Samsung Galaxy S6 Active review: The triathlete

Once again its June and time for Samsung to present us with a rugged version of its latest range-topping smartphone. This year, once more exclusively for AT&T, it is Samsung Galaxy S6 Active that enters the spotlight with camouflage livery, gobs of tech, and tough build.

For a second year in a row, Samsung has made sure that the Galaxy S6 Active is not simply a rugged version of the incumbent flagship by adding unique features to it. Last year, the Korean giant added a customizable shortcut button for quick access to an Activity app.

This year, in addition to the above feature, Samsung Galaxy S6 Active also packs a massive 3,500mAh battery. The latter is roughly 40% larger than the 2,550mAh unit found in the regular model and promises to be a boon for the device’s target audience.

Key features

  • MIL-STD-810G certification for salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock resistance
  • IP68 certification for dust and water resistance (submersible up to 1.5 m of water for up to 30 minutes)
  • 5.1″ Super AMOLED of QHD (1440 x 2560) resolution, class-leading ~577ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Exynos 7420 64-bit chipset, octa-core processor with four 2.1GHz Cortex-A57’s and four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores, Mali-T760 MP8 GPU, 3GB of RAM
  • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz UX
  • 16MP camera, f/1.9 aperture, 4K video recording, LED flash, optical image stabilization
  • 5MP front-facing camera, f/1.9 aperture, QHD video, HDR
  • 32GB of built-in UFS 2.0 storage
  • Active noise cancellation via dedicated mic
  • Customizable shortcut button
  • LTE Cat.6, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, IR port, Bluetooth 4.1, ANT+
  • Heart-rate sensor, barometer, SpO2
  • 3,500mAh battery; wireless charging (Qi/PMA)
  • No price premium over the regular model (on AT&T)

Main disadvantages

  • Available with only 32GB of onboard memory
  • No microSD card slot
  • Battery is not user-replaceable
  • No stereo speakers
  • No fingerprint sensor
  • Available only for AT&T (at least for now)
  • Gobs of carrier bloatware preinstalled
  • Not exactly a looker

As you can see above, Samsung Galaxy S6 Active is the same technological powerhouse as its regular sibling, but with with added water, shock and dust resistance. After a quick glance, some might even argue that the newcomer is the pick in the Galaxy S6 range thanks to its aforementioned quality and the massive 3,500mAh battery.

Limited availability and memory capacity are the handset’s biggest drawbacks at a quick glance, though Samsung might remedy both should it decide to launch an global variant of the device. The lack of fingerprint sensor is arguably another downer, though the target audience for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active will likely appreciate the sturdier navigation buttons better.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Active official photos

As always, we are going to kick the review off with unboxing, followed by our take on the design and build. Head over to the next page for a closer look at the Samsung S6 Active and its camouflage outfit.

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