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 (Average)
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 7h 18 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active 113
Samsung Galaxy S7 88
HTC 10 100
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 99


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.


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


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

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User Rating:

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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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