Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review
This year’s Galaxy S6 saw a major redesign, one that’s highly acclaimed and showed to all of us that the South Korean company knows how to design premium smartphones. While the new, premium nature of the Galaxy S6 is a new direction, it sheds one of the key design qualities offered by its predecessor – a water-resistant construction. For a moment there, we thought that water-resistant designs would become a staple feature for Sammy’s flagship line, but alas, that’s not the case.

Since the S4, however, we’ve seen Sammy introducing its Active line, which manifests in the form of ruggedized variants of its flagship phones. So, if you were bummed by the S6 forgoing a water resistant construction, then you’ll undoubtedly be pleased to find it here once again with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active. Not only that, but the phone is built like a tank – so fear not if you drop it!

There are some advantages with the Active, naturally, as well as some compromises too, which we’ll check out in detail through the review. Internally, the Active shares many of the specs of the S6, but superficially on the outside, it’s a totally different phone.

The package contains:

  • Galaxy S6 Active
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Quick start guide
  • Health & Safety and Warranty Guide

Design

Hello water and drop resistant construction, the S6 Active is designed to handle life.

At a glance, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active looks very much like last year’s model, one that shares the same tough construction. Comparing it to the S6, though, there’s no arguing that the S6 Active is meant to withstand serious punishment – whereas with the S6, its premium construction kind of makes it fragile.

Sporting that all too predictable rugged design, it’s clearly within what we’d expect out of a tough smartphone. Most of the body is comprised out of tough plastic, broken down to a rubbery textured camo back pattern and a sturdier matte frame outlining the sides. Superficially, it looks almost like an exact facsimile to last year’s Active, but this one is a closed design – so there’s no removable back cover to access its battery. Accentuating its rugged form are the screws found near the corners of the phone.

Thanks to its IP68 rating, it means that this bad boy is meant to handle nearly anything that everyday life has to throw at us. Therefore, that means it’s shock resistant, dust proof, and water resistant up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes – the essential ingredients in giving it that sturdier protection than the S6. One less thing to remember: you'll be pleased to know that Samsung has improved the design, because there’s no longer need to cover the microUSB port with a flap. Instead, you’ll notice that the port is wide open, but there’s no fear in dipping it in water because the port has been treated to be water resistant.

During our review, we dropped it onto concrete pavement by accident, resulting in some noticeable scuffs along the plastic sidings of the phone. True to its claim, it survived the fall, but the downside in this is that being pristine looking isn’t going to be on the top of the list for this one.

Aesthetically, though, it’s just a very ordinary ‘ruggedized’ looking phone just like everything else out there. Sure, Sony has perfected the recipe for designing a premium looking phone that’s water resistant, but Sammy’s stance is more form than function – and to that degree, they succeed. It won’t win any awards for design, obviously, but nevertheless, its solid construction endows it with structural integrity to withstand all the unpredicatablities of life.

Were you not a fan of those capacitive Android buttons on S6? Well, the S6 Active now employs nothing but physical Android buttons for that true, tactile response. Sadly, there’s no finger print sensor whatsoever with this, so not only is there no option for unlocking the phone via fingerprint, but it won’t benefit from Samsung Pay either. Other minor changes include a nanoSIM slot (no SIM removal tool necessary), 3.5mm headphone jack repositioned to the top edge, and the speaker placed on the back side of the phone.

At the same time, too, the S6 Active continues to offer some of the S6’s staple features – like its heart rate sensor to measure our pulse, rapid charging microUSB 2.0 port, and wireless charging. Even though there’s still no expandable storage with this, it gets greeted to an even heftier sized 3500 mAh battery. While the power button and volume controls are in their usual locations on the sides of the phone, there’s another button found above the volume controls – it’s the Active key. More on that later!


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.34 inches

146.8 x 73.4 x 8.6 mm

Weight

5.29 oz (150 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

Dimensions

5.72 x 2.89 x 0.35 inches

145 x 73 x 9 mm

Weight

6 oz (170 g)

Sony Xperia Z3+

Sony Xperia Z3+

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches

146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.34 inches

146.8 x 73.4 x 8.6 mm

Weight

5.29 oz (150 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

Dimensions

5.72 x 2.89 x 0.35 inches

145 x 73 x 9 mm

Weight

6 oz (170 g)

Sony Xperia Z3+

Sony Xperia Z3+

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches

146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Samsung has perfected the art of making gorgeous displays, and the S6 Active has so many impressive qualities about it.

Samsung hit it out of the park with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, proving to the naysayers that AMOLED displays can deliver top-quality results in all fronts. For the Galaxy S6 Active, they’ve outfitted it with the same 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 (QHD) Super AMOLED panel. By now, we know that details are astoundingly sharp with such a high pixel density count, but the top-notch qualities extend to other areas.

