Introduction


Samsung's ruggedized cousin to its flagship Galaxy S smartphone has more to prove this year than ever. With the Galaxy S7 returning to a water-resistant body and picking up a larger 3,000 mAh battery, is there still a market for a separate Galaxy S7 active? Samsung thinks it can convince us of as much, and between no-compromise performance and the inclusion of hardware features that have historically skipped past Active models, the manufacturer's pulling out all the stops with this year's Galaxy S7 active. Let's see just how successful it's managed to be.

In the box:

  • Galaxy S7 active
  • Micro USB cable
  • Fast charging adapter
  • Warranty
  • Quick-start guide
  • SIM tray ejector

Design

Can't be a rugged phone if you don't look the part

The Galaxy S7 active's design, unlike that of the S7, doesn't count on aesthetically pleasing qualities, but purely practical ones. Really, the first thing users should feel when gazing upon the handset is a sense of security, its layout simply oozing reliability. And largely, Samsung succeeds. The phone's bulky plastic exterior has the appearance of a rubberized bumper, though to the touch the material is much firmer; it feels like a smartphone bonded to a relatively high-end case. Thankfully, it's not quite plastic all over, and the presence of metal edges up and down the phone's sides remind us that we're still dealing with a premium flagship-level handset.


Those metal flourishes continue around back, protecting the GS7 active's main camera (and to a lesser extent, its flash/sensor package), but around here in particular, plastic dominates. The handset's textured back panel means well, but it doesn't quite succeed in providing the sort of grip that would really keep our mind at ease. Considering the extra bulk the phone has over its non-Active namesake, that's a bit of a problem, leaving users to balance the extra durability against the perception that the GS7 active's threatening to slip from their fingers.

Looking past that, Samsung's built the phone solidly enough, and plenty of pleasantly clicky buttons – from the hardware Android trio to the special Active Key – all manage to feel responsive and reliable. You've got your choice of three color options for the handset, and while the green camo look isn't going to be for everyone, the more neutral titanium gray and sandy gold shades offer some more professional-appearing alternatives.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Dimensions

5.86 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches

148.8 x 75.0 x 9.9 mm

Weight

6.53 oz (185 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

HTC 10

HTC 10

Dimensions

5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches

145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm

Weight

5.68 oz (161 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Dimensions

5.86 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches

148.8 x 75.0 x 9.9 mm

Weight

6.53 oz (185 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

HTC 10

HTC 10

Dimensions

5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches

145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm

Weight

5.68 oz (161 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

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



Display

A familiar screen does itself one better with shatter-resistance

The Galaxy S7 active doesn't stray far from the GS7 itself, with another 5.1-inch AMOLED display in the same quad-HD 1440 x 2560 resolution. But while the screen looks as detailed and rich as you'd find on Samsung's other GS7 models, for the Active we pick up extra protection in the form of a shatter-resistant panel. We're not about to test this one to the point of failure, but Samsung says to expect protection for drops up to five feet in height, and independent evaluations have turned out quite favorably for the phone's resiliency.

Maybe our biggest complaint about the phone's screen is that it isn't quite the space-filling impressive panel of the GS7, as the Active model's added bulk results in a bit more pronounced bezel around the display. That's a minor issue, though, and one largely outweighed by the display's many positives, including the useful always-on mode with time, date, and charge details.


FEATURED VIDEO

61 Comments

1. Rydsmith unregistered

This seems like a very very poor battery test that doesn't give metrics of any kind.

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

This review was half assed. Where's the battery benchmarks? Display figures? Audio output? Seriously PA?

26. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Samsung was like "Hey PA you wouldn't mind giving this mediocre phone a good review? Ill sponsor your team on your next trip to MWC and CES" PA: Is a 8.7 good? I'll drop LG and Sony's ratings while we're at it. Samsung: Fair enough. Ill send TechieXP and PapaSmurf to give good comments too.

27. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

I'd wait for Phonescoop and Pocketnow's reviews. Hopefully it'll be reviewed on Anandtech as well. TrustedReviews is decent but they also don't have much metrics on it.

36. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

phonearena is known for their lack luster reviews. They outsource them to 3rd world countries who never saw a smartphone in real life.

30. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

So Phonescoop has a review up on the S7 Active and it seems that the vibration motor is stronger, louder speakers, screen works when wet and the battery can go 36 hours with their version of heavy usage, 2 days on light usage.

39. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I've been team iPhone for almost two years now and people still think I'm a die hard Samsung fan lolololololol.

49. Kumar123 unregistered

Really shows how much a samsung asskisser you are in the comment section. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

50. matherchodmaherk

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 15, 2015

Yeah, PapaSmurf is trash. A trash Samsung employee.

