The Galaxy S6 Active was Samsung’s response to the regular Galaxy S6 lacking any IP rating. It’s technically a rugged version of the Galaxy S6, and it shows. But it’s not entirely the same in terms of hardware and features.
Samsung’s ‘Active’ lineup was phased out in recent years, but the Galaxy S6 Active falls right in the middle of the ‘Active’ portfolio. It was released after the Galaxy S4 Active and S5 Active, but before the rugged versions of the Galaxy S7 and S8.
The biggest difference between the Galaxy S6 Active and the regular Galaxy S6 lies in the exterior design. While the more common model had a glass finish with a metallic frame, the Galaxy S6 Active boasted a more industrial – albeit less pleasant to the touch – finish.
Nevertheless, the plastic used in the phone’s construction is very durable. The device not only boasts an IP68 rating but is also MIL-STD-810G-compliant. It’s resistant to solar radiation, shock, salt, and humidity.
The device was released in three color options including blue, gray, and white, all of which have a camo pattern on the back panel. Meanwhile, the front panel accommodates three physical buttons. The phone also has a power button on the right edge, a volume rocker on the left edge, and an additional physical button above the volume rocker. This key can be configured to launch any app.
Samsung’s rugged S6 variant measures 146.8 x 73.4 x 8.6mm and tips the scales at 170 grams.
The Galaxy S6 Active is very similar to the standard S6 in terms of internal hardware. It’s equipped with the same Exynos 7 Octa 7420 14nm-based chipset and 3GB of RAM. But unlike the Galaxy S6, the Active model was released only in 32GB and 64GB UFS 2.0 storage configurations, lacking the 128GB option. Likewise, it doesn’t have a microSD card slot, but this feature made a return with the Galaxy S7 series.
Another feature missing from the Galaxy S6 Active is a fingerprint scanner. On the bright side, it boasts a considerably larger 3,500mAh battery (up from the S6’s 2,550mAh unit) with 15W fast charging and wireless charging capabilities.
Other specs include a barometer, a heart rate sensor, a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB 2, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MIMO, and LTE.
Same as the regular S6, the Galaxy S6 Active is equipped with a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 4. The panel has a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, leading to an impressive pixel density of around 576 ppi. The phone has a screen-to-body ratio of around 66%.
The Galaxy S6 Active features a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with an f/1.9 aperture and a wide lens. It’s a Sony Exmor RS IMX240 sensor, and the unit is capable of recording 2160p videos at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p videos at 120fps. The main camera has optical image stabilization (OIS).
These characteristics might not sound like much by modern standards, but at the time of release, the Galaxy S6 Active’s camera was very well received. It was capable of competing with any other smartphone on the market.
As for selfie photos, the device offers a 5MP sensor with 1080p at 30fps video recording. The selfie shooter can be used for dual video calling.
Software and Features
The Galaxy S6 Active was released with Android 5.0 Lollipop and Samsung’s TouchWiz UI out of the box. It was later updated to Marshmallow and Android 7.0 Nougat. Samsung no longer supports the phone with firmware updates.
The rugged smartphone launched with Samsung Pay support out of the box, S-Voice, and it was compatible with the Gear Circle, Galaxy Gear, and Gear Fit.
Price and Availability
Unfortunately for non-USA residents, the Galaxy S6 Active was released only stateside and it was an AT&T exclusive. It’s a bit of a rarity in Samsung’s smartphone portfolio.
The Galaxy S6 Active was released in the USA via AT&T in June 2015. It was available for $695 off-contract, or $199 on a two-year agreement. At that time, the device was also available for $23 a month with AT&T Next.
Downloads and Resources
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