This is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, the Samsung Galaxy S6 variant you should buy if you can and here’s why.
First of all, it features a very rugged and durable build construction. So with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge, those devices are very elegant smartphones. They’re very premium and high end and they just look really good. But they’re not the most durable and most people are going to put them in a case. With the Galaxy S6 Active, you don’t need a case. It features a thicker plastic, rubberized shell that actually measures in at about 8mm thick so it’s a little bit thicker than the standard Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. It’s dustproof, water and shock-resistant and features a military grade IP68 certification.
The Power/Sleep On/Off button and volume rocker are very clicky. We even have an additional active key physical button that is not found on the standard Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge but it does something pretty unique, which I will talk about later. We do have physical buttons on the Active for the multi-view, home and back commands. There are no capacitive touch navigation buttons. And while we do have a physical home button, there is no fingerprint scanner unfortunately.
With no curved display, the device doesn’t have tapered edges so it features a traditional smartphone design with flat sides that ultimately make it easy to grip especially with the grooved sides and the textured rubber coating on the back.
The Galaxy S6 Active features the same camera, the same processor and the same display as the standard Galaxy S6 so if you want to learn more about those areas of the device, I recommend you watch our full review of the Galaxy S6 where we discuss these areas in detail. But to put it simply, the Galaxy S6 does feature an industry leading display, performance and camera. And you will most likely not be disappointed with how this device performs in these areas.
For this review, I want to talk about what makes the Galaxy S6 Active unique and different than its two brothers. And we can do that by taking a look at the back. So besides the build construction, you will notice an AT&T logo here. While the S6 and S6 edge can be found on all four major carriers here in the US, the Galaxy S6 Active is exclusive to AT&T which is a very important thing to mention because if AT&T isn’t your carrier, you’re kind of out of luck unfortunately.
The other difference on the back, besides the Galaxy S6 Active text, is the rear-facing speaker grille. The Galaxy S6 features a speaker grille on the bottom of the device while the Active features it on the back. The front is the optimal location, the bottom is the second-best location, and the back is the third. I personally do not like the position of these speakers because I often cover up the speaker with my hand when watching or consuming media.
Unlike the Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge or even any other flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6 Active features this active key which is defaulted to activate the Activity Zone when pressed once. But Activity Zone is actually pretty sweet. You get access to the weather, barometer, S Health, compass, flashlight, stopwatch, and Samsung Milk Music service. But if you tap on the more section on top and go to the settings, you can actually customize the Active Key to open up whatever app you like. So you can customize the button to open up the camera app or the peel remote app with a simple short press. You can even customize it to open up a different app when you long press it. And if you don’t want it to accidentally be activated in your pocket, you can turn off the active key on lock screen functionality. This is one of my favorite little features of this smartphone.
That’s not all that separates the Active from the S6. Battery life is fantastic on the Active since it features a 3500mAh battery. That’s around 1000mAh bigger than the battery of the S6 and it makes one hell of a difference. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get through a single day of moderate to heavy usage on the S6 edge. I just can’t. I just end up charging the device at least once. And that has ultimately made me not use the device especially as my daily driver.
The S6 Active, on the other hand, can get me through a single day with pretty heavy usage with battery life to spare obviously depending on how much I use my device. I can get around 5-6 hours of screen on-time with the Galaxy S6 Active, whereas with the Galaxy S6 edge, I usually get around, a little over 3 hours if I’m lucky.
So the biggest limitation with the Galaxy S6 Active is, of course, its carrier availability. Since it is exclusive to AT&T. with AT&T, it does cost about $700 off-contract or about $23/month with AT&T Next, which is around the same price as the standard Galaxy S6.
You don’t get a futuristic curved display, you don’t get a terribly attractive; but chances are if you have the Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge, if you ever felt those smartphones, they’re very fragile, very delicate. Yes they do look premium but chances are, you’re going to put it in a case. So the Galaxy S6 Active basically has a case pre-installed and it’s water-resistant. You also get that active key button and that large 3500mAh battery, which in its self; I think is a good enough reason to justify your purchase.
But this is the Galaxy S6 Active. Let me know what you’re thinking. Do you like this device? Do you wish you can buy this device but you can’t because you don’t have AT&T? Let me know what you’re thinking by leaving me a comment down below.