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JUL 03

POSTED BY: Akatech Solutions | | DATE: July 03, 2016. | Source: gsmarena

This post was first posted in Gsmarena.


We're already used to seeing Samsung release an 'Active' version of its current Galaxy S flagship. The Samsung galaxy s7 active is the latest in the series and it has been released exclusively to AT&T as it's also become customary. If history should serve as any reference, the model would likely not see availability outside the stable of this particular US carrier.

The S7 active has a much larger 4,000mAh battery inside. (by contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 3,000mAh battery) Compared to the vanilla S7, there's also the extra physical key on the phone's side which takes you directly to an "Activity Zone" app, which is exclusive to the Active model.

Samsung Galaxy S7 active Key Features

• Built to comply to the MIL-STD-810G standard with increased salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport, and thermal shock resistance

• IP68 certified - dust proof and water resistant up to 30 minutes in 5 feet of water

• 5.1" Super AMOLED QHD (1440 x 2560) resolution, Gorilla Glass 4, shatter proof for falls of up to 5 feet high onto a flat surface

• Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 - dual-core 2.15 GHz Kyro & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kyro w/ Adreno 530

• 4GB of RAM; 32GB of built-in storage, microSD up to 256GB

• Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Touchwiz UI

• 12MP camera, f/1.7 aperture, 1,4micron pixel size, phase-detection diodes at every pixel in the sensor, 4K video recording, LED flash, optical image stabilization

• 5MP front-facing camera, f/1.7 aperture, QHD video, HDR

• Fingerprint sensor

• LTE Cat.9, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, IR port, Bluetooth 4.2, ANT+

• Heart-rate sensor, barometer, SpO2 sensor

• 4,000mAh battery ; wireless charging

• FM Radio

Main disadvantages

• Thicker than most of today's flagships (duh!)

• Exclusive to AT&T with lots of carrier bloatware

• No Samsung Gear VR compatibility

Below are some side pictures of the Samsung Galaxy S7 active

Galaxy S7 active: Sandy Gold • Green Camo • Titanium Gray

As for pricing, the premium for the Active model is just $100, which means it costs the same as the Galaxy S7 edge model in the US. So are the added features of the Galaxy S7 active worth this sort of premium? Read on and we'll find out together.


While the Galaxy S7's box was dark with shiny letters, AT&T's exclusive phone has average looking packaging. We feel AT&T missed on the opportunity to capitalize on the rugged nature of phone when designing the box.

Anyway, it's what's inside that counts so let's dig in right away. The box opens like a lid, and you're greeted by the Galaxy S7 active. Once that's out, lifting the top layer of packaging reveals some documentation and warranty info. Just under that are a charger block, micro-USB cable, and SIM tool which can be hooked to a key ring if you ever need to pop out the SIM and microSD tray.

Phone's box and contents

The charger block is the same Adaptive Fast Charger that Samsung has been packing with its phones since the Note 4. The Adaptive Fast Charger and any Quick Charge 2.0 charger can usually be used interchangeably.

Something that Samsung has also been doing since the Galaxy S7 is bundling an OTG adapter for using with Smart Switch, Samsung's own app for transferring files from your old device. You can plug your old phone into the adapter and transfer photos, contacts, and it even works with iOS and it'll download all your stuff directly from your iCloud if you'd like.

Hardware and design.

The Galaxy S7 active is perhaps not as attractive as some other flagship phones, but that's not what the active is about. Taking cues from its predecessors, the Galaxy S7 active is designed for ruggedness and endurance.

The Galaxy S7 active measures 148.8 x 74.9 x 9.9 mm (5.86 x 2.95 x 0.39 in) and weighs in at the hefty 185g but that's fine considering the extra battery capacity. When you pick the phone up, it feels lighter than its volume would suggest. Granted, it's significantly chunkier than the S7 (whose glass and metal build is much denser).

The S7 active takes cues directly from the S7 but comes with a completely redesigned chassis as is usual for the Active series. The most apparent differences upon first glance are the three hardware buttons in the front whereas the S7 only has one physical home button while the Back and Recents keys are capacitive touch keys.

Galaxy S7 active • All buttons are physical keys

The design of the buttons has changed from previous active generations as well. Where every other model had buttons that were adjacent, the S7 active leaves a bit of space between the pill-shaped buttons, likely due to the introduction of the fingerprint sensor into the central key. In previous Active models, the fingerprint scanner was left out, even though both the Galaxy S5 and S6 had fingerprint scanners themselves.

The bezels on our Gold unit have a texture under the glass that's different from the standard S7's which is a shiny solid gold. The S7 active has more of a striped look to it when inspecting it up close. Samsung says this was a cosmetic choice to achieve visual appeal.

Galaxy S7 active: left side • closeup of the bumper

The layout of the S7 active is a bit different than that of the Galaxy S7. The headphone jack is on the top instead of the bottom; the SIM tray is on the right side just about half way along the edge while the S7 has it on the top next to the noise canceling mic. And finally, the two volume keys on the S7 are replaced with a single volume rocker and just over it is the Activity button. We'll come back to that button further into the review.

Various keys: active key and volume rocker • power button

The keys themselves are borderline "too sensitive" and are prone to accidental presses if you are not careful.

The bottom and top of the S7 active is made of some kind of really dense rubber that has almost zero give. The way to describe how it feels would be somewhere between rubber and matte plastic. This material is what covers every corner of the device and it's perhaps meant to absorb lots of shock. If you look close enough, however, you can see the seams from the molding process, which is not quite fit for a flagship device.