In particular, it follows the S6 with its true-to-life colors, spot-on color temperature, and sheer brilliance in all sorts of lighting conditions. They really didn’t mess around with the recipe, evident by its 6521K color temperature, which is only a couple steps off that ideal reference value of 6500K. Bearing that in mind, it essentially means that the display exhibits a neutral tone – neither cold nor warm. Not stopping there, it bears the quintessential qualities that are typical AMOLED, such as its wide viewing angles and perfect black color reproduction.

Speaking of color reproduction, it’s identical to the Galaxy S6, making it impressively accurate in replicating various shades. Besting its siblings, the display here in the S6 Active produces a blinding 570 nit luminance, thanks in part to its high-contrast mode kicking in when it’s used in direct sun. Overall, we have very few complaints about it, plus, its basic display mode shows it’s perfectly calibrated too – while adaptive mode adds some punchiness to the mix.



FEATURED VIDEO

56 Comments

1. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

That battery life though!

21. waddup121 unregistered

Based Samsung has done it again.

36. BobbyBoster

Posts: 43; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

One of the best smartphones available now. But of course I'm going to deny that and say that it's trash because I'm butthurt by Android.

40. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

No, real isheeps are never butt hurt by superiority of android phones. They are totally blinded by magnificence of apple, regardless of what crap comes out of cupertino.

26. junaidahmed

Posts: 103; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

ikr, note 5 will do wonders

37. Clars123

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

with that supposed 4100mAh battery..i sure hope soo

2. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Now tell me again, that having thin phone has any advantages.

3. TheStanleyFTW

Posts: 252; Member since: Feb 20, 2013

You can use it as a knife...

12. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

More like a hammer :)

23. spiderpig2894

Posts: 597; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

But remember when people always pushed manufacturers to produce thinner devices? The time when the Galaxy S2 was around. Yeah, people learn mistakes when we abuse desires.

33. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

you can use it as a bookmark :)

34. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

It makes the fanboys happy.

4. Djz89

Posts: 418; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

Great phone, but omg its ugly.

28. TezzaBP

Posts: 274; Member since: May 18, 2015

I actually love the design

44. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because rugged variants are as pretty as their non-rugged siblings?

5. SamsungEU

Posts: 147; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

at 8.6 mm the s6 active 5.1'' has 3500mAH battery while Lg G4 at 5.5'' 9.8mm has 3000mAh ,can't wait for the note 5

6. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

G4 has a subtle curve in it, most of the hardware can't curve yet. The battery has to fit in with the hardware so that's the limitation

9. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Again, nobody asked them to make curved phone, I am sure bigger battery makes more sense than curved body... Innovation should be practical, not just for the sake of being innovative

20. jmonteiro829

Posts: 256; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Although I agree with you .... the G4 feels awesome to hold in the hand. Especially with the leather back. Considering it still has 3,000mah is a good trade off.

39. Clars123

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

Actually some models of the G4 have a 2900mAh battery..

49. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

While I don't care, a lot of people like the feel and how much easier it is to hold a phone with a curved back on it.

7. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

I don't understand why the benchmarks are so scattered? Explanation? And I hope there will be a 128 gb version or it will be kinda useless..

16. ph00ny

Posts: 1945; Member since: May 26, 2011

Bad testing procedures, different versions of the benchmark, more mature rom

29. raky_b

Posts: 355; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

funny, 3 samsungs phones with SAME HW, and showing so big differences. i think they are chiting with Edgeat tests, as usually

31. ph00ny

Posts: 1945; Member since: May 26, 2011

Let's take it back. How were they cheating last time? They had the device running at max spec same way some of their software features run at max speed. Same was being applied to the benchmark apps. They certainly weren't running the hardware beyond what it was advertised as. I've said this in many of PA's articles that benchmarks should be run multiple times and discard the high and low and provide the average result of the rest

8. vuyonc

Posts: 1087; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

If they somehow managed to fit a microSD card slot with UFS 2.0, I'd be all over this beast. I'm still throwing my credit card at the screen but nothing's happening!

10. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You can throw your card at me but I cannot guarantee you will enjoy the result

15. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Indeed, sdcards are already waterproof, shockproof and radioactivity proof or whatever u call that. Double protection = tru rugged phone (protecting data is important right?)

11. redmd

Posts: 1871; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I think this should have been given a higher score. It's an S6 with a permanent Otterbox / extended battery. The cons are not that big of an issue.

13. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

Am I the only who wants this more than the S6 and S6 Edge? This smartphone, in my honest opinion, is a God Sent. If my current phone were to be unusable, I have no doubt of buying this phone.
Galaxy S6 Active
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 3500 mAh

Latest Stories