Samsung bills the Galaxy S7 Active as the rugged, tough big brother to the S7; one that is able to take drops to the concrete and handle liquid poured directly onto it. Memorable commercials featured rapper Lil Wayne completely dousing an S7 Edge with champagne and even submerging it in a fish tank to show the phone’s extreme water resistance. Usually, when a company is confident enough to base commercials on one feature of a product, that product is actually capable as advertised.
Updated on 07-17-2016 by Williams Pelegrin: Added Samsung’s statement in response to the report.
Based on the company’s confidence in the phone’s bravery in the face of fluids, it came as a surprise that the Galaxy S7 Active actually failed Consumer Report’s water-resistance test. Because of the failure, even though the phone passed other tests, the one failure was enough for Consumer Reports to deny the model access to its recommended model list.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S7 Active: How does the S7’s rugged sibling stack up?
Samsung advertises that the phone is designed using an engineering standard called IP68, and this should make it both dust and water resistant. Specifically, the phone is supposed to be able to operate after complete immersion in five feet of water for 30 minutes.
Consumer Reports product tests are designed to be thorough, to avoid flukes or anomalies. When a sample fails a portion of the test, the testing process requires that a second sample is run though the same test again. This process is intended as a failsafe against defective models. Unfortunately, in the case of the Galaxy S7 Active, both tested phones failed the water-resistance test.
In both cases, the phone’s screen power-cycled repeatedly after the test, and was not fully functional. Moisture was detected in the front and back cameras and in the SIM card slot. The phone was allowed to dry for two days, and still did not work properly after that period.
Consumer Reports reached out to Samsung for a comment on the failure, and the electronics giant replied that it received “very few complaints” about the phone’s water resistance, and each phone in question was still under warranty. Samsung reiterated the rugged nature of the S7 Active, and suggested to Consumer Reports that, “There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”
Interestingly enough, Samsung’s other two models in S7 line, the standard S7 and the S7 Edge, both passed the same water-resistance test, and top the Consumer Reports smartphone ratings. Samsung designed and advertised the S7 Active as the best choice for users who were hard on their phones and needed a rugged alternative.
Samsung issued a proper statement on the matter, saying the “Galaxy S7 Active passed rigorous tests to ensure IP68 certification for water resistance.” The company also said it “stands behind this water resistance certification” and will replace any water-damaged units, so long as the damage occurred under its standard limited warranty.