While some like the new design, others may not and this gives the Galaxy S6 Active opportunity to shine. Is the Galaxy S6 Active another winner?
Like its Active predecessors before it, design wise the Active S6 hasn’t changed much. The device is still mostly encased in plastic with more emphasis placed on all four corners where the build is thicker. Those faux looking “bolts” are still on the back to give it that industrial look as well as a cutout for the speaker.
Difference in this year’s model is since its following in line with the clean design of the Galaxy S6 there is no removal of the back for battery access or is there anywhere to pop in a microSD card. I thought for it being a more “Active” phone they should have left those features in but if it helps the overall build of the phone there had to be reason. Besides that you still have the 16MP camera on the back which thankfully doesn’t have that protruding camera design like the S6. On the left side you have volume toggle, Active button, and on the right is the Power button alongside the simcard tray. USB port on the bottom, headphone jack on top and the usual three tactile Active buttons instead of capacitive like on the regular line of Galaxy devices. Realistically the S6 Active is almost identical to the S5 Active body wise sans the screen and the hardware underneath. What makes the S6 Active great over the Galaxy S6 flagship is that its IP68 rated which makes it Water, Dust, Shock, Vibration, Temperature, Humidity resistant.
Best thing about the Galaxy Active is they don’t spare any expense on the quality. Like the Galaxy S6 it has a gorgeous 5.1″ SUPER AMOLED display featuring 577ppi. Colors are vivid with the screen being an QHD display (1440 x 2560 pixels) and no matter where you use it whether the darkest areas or right in the sunset the quality doesn’t decrease. Also as stated this phone is rugged and it helps that the screen is coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to help with those scrapes and bumps.
Like the Galaxy S6 and forthcoming devices, Samsung has left the Qualcomm Snapdragon arena and is using its own Exynos 7 Octa 7420 processor. It comes with a nice 3GB RAM and only comes in a 32GB storage sizing. That’s one thing to think about it if you were accustomed to adding memory to your device. One thing the S6 Active has over the Galaxy S6 is its much larger battery. The S6 Active comes in at 3500 mAh where the S6 came in under 3k with 2550 mAh. With the S6 Active that extra battery life did the job and I didn’t need to run to an outlet as much.
Like the S6, the S6 Active has Wireless Charging and Quick Charging so even with a bigger battery you could get it back up to speed fairly quickly. Guaranteed to get you back in the game in a little around an hour wired while wireless of course will take a bit longer. Wireless is convenient though you are the type to always pick up your device or lose wires easily.
Not much difference in the software department between the flagship S6 and the S6 Active. Since the S6 Active doesn’t have a capacitive home button there is no ability to do fingerprint scanning which maybe a bummer to some. But there is always the other security options right? Besides that the S6 Active runs Android 5.0.2 and its version of TouchWiz isn’t as heavy either as past iterations. One feature the S6 Active has over the S6 and most other devices is the “Active Key“. It can be designated as any two apps. You can set an app for a Long Press or a Short Press. It actually comes in handy if you are addicted to Twitter or Facebook and need that instantly. The default Activity Zone has a nice array of data as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active is an AT&T exclusive so you can only test it with their network. Service is great in NYC whether making calls or using data for playing games or downloading various media. If you want to see how AT&T coverage fares in your area click here for more.
Since it’s basically a rugged S6 that means it also has one of the best cameras on a smartphone in the market. Its equipped with 16MP on the back and 5MP on the front. 4K can still be shot on the back while 2K can be used on the front view. The double tap of the Home Button still works and is even better for wet or messy fingers since its not capacitive but tactile. One camera mode you will find only on the S6 Active is “Aqua”. It dis activates the touch of the screen and gives the Active button the ability to snap photos with the Active Key. I didn’t record much video or snap too many photos but if you want to see more you can head over to the Galaxy S6 review.
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 thing and only reason you may not get one in your hands is if you aren’t a AT&T customer as that’s where it lies exclusive. If you like the Galaxy S6 but looking for something tougher and not a fan of glass give the S6 Active a chance.
Available now at ATT.com