If recent years have taught us anything, it's that Samsung comes forward with 'super-charged' rugged versions of its flagships on the regular. This has been the case for years, with the very first member of the ruggedized Galaxy Active family being none other than the S4 Active back in 2013. Ever since, a slightly less flashy but always more durable Active variation of the current Galaxy flagship has been making the rounds every summer, but due to its limited carrier availability, the adoption has never been as high as the device deserves.
We expect a Galaxy S9 Active to be making the rounds later this year, so let's just summarize everything we know and expect about this one at this point.
We expect the Galaxy S9 Active to not differ that much from the Galaxy S8 Active, similarly to how the S9 scored just a handful of differences in comparison with the Galaxy S8. Being a more rugged version of the regular S9, the S9 Active will certainly ditch the snazzy curved display for a flat one, employ thicker bezels for added strength, and even exaggerated cushioned corners for superior drop protection.
Galaxy S8 Active
Yes, with the leitmotif being added strength, you'd be correct to assume that the fragile glass back will be substituted for a stronger material, most likely a sturdy plastic which might not feel premium but is times more shatter-resistant than any Gorilla Glass iteration.
The Galaxy S9 is IP68 water-resistant, meaning that it can survive in up to 3ft of water for long periods of time, and it comes without saying that the S9 Active will also have this important specification covered. We assume that it will also reiterate Galaxy S8 Active's MIL-STD-810G shatter-resistance and remain unscathed after being dropped from as high as five feet. The front will most certainly feature Gorilla Glass 5, but we highly doubt that physical navigation buttons will make a return - the S8 Active ditched those for software ones, thus the Galaxy S9 Active will likely reiterate.
One key feature that we hope sticks on with the S9 Active would be the Galaxy S9's great stereo speakers, and, of course, the headphone jack as well. Truth be told, there's no reason why these shouldn't stick around, so it's pretty much a given.
Galaxy S4 Active
Galaxy S5 Active
Galaxy S6 Active
Galaxy S7 Active
Galaxy S8 Active
As far as display goes, we expect the Galaxy S9 Active to be similar to the Galaxy S9 in almost any aspect aside from the already-mentioned use of a flat display instead of a curved one.
This means that we are most certainly getting a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels and a sharp pixel density of 568ppi and most likely a screen-to body ratio of 84.36 %. Hopefully, the near-perfect color accuracy and overall properties of the display will be retained. You can read more about the intricate qualities of the display in our full review of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ right here.
We will be really surprised if the S9 Active deviates much from the tried-and-proven Snapdragon 845 formula which is powering the US-specific versions of the Galaxy S9 and S9+. This means that you will get top-notch performance. According to some benchmarks we’ve run, and to our own personal experience with using the phone and playing games on it (the Exynos-powered S9 series), the handsets generally perform quite well, as expected, perhaps leading the market for Android, but they are not iPhones yet – especially the 3D graphics performance leaves a lot to be desired.
Similarly to the Galaxy S9, the S9 Active will likely feature 4GB of RAM and feature 64 gigs of internal storage. A microSD card slot for expanded storage is As we said, pretty much similar to the Galaxy S9.
Finally, quite possibly the biggest difference between the Galaxy S9 Active and the regular S9 is the capacity of the battery. In retrospect, the Galaxy S8 Active employed a 4,000mAh unit in stark contrast with the 3,000mAh battery of the Galaxy S8, and it's only natural to expect a similar battery inside the S9 Active given that the S9 also has a 3,000mAh unit. Wireless charging will most certainly be part of the specs sheet, and the same applies to fast charging as well.
For the lack of a better alternative, the Galaxy S9 Active will likely adopt the very same 12MP rear camera with a variable F1.5/F2.4 aperture that made the rounds on the Galaxy S9. In our review we found the Galaxy S9 to be a minor improvement over the already-excellent Galaxy S8. Thus, expect super slow-mo video recording and the questionable AR emoji to make the rounds on the Galaxy S9 Active.
We don't expect the Galaxy S9+'s dual-camera setup to be making the rounds on the smaller device as the Active versions of Samsung's flagship usually follow closely into the footsteps of the regular flagship and not its Plus variation.
Price and release date
As we said at the beginning of this article, we are possibly gunning for a summer release for the Galaxy S9 Active. Last year's Galaxy S8 Active got released in July, so we are probably looking for a similar release window for its successor, too. Of course, judging by the rumors that the Galaxy Note 9 could be released earlier, we wouldn't be surprised at all if the S9 Active also comes along earlier than usual.
When it comes to availability, the device has always been carrier-exclusive in the beginning and we doubt that the S9 Active will change anything. In particular, most of Samsung's Active Galaxies have initially been available on AT&T only, arriving on T-Mobile, Sprint, and all the major online retailers at a later date. At this point, we have no reasons to believe this won't be the case this year, so prepare accordingly.
Finally, in terms of pricing, we expect the S9 Active to be price anywhere in the $800 - $850 window, which would be slightly more expensive than your regular Galaxy S9, but then again, you will be getting slightly more bang for your buck. Of course, these are only predictions on our end, so don't act surprised if things don't turn out just like that.