Samsung Galaxy S7 active Review

Call Quality



Perhaps as much a test of AT&T's network as the Galaxy S7 active's hardware itself, phone call quality was quite acceptable, maintaining strong voice fidelity right up until that point when a one-bar call became a no-bar call. Even when losing connectivity briefly, things sounded good right up until the end, and audio quality didn't betray the weak signal. That's especially nice to see for a phone whose use cases suggest it will often be taken out on the fringes of coverage as its owners engage in all their “Active” pursuits.

Battery Life

Big potential meets big appetites

The “Galaxy S Active” name isn't just synonymous with rugged, water-resistant construction – it also spells bigger batteries. And while that was true for last year's Galaxy S6 Active with its 3,500 mAh battery, this year Samsung's outdoing itself with a hefty 4,000 mAh component.

All that capacity isn't much good if it's a pain to keep topped off, but Samsung helps by giving the phone not only a bundled quick charger (which it says can fully charge things in under two hours), but also wireless charging support, making picking up some extra power as easy as setting the GS7 active down on your desk.

The only problem is just how thirsty the smartphone is for that juice, and even without the phone being pushed particularly hard we noticed battery life slipping away faster than we'd expect. You should still manage to get through a solid day of operation without breaking too much of a sweat, but it's a little disappointing that a battery this size isn't a guarantee of multi-day power.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active 11h 2 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S7 6h 37 min (Average)
HTC 10 7h 10 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 7h 18 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active 113
Samsung Galaxy S7 88
HTC 10 100
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 99

Conclusion

Samsung delivers in a big way, but will we be buying?

Samsung's Galaxy S Active phones have long held their own against the mainstream Galaxy S handsets, and that's more true this year than ever before. With performance that's right on par with the Galaxy S7, the same killer features like that incredible camera, and not having to sacrifice things like its fingerprint scanner, the Galaxy S7 active delivers without giving too much away in the process.

But trade-offs there are, and this is a phone that's both bulkier than the GS7, not to mention more expensive: with a full retail price of just under $800, the S7 active comes in about $100 pricier than its non-rugged relative.

Is that $100 worth a bigger battery and a shatter-resistant display? That's going to depend on several factors, from how much you love the handset's style and color options, to just how favorably you view AT&T (and its network). Considering the stock GS7 is water-resistant this year, there are bound to be users who would rather slap an impact-absorbing case on a regular Galaxy S7.

But those who do chose to take the GS7 active route aren't likely to feel let down by their decision. Maybe the phone's chief failure is that it could do even more to distinguish itself from the GS7, but with a bigger battery, more robust hardware, and little in the way of compromises, this is one upgrade that's seriously worth your consideration.



Pros

  • Tough, rugged construction
  • Top-shelf processor and memory
  • Superb camera
  • Highly versatile software

Cons

  • Not for the style-concscious
  • Battery life leaves something to be desired
  • Pricier than the regular GS7
  • AT&T exclusive

PhoneArena Rating:

8.7

User Rating:

9.0
1 Reviews

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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: 1921; 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: 1921; 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: 2698; 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: 2698; 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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