Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Active takes a bruising without looking like a bruiser


We all have that one friend who can’t keep their phone out of dangerous situations. Whether it’s the toilet, the ocean, or the pavement; Samsung’s shiny new Galaxy S7 isn’t going to last long in your friend’s hands. Luckily, now there’s a more rugged version in town. Meet the Galaxy S7 Active.

Although most of its specs are the same as the ones you’d find on the regular S7, the Active does offer a few major benefits and and entirely new rugged design. We spent sometime with the Galaxy S7 Active during a press event in New York. Here are our first impressions and all the info you need to know about the new Galaxy.

Samsung’s Active phones are known for its rugged aesthetic, but they typically share a lot in common with their flagship brothers. The S7 Active is intended for people who want a tough phone — one that can withstand drops and even be submerged underwater. The standard Galaxy S7 is uncommonly fragile and sexy looking with its metallic finish, sleek glass back, and all-metal frame. It positively sparkles in the light. In contrast, the S7 Active is rugged and tough, yet more attractive and less bulky looking than previous Active models.

It measures 9.9mm thick, which is chunky for a phone these days, but it more or less looks like a Galaxy S7 with a rugged case on it. Funnily enough, it’s actually a bit thicker and heavier than the S6 Active, but not by much. The reason why it appears less bulky has more to do with the smooth flat back, which doesn’t have any of the ridges that were found on the S6 Active. A  new gold color option also makes the phone seem less masculine and chunky. Black and camo versions look tougher, like previous Active phones.

The front of the phone is smooth and looks just like the regular S7, except for the three tactile hardware buttons on the front, and the glass is shatter resistant. Since you may be using the Active underwater or with wet hands, the multitasking and back buttons are physical instead of being triggered by touch. The buttons have a nice texture to them, so you can differentiate them from the home button, which is equipped with a fingerprint sensor.

An extra hardware button on the left side brings up the Activity Zone, where you can see all your fitness stats, elevation, and a compass. A volume rocker is right below it, and the power button is on the right side with the MicroSD card slot.

The Galaxy S7 has a water-resistance rating of IP68, which is the same as the Galaxy S6 Active, and equates to the ability to survive under 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. It also boasts the same military-grade (MIL-STD-810G) rating as the Galaxy S6 Active. Although Samsung didn’t boast too much about it’s ability to withstand drops, the Galaxy S7 Active’s shatter resistant screen and shock absorbing corners should help weather falls better than a standard S7.

When it comes to hard specs, the Galaxy S7 Active is more or less the same as the regular S7. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which is expandable via MicroSD to 200GB.

The processor and RAM aren’t the only device specs that will impress. The battery sits at a hefty 4,000mAh, up from the 3,500mAh battery found in last year’s device. It boasts Quick Charging and wireless charging. That will almost certainly translate to better battery life, as the display for the phone is the same. The display will be 5.1-inches with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels.

The Galaxy S7 Active has the same great 12-megapixel camera with dual-pixel tech as the S7, which improves low-light photography. Like the S6 Active, the S7 Active has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Assuming these two cameras perform as well as the ones on the regular S7, they’ll be truly stellar.

As far as software goes, the Galaxy S7 will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box with TouchWiz on top.

AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the Galaxy S7 Active. It’s available on June 10, and you can buy it a variety of ways. It costs $795 full price for the 32GB model. With AT&T Next installments, the phone starts at $26.50 a month or AT&T Next Every Year at $33.13. You can, of course choose from AT&T’s many installment plan options.

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