It’s easy to say that the newest generation of something is “the best one yet” – I mean, it is the newest one. Most of the time, that means significant upgrades have been made. But when I say that the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, officially revealed today and launching at AT&T sometime this week, is the best one yet, I really mean it.
You probably already know by now what makes the Active different from a regular Galaxy S device, but just in case you don’t, it basically boils down to the device being built to withstand harsher circumstances. With a shatterproof display, textured plastic body, built-in metal bumper, IP68 rating and 4,000 mAh battery, the Galaxy S8 Active is built to last. Although these features are consistent with previous versions of the Active in terms of rugged features, there are a couple of things about this year’s Active that make it worth considering over previous years.
One small detail about the Galaxy S8 Active is one that I think is really important this year: although the S8 Active does have extremely slim bezels, it doesn’t feature the edged Infinity Display seen on the S8 and S8+. Since this is the first year that Samsung has released a Galaxy S duo without a “flat” variant, it’s nice that the Active is now an option for those disappointed in Samsung's decision to exclusively use edged displays.
In previous years, one other aspect of the Galaxy S Active variant held it back, and that was carrier exclusivity. AT&T was the only carrier in the U.S. that sold the Active, but it appears that AT&T will only hold exclusive rights to the Active for a limited time. It wasn’t disclosed when other carriers could expect to see the Active available, but hopefully it’s sometime soon. It will be interesting to see how the Active fares once it’s available across multiple networks; many people haven’t even had the chance to consider it as an option previously.
Overall, the Galaxy S8 Active appears to be a solid option this year. Full specs include a 5.8-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage with microSD support up to 256GB, 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and 8-megapixel front-facing camera (f/1.7 aperture), 3.5mm headphone jack, and a beefy 4,000 mAh battery with wireless charging support.
There are a couple of downsides to the Active. For one, the device used to feature a remappable “Active” button, which appears to have been replaced by a new Bixby button which, like other S8 models, isn’t mappable. The fingerprint sensor is also still in that awkward spot on the back of the device. They’re worth mentioning because some people consider these aspects deal-breakers, but for others they’re simply an annoyance. Still, I think the other characteristics of the Active make up for the less desirable features. After all, it’s not very often you come across a phone that essentially has a built-in case (which some people might consider boring, but I’ll take boring and durable over having to treat my phone like a ticking time bomb any day) as well as top notch flagship specs.
Readers, what do you think about this year’s Active? Are you more interested in the device knowing that it won’t be a carrier exclusive for long?