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Galaxy S7 Active hands-on: The perfect smartphone for the great outdoors

by Todd Haselton | June 6, 2016June 6, 2016 6:31 am PDT

Samsung just announced the Galaxy S7 Active, a new rugged Android smartphone that will be sold on AT&T beginning on June 10. I’ve been using it for the past few days and I think it’s going to be my go-to smartphone this summer. It’s rugged, living up to the activities I throw at it, but also not too bulky.

You’ll get all of the features you dig in the Galaxy S7, including a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP camera, wireless charging and a fingerprint reader. You’ll also get a slightly larger 4,000mAh battery. Samsung kept the same IP68 rating of the Galaxy S7 but applied a MIL-SPEC 810G shell to the Galaxy S7 Active, which means it can withstand the drops that a Galaxy S7 can’t always survive.

I got to see this ruggedness first hand this weekend. I took my bike out for a quick ride and, right as I was getting started, my headphones yanked the Galaxy S7 Active from my pocket, tossing it right at the ground. It survived, but I’m not sure I could have said the same about my Galaxy S7 Edge, at least if I didn’t have a case on it. I’m also enjoying the water resistance, keeping the Galaxy S7 Active in the shower for some post-workout music. You can do that with the Galaxy S7, too, since it has the same IP68 rating.

The phone is a bit bulky, though not cumbersome. It’s still easy to hold and still easy to slide into a pair of jeans. I also liked that I didn’t feel like I had to worry too much when I left it in the grass playing music while I was working in the garden over the weekend, or while I was sending a text message with muddy hands. The camera was perfect for snapping shots of the flowers, too. It’s the same sensor in the Galaxy S7, so I won’t revisit that again. Just know it rocks.

I’m compelled to take the Galaxy S7 Active out on my kayak soon. I’m curious to see how well that MIL-SPEC 810G rating works with salt water exposure. Salt water and electronics don’t mix, but the MIL-SPEC 810G rating suggests the Galaxy S7 Active should live to see another day.

I’m really loving the phone so far, and you can pick one up for yourself from AT&T starting on June 10. Stick around for my full review, when I’ll discuss how well it held up to the kayak ride and more.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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