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Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: AT&T
Manufacturer: Samsung

What's Hot: Water and dust resistant. Rugged but not overly bulky or heavy. Significantly higher battery capacity than GS6 standard models.

What's Not: Just like the standard GS6, no removable battery or microSD card slot.


Reviewed June 23, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)


Last year's Samsung Galaxy S5 Active didn't make a whole lot of sense. Why make a water and dust resistant variant of the Galaxy S5 when that phone was already water and dust resistant? Sure you got the more rugged casing to withstand drops and bumps, but you could just buy a rugged case for the GS5. Fast-forward to 2015 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are designer phones with glass fronts and backs. They're not resistant to anything. So this year's Galaxy S6 Active makes a whole lot of sense. Exclusive to AT&T in the US, the Active meets U.S. Mil-STD-810G for water-resistance and to withstand dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, humidity, and high altitude. It's submersible up to 1.5 m of water for up to 30 minutes. It's also shock-resistant when dropped from less than or equal to 4 feet onto a flat surface according to Samsung. We dropped it from waist high onto a hardwood floor and it survived unscathed.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

The Galaxy S6 Active's specs aren't watered down in the least, and you get every bit of GS6 goodness here. We won't go over all the details since it is identical in terms of CPU, RAM, display, cameras, wireless and (lack of) memory expandability. If you haven't already, check out our review of the standard Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge to learn about display, performance and more. The Active's battery is sealed inside, just like the Galaxy S6, so some of you might still opt for last year's Galaxy S5 Active if that's a deal breaker. But wait a moment: the Galaxy S6 Active has a much larger battery--3500 mAh, vs. the 2550 mAh battery in the standard issue GS6. So you're gaining nearly 30% more runtime with the Active, which in our tests translated into 2 hours more screen on time. That might offset the desire for a removable battery. What else is different from the standard S6? It has hardware front buttons rather than capacitive (because capacitive buttons don't work well when wet), there's no fingerprint scanner and it's available in just one storage capacity (32 gigs).

Specs and Features

The phone runs Android 5 Lollipop with Samsung's TouchWiz software on the 2.1 GHz Exynos 7420 octa-core CPU. It has 3 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of internal storage but no microSD card slot. It has a lovely and bright 5.1" Super AMOLED QHD, 2560 x 1440 display, dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and GPS. The display is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The phone has the same 16MP rear and front 5MP cameras as the Samsung Galaxy S6, and that rear camera is one of the best you'll find on a phone. The phone supports Qi wireless charging and quick charging (a quick charger is in the box).

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Rugged Design

I won't make fun of the Galaxy S6 Active's looks. It's a rugged phone and clearly it won't look like the glass and aluminum design masterpiece that is the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. Everyone appreciates good looks and slim designs, but if you're a plumber, landscaper, work in construction or are out in the oil fields, good looks go only so far. The Active is certainly slimmer, lighter and better looking than an S6 in a seriously rugged accessory case (no offense to Otterbox). The phone is available in camo white, gray (with a blue camo pattern) or all black for those of you who aren't cool with the camouflage statement. It's not an ungainly phone, and honestly Samsung doesn't make thick phones. It's heavier than the standard S6 at 5.29 ounces, but not what I'd call a heavy smartphone. It's a little thicker and has a slightly larger footprint than the standard S6. The corners are molded hard plastic to withstand drops and bangs, and the ports are waterproofed so there's no need for annoying rubber covers.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Activity Zone

Like the Galaxy S5 Active, the S6 Active has Samsung's genuinely useful Activity Zone app. You can launch it using the dedicated left side button. That button can launch another app of your choice when you long press it, and you can assign a different app to the short press. Activity Zone has panes for weather, S Health, compass, barometer, stopwatch and a switch to turn on the flash light. It also promotes Samsung's Milk streaming music service, where you can pick different music stations for running, weight lifting and more.

Deals and Shopping:


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Video Review


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active


The Galaxy S6 Active is one of the fastest Android phones on the market. It slightly outperformed the standard S6 that we benchmarked at launch, thanks to firmware updates and tweaks post-release.

  Quadrant 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test (lower is better)
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active 38,288 25,318 62,336 353 (webkit)/1074 (Chrome)
Samsung Galaxy S6 33,355 21,160 61,873 420 (webkit)/1025 (Chrome)
Samsung Galaxy S5 23,643 18,329 35,357 398
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 24,327 19,667 46,912 425
HTC One M9 33,733 22,168 53,582 852
LG G4 23,730 18,655 46,043 760
LG G Flex 2 26,390 22,644 49,344 730
LG G3 24,385 18,708 36,525 425
Nexus 6 13,595 23,520 49,961 795
Motorola Droid Turbo 22,709 20,735 48,332 795
Moto X (2nd gen) 22,170 19,924 44,340 776
Sony Xperia Z3 21589 16,135 35,008 837
Nexus 5 8808 17,828 27,017 718
Samsung Galaxy S4 12,276 11,601 24,776 826

Geekbench 3: 1502/5437



If you're a klutz or work in a field where rugged devices make sense, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active is a no-brainer. You get all the goodness of the S6, from super performance to a fantastic Super AMOLED QHD display to one of the best cameras on the market, in a dust, water and drop-resistant package. Our only caveat is that like the standard S6, the Active's battery is sealed inside. S5 Active owners looking to upgrade may miss the removable battery, though the S6 Active's big 3500 mAh battery ameliorates that.

Price: $695 full retail, $199 with 2 year contract


Related Reviews:

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Review

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Review

Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport Review


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Directly above: the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Active.

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Display: 5.1" Super AMOLED display. Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (577 PPI). Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: 3500 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 2.1 GHz Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core CPU with Mali T-760 graphics. 3 gigs LPDDR4 RAM. 32 gigs UFS 2.0 internal storage.

Size: 5.78 x 2.89 x 0.34 inches. Weight: 5.29 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with EDGE 2G, 3G and 4G LTE.

Camera: 5MP front camera and rear 16MP camera with OIS and 4K video recording.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, NFC and Bluetooth 4.1.

Software: Android OS 5.0.2 Lollipop with Samsung TouchWiz UI and apps.

Expansion: USB host (requires micro USB to USB OTG host adapter).


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