For the past couple of years, Samsung has been releasing an “Active” variant of its Galaxy S flagships exclusively on AT&T in the U.S. The Active variants are positioned as rugged smartphones that are water, dust and shatter resistant. Previous handsets have owned up to these claims but Consumer Reports has tested the Galaxy S7 Active’s water-resistant credentials and found that they’re not exactly what Samsung claims them to be. Bear in mind that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge boast the same water-resistant claims and they have passed the tests.
Samsung claims that the Galaxy S7 Active has IP68 water-resistant certification which means that the handset can survive after being submerged in up to five feet of water for 30 minutes. This is the claim that Consumer Reports tested by placing a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurized to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch which is the equivalent of just below five feet of water and set a timer for 30 minutes. The handset was removed after the time was up, Consumer Reports says that the display was obscured by green lines, the touchscreen wasn’t responsive and that tiny bubbles could be seen in the front and rear camera lenses.
To ensure that this wasn’t a defective unit a second Galaxy S7 Active was similarly tested and it too failed the test. The second unit’s display cycled on and off every few seconds and that moisture was visible in the front and rear camera lenses. Water was also found in the slot which holds the SIM card. A few days after the tests the screens of both phones would light up when they were plugged in but the displays could not be read, the phones are no longer functional.
Samsung says that it has received “very few complaints” from customers who have faced similar issues and that in those cases the handsets were covered under warranty. It said in a statement that “There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be” and that it’s investigating the issue. So until there’s more information on this matter it would be best to avoid dunking your Galaxy S7 Active for half an hour just to be on the safe side.