37. QWERTYphone

Posts: 654; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

$800 ???? LMFAO This might be the best phone of 2016, but it's not worth a penny more than $399 for new retail.

40. Fonatic

Posts: 70; Member since: May 23, 2016

ifones are not worth a penny more than 49 cents!!!!!!!!

2. Kumar123 unregistered

This phone is insanely ugly and overpriced. Definitely the ugliest phone of 2016. Plus it's so called militery grade protection is a joke. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNuUrh9TI-o Look at this video, even simple keys can scratches the screen. LOL. regular S7 is better buy.

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

of course it can scratch.. its just a plastic!!! if you want scratch-resistant glass, go GS7 or other phone with gorilla glass, and it will 100% scatter on 1 meter face-down drop.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gdx37VDbmA we're talking about shatter-proof screen here, which is more required for rugged phone (if you insist about scratch, just slap some tampered glass on it)

55. OscarHUGar

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

I Do remember when the rugged ones were a rarity! Hahaha… to me the waaay cheaper-and now better- AGM chinese models online are the way to go :) .. but this was a decent device tho its price but ll prefer to get an x1 18k gold edition xP ( i know: demanding xD )

8. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

But you can drop it 50 times without cracking the screen. A 5 dollar screen protector can prevent the scratches. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gdx37VDbmA

18. Unordinary unregistered

Thats YOUR opinion. I think it looks good. What do you expect? Some high end designer product to bring out in the wild/snorkeling/hiking/snowboarding/etc????

31. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I also think it looks good. Maybe if he's a soldier, he would whine about a tank not looking like an Aston Martin.

44. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

You can hit thats phone with hammer and drop it its wont break. Take a normal S7 its will shatter. Even a small crack and S7 screen die. Different phone for different need i would take the S7 active over any other S7 any day because for me a screen thats scratch but dont break is far from an issue... Tempered glass screen protector anyone? Ugly? maybe for you it is but personally i always put big rugged cases on my phones so if its built in why not? Overpriced there i agree with you should be 699$ max.

3. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

First one to comment, wee! BTW, lets see how it "stack-up" against The Samsung Galaxy S7 "Lazy"... Or perhaps; "Passive"...??? Edit: Third one to comment... Come-on, why people can't see an old man happy these days, eh?

7. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Man... Sucks you didn't get first. I was hoping you would. +1 for effort.

22. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

Are you Irish? I read all of your comments in an Irish accent. Idk why.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

those cons is a joke, lol.. cant you find more proper down-side of this phone?

12. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

AT&T exclusive is a legitimate con

33. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

I'd say AT&T are the worst carrier in the US at updating their phones.

6. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

so you are telling me that you are using a test that ranks the normal iphone 6s higher than the s7 in battery life while every other review says otherwise ? , and u deducted more than one point for style and price ? I don't understand how can you do a review of a phone without keeping in mind the reason why this phone exists ....

9. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@AgentZero The cons are fair enough; in my humble opinion: 1. Not for the style-concscious True indeed... It looks fugly; specially the back... 2. Battery life leaves something to be desired I'm not sure about it; but if its true then its indeed pathetic... One naturally expects 2-Days from such an enormous juicer... Just 1 Day is indeed pathetic... iPhone 6S Plus; which has a much MUCH smaller battery; can last 2 days and yet it has a larger and relatively more hungry IPS Display... 3. Pricier than the regular GS7 Another fair point... You get an ugly duckling that costs more than the regular 'lazy' Galaxy S7... And all it has over 'regular' 'non-active' S7 is a bigger battery & shatter proof display... Do you think its worth it??? 4. AT&T exclusive: Some people hate AT&T, just Google it... But since I'm not a Yankee; I can't possibly comment on this... SO WHAT "EXACTLY" ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT HERE, I WONDER???

20. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

Well 1 . This a phone made for people that drop their phones alot . So its not made to be stylish and you cant rank it for that . 2.when the galaxy s6 gets a close battery score to the s7 and the iphone 6s gets more than both then the battery benchmark is messed up 3.bigger battery and waaaay more protection ... what do you expect ? Check phonebuff drop test 4. AT&T exclusive is a real con so i agree with this

21. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Eh yes you can. Droid Turbo 2 and Moto Z Force are for people who drop their phones. both have QHD displays, top-tier Dragons, high capacity batteries and neither needs a fake camouflage paint-job and both look positively attractive.

23. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

There is a defference between a shatershield display and military grade protection. Anti heat -dust-wtar etc

28. godwhomismike

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

I wish someone would use Waze as a battery test. I had the battery replaced on my iPhone 5S, and Waze can kill the battery in 2-3 hours using it as GPS on battery mode.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Galaxy S7 Active
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh

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