The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active is not your average smartphone. It’s a rugged smartphone built for adventure but it has flagship smartphone-like specs, which is not very common for rugged smartphones. In fact, it features just about the same internals as the standard Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge. It just features a more durable build construction made for people with a very active lifestyle hence the name. And it is exclusive to AT&T. So enough talk, let’s go ahead and see what it looks like and what’s included in the box.
With the help of my trustee Beau HD unboxing knife, we can go ahead and slice off the tape and lift up the top flap and we’ll find a quick start packet sitting right on top to help you get familiar with this device quickly and efficiently. We then have the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active below that, which we’ll get to in a moment. But I’m going to set it off to the side for now. AT&T did include a pre-loaded SIM card here as well, which is kind of nice of them so I can test this device out with the AT&T network and see just how well it picks up a signal. But underneath all that stuff, we do have several more items.
First of all, we have a piece of paper advertising the Samsung Milk Music Service, which I personally have never used. It’s a terrible name but that’s all I’m really going to say about that. Directly below that is a Health & Safety and Warranty Guide which is pretty self-explanatory. Next we have the standard Samsung US wall wart with quick charging technology that will actually allow you to charge your Samsung Galaxy S6 Active from 0% to 100% in around 30 to 60 minutes which is pretty awesome. And then we have a standard micro USB cable here and that’s about it.
So let’s take a look back at the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active and take off all of that plastic. You’ll quickly notice how different it looks from the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge besides having the same general form factor. It has a mostly plastic build construction which allows it to be dust-proof, shock and water resistant and have an IP68 rating. Now if we take a closer look around the device, we’ll find a dedicated Activity Zone button which I’ll touch more on later and the volume rocker is below that. On the right hand side, we have a power/sleep button and a SIM card tray. Don’t try to remove it with your fingernails, you’ll break a nail. Ladies, trust me. It’s in there pretty good so use some sort of flat screwdriver or something to get it out. On top, we have a 3.5mm headphone jack and IR blaster. And on the bottom we have a micro USB port and that’s about it.
On the front of the S6 Active, there’s a standard 5MP front-facing camera sensor and ambient light sensors, the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED Quad HD display with a 2560x1440p resolution. And then here’s something different: physical buttons for the multi-view, home, and back commands. No capacitive touch navigation buttons nor do we have a physical home button with a fingerprint scanner. That is gone unfortunately.
On the back, we do have a 16MP camera sensor and heart rate monitor just like the standard Galaxy S6. There’s an AT&T logo and then two little slits for the rear-facing speaker. Previously the speaker grille was on the bottom of the S6. On the S6 Active, it’s now on the back. But that’s about it for the hardware.
The back cover does have some texture to it but really not too much. And in contrast with the smooth overlapping plastic shell, which appears to have four bolts on each corner, it really doesn’t feel that bad in the hands. But in my humble opinion, this is one ugly looking device. I can’t imagine the target market will really care too much about the looks as long as it’s durable but it definitely is less attractive than the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the S6 edge. There’s no question about it.
The corners themselves are flattened out and arched around, which kind of makes sense to help protect against drops but it does look pretty bad. I do want to add that the buttons are very clicky and they feel really nice to press. Even the navigation buttons feel very sturdy, they don’t feel lose at all if that makes sense. So in terms of the hardware, it seems to be built very well. It just doesn’t look that good.
In terms of the software, you’ll find a very similar almost identical experience as say a Galaxy S6 or even a Galaxy S6 edge. You’ll find the absolutely beautiful display, the fast octa-core Exynos 7420 processor with 3GB of RAM. You do get a much larger battery though. There’s a 3500mAh battery that just dwarves the 2550mAh battery in the standard Galaxy S6.
And there is an extra shortcut button which activates the Samsung Activity Zone feature instantly. And it’s actually pretty cool. You get access to the weather info, barometer info, S Health, compass, flashlight and even the stopwatch. You can also select a station to play music for your activity using Milk music. But what’s even neater about the physical shortcut button that launches the Activity Zone is that you can actually reprogram it. So if you go to the settings and you go to Active Key, you can customize the key to open up certain apps when you press it once. And you can program it to activate a certain app when you long press it. And you can enable the Active Key when on the lock screen so this is a really cool feature. Big thumbs up to Samsung for adding this shortcut key.
But with that said, that’s essentially the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active and what differentiates it from the standard Galaxy S6. It retails for $695 off-contract but you can get it for $23 a month for 24 months through AT&T Next.