Top and bottom views

This bumper-like material reinforces a metal frame which holds the screen in place as well as the buttons and SIM/microSD card slot on either lateral side of the phone. This frame also helps the phone to dissipate heat since the back plate is made of polycarbonate plastic.

Rear view • Camera close-up

The back plate on our gold model sports an intricate pattern that aesthetically gives the device more depth VS a satin finish. This texture also aids in gripping the back of the phone thanks to the gold finish that has the same rubber/matte feel as the bumpers. The back of the phone features the same camera setup found on the Galaxy S7: A 12MP camera with LED flash and heart rate sensor.

Unlike the S7, this camera setup is recessed into the body to protect the camera lens from shattering in the event of a direct impact with a flat surface. It's also worth noting that Samsung kept the LED notification on the Active model in the same location as the S7, to the left of the earpiece setup which includes the light and proximity sensors, along with the wide-angle 5MP camera.


The Galaxy S7 active has the same Super AMOLED 5.1 inch 1440p (1440 x 2560px @~577ppi) as the standard Galaxy S7 does. Colors are vibrant and lines are crisp. Samsung claims the Galaxy S7 active is shatter proof for drops of up to 5 feet high onto flat surface, and it looks like Samsung was able to do it without sacrificing screen quality.

We've performed the same display tests as on the Galaxy S7 to see if the Active version's display performs just as well as the standard model it originates from.

We're happy to see the Galaxy S7 active exceeds our expectations for a display of this kind. The display's assembly uses the same Gorilla Glass 4 as the S7 proper, but the S7 active has a layer of polycarbonate that is invisible to users. This is what provides that extra level of shatter protection that has been proven to work and can be seen in various videos on the interwebs.

We are happy to report that this display is even brighter than the S7's panel. On top of that, the screen goes into overdrive when exposed to even brighter sunlight as long as you have the Auto brightness ticked ON.

The same S7 active panel goes just about as dim as the Galaxy S7 at 2.3 nits. Night owls who like to do some late night activity will be happy to know they won't be blinded by the screen at night.

As far as color accuracy goes, the GalaxyS7 active (much like the S7) is most accurate when using the Basic profile under the display settings. While these colors look more washed out than the default Adaptive profile, they are better representative of real-life colors. The Average Delta E comes out to just 1.2 where the Adaptive profile produces an average Delta E of 5.


Just because the Galaxy S7 active is an AT&T excusive device, doesn't mean it's missing too many LTE bands. The device runs on AT&T's LTE network and is compatible with its VoLTE network. It supports LTE bands: 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 20(800), 29(700), 30(2300), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500). AT&T's bands are shown in blue.

GSM 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 are supported while the S7 active's 3G bands are HSDPA 850, 1900, and 2100. HSPA speeds reach theoretical 42.2Mbps download speeds and 5.76Mbps upload speeds. LTE speeds are Cat9 @ 450Mbps down and 50 Mbps up.

The SIM card tray accepts one nano-SIM card and one microSD card up to 256GB. To save space, the SIM/SD slot was designed with two sides and caught us off guard at first. Pulling the tray out, we expected it to be a long one with two spaces, rather, the tray is like a coin. Two-sided, the microSD card goes on the front side of the tray and the nano-SIM on the rear side.

Other connections include Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, aptX), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, GPS with A-GPS GLONASS, NFC, FM Radio, and uses a microUSB 2.0 QuickCharge 2.0, and OTG support.

Battery life.

The Galaxy S7 active has a whopping 33% larger battery over the vanilla S7 model (4,000mAh vs 3,000mAh). The Galaxy S active models have traditionally had larger batteries over their regular models which Samsung believes is necessary for the active consumer. The Galaxy S7 active is surely going to last you, a long time.

Samsung didn't skip out on quick-wireless charging for the active model, and it also features Quick charge 2.0. From a completely depleted battery, the Galaxy S7 charged up from 0% to 37% in 30 minutes. Keep in mind this is a larger capacity battery, so older claims of half battery in half an hour are further out of reality's reach.

While the Galaxy S6 active broke the 100h mark in our battery scores last year, this isn't necessarily the case with the S7 active this year despite the bigger battery. If Samsung chose to opt for the Exynos 8890 CPU all across the board (as North American variants of the S7 are all powered by the Snapdragon 820), it may have been able to beat last year's S6 active score of a whopping 109h overall.

The Galaxy S7 active scored 96h overall, which is still quite impressive. By contrast, the Galaxy S7 (Exynos 8890 variant) scored 80h overall in the same battery tests. Always-On Display is enabled by default, which knocks the score down to 70h overall.

Since its launch, the AOD setting has been optimized and now allows you to schedule times to activate it. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on how long you keep the phone out of your pocket and whether you have the feature on to begin with.

Like the S7, our browsing test scored significantly lower than the video test. While the 12:08h score of the web browser was not up to par, the video playback test scored an impressive 20:54h! The S7 active merely sipped juice when playing a locally stored video from its storage.

In our calling test, the Galaxy S7 active scored 29:17h, the highest phone call endurance of any of the other S7 variants across both Exynos and Snapdragon variants.

Our proprietary rating denotes the number of hours the phone will be operational if you are to make an hour of 3G talks, web browsing and video playback per day. Such usage pattern may not apply to you directly, but we've established it so our battery results are comparable across devices.

Follow us on Twitter - @akatechsolution / @smartdevicess

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