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.


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61 Comments

63. Roegge

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 11, 2017

Great model! But a a little overpriced this days ; even for a rugged! I have seen some AGM models around with a better PPR: now the x1 18k gold edition have been released! … i have such fond memories of this phone, tho … it started my passion for rugged phones :)

60. Roegge

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 11, 2017

Still loving this one! Sadly is no more convenient anymore Right now there is some cheaper models with similar specs on the market: rigth now i m thinking on the Agm line! (specially the x1 gold edition check it out… still less than B64 euros :O )

59. SarahPumaHonorio

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 17, 2017

"Wow.. but well; those prices dont surprise me anymore Samsung is no longer the best PPR (good value for your money), i remember fondly my Galaxy Young (still working somewhere into my desk xP) ... but today the best is to got shipped some chinese ruggeds from AGM like the 18k gol edition of the x1 because this Samsng is truly overpriced :S"

61. Roegge

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 11, 2017

These were great for its time; expensive but worth it… ruggeds were rare back then: by the way! Have you seen the agm line ? They remember me this one: but since they are way cheaper the first time that my agm a8 fell down from my pocket i almost got a heartatack … but it survived without a scratch :) and now i am looking for the way to got myself a x1 18k gold edition

56. SarahPumaHonorio

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 17, 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 )

54. OscarHUGar

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

I love the ruggeds one: but Got myself a a new AGM A8 couple month ago; High PPR, and the phone get on same par with other famous brands. And sooo an affordable price for that specs :O now i m checking out the new x1 18k gold edition … good to know that the ruggeds are becaming a popular choice!

57. SarahPumaHonorio

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 17, 2017

Another one who love ruggeds… i also think ip68 should be standarized soon: but its sad and true; Sansumg has gone to the dark side with those prices... i m checking those agm ... are they really that good? I have been seeing some cool specs in the X1 gold edition for the price :O !!

62. Roegge

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 11, 2017

Okay; really: they all are great (love ruggeds,man !) and i think ip68 should be standarized soon: but Cant be happy, dude: Sansumg is no longer what it used to be (good value for money) ... it has gone to the dark side. You can buy five good ruggeds from agm with that price : x1 18k gold edition gooo xD !

52. Adriancasamontz

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 14, 2017

I love the ruggeds one: but Got myself a a new AGM A8 couple month ago; High PPR, and the phone get on same par with other famous brands. And sooo an affordable price for that specs :O now i m checking out the new x1 18k gold edition … good to know that the ruggeds are becaming a popular choice!

58. SarahPumaHonorio

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 17, 2017

68! Well, yeah , IP ratings measure the environmental protection from dirt, dust and water on various scales of intensity and prolonged exposure to the elements but you can get two AGM x1 ( even in gold 18k edition) for the price of this samsung…. And the agms got better specs :S ... is all about branding and hype and to me the S7 just dont live to the hype compared with a good phone like the x1 :(

48. dedinje

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 24, 2016

I abuse the phones I own like nobody's business and I can tell you that the battery on this phone is an absolute champ. I don't need a 2/3 day battery life with moderate use. I need to have a battery that will get me from 5am to 11:30pm with 10-20% left in the tank so I have nothing to worry about. And this phone does exactly that. I charge the phone overnight.

43. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

More Bezel = more rugged in most cases. Noob PA thats need to cry because bezel are bigger on a rugged device...

35. trqster

Posts: 177; Member since: May 17, 2013

How can Samsung make the most beautiful crafted and designed smartphone by far (S7 Edge) and at the same time make something as ugly as this "thing"!? WTF Samsung?

47. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

How can you compare a Device built for style and showing how cool you are but thats break and die at first drop. To a device built to last and dont die after even 50 drop? Its like comparing a Ferrari to a Hummer. Its question of taste as well. I personally dont like the S7 edge and S7 normal i find them to be looking too fragile. I always put heavy rugged cases on all my phone. So this phone for me look good.

32. shamrock

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Stephen, this is a joke of a review- no bench marks, no battery test, no screen test. Why did PA even allow you to publish this pathetic so called 'review'. My cat can write better reviews than this in his sleep

29. redmd

Posts: 1965; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

The only legitimate con is its exclusivity to AT&T, mkbhd and pocketnow aggrees.

25. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Well, it seems like PA is losing it.

42. Fonatic

Posts: 70; Member since: May 23, 2016

go to GSM arena if you want review, if you want to troll and bash , you are welcome here

53. Adriancasamontz

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 14, 2017

Do you remember when the rugged ones were hard to find? Hahaha… now that i have seen the agm models online i think its more affordable to have a ruggerized one and i m happy for that :O have you seen the battery on the x1 18k gold edition !? :)

24. godwhomismike

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

This review is like they played with it, reworded the press release, and did a very half-hearted write up. I hope Anandtech gets to review this phone, since PA seemed to drop the ball with this review.

19. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Less content, more ads. Yay!

17. Clars123

Posts: 1082; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

ha. Phone arena deleted my comment because I called them out for their crap battery life metric. That just proves you know it's garbage. Go ahead and delete this one too.

16. phichart

Posts: 335; Member since: May 03, 2014

I don't believe their battery life rating... they did bad rating to S7 and S7 Edge... My S7 Edge has best battery life i ever used!

34. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

Since no one takes PhoneArena's reviews seriously, that means you're normal! :)

15. redmd

Posts: 1965; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

4000 mAh and yet you were left wanting for more. I think even if it has 10000 mAh you would still want more.

11. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

PA got too lazy to even put the stats for Display, Performance, Audio output and Battery Life. Always same like S7 but just in a different body. Crap move really

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: 2704; 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.

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

Galaxy S7 Active
  • Display 5.1 inches
    2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo
    Samsung TouchWiz UI

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