Last April, Samsung, king of the Android castle, released its two latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and the flashy, curvaceous Galaxy S6 edge. I spent nearly two months with each device, and then I wrote an enterprise-oriented review. To sum up that evaluation in a single sentence, I really like the GS6 phones, but they are, or were at the time, plagued by a "glaring Achilles heel."
Samsung released a ruggedized version of the device in June, called the Galaxy S6 active, that addresses that Achilles impediment and improves upon my most significant gripes with the GS6 and GS6 edge, making the active an even better smartphone for business users -- with a few notable exceptions.
Here's a list of four things enterprises will appreciate about the GS6 active, as well as four things they won't.
What enterprises will love about the Samsung Galaxy S6 active
1) Galaxy S6 active is rugged, waterproof and built to last
The GS6 active is basically a GS6 enclosed in a water- and dust-resistant case. The gadget has an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) protection rating of IP68, which means it offers "protection from contact with harmful dust" and is "protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter," according to CNET. These ratings aren't exactly perfect, and there's room for interpretation, but I soaked and dunked my GS6 active multiple times, and it came out unscathed. The device can easily stand up to a light rain or the occasional spill, which is probably all an average business user needs.
Enterprises and mobile administrators will appreciate the fact that the GS6 active can stand withstand some serious abuse, and organizations that deploy GS6 actives won't have to replace as many phones due to drops or liquid damage. Samsung's Philip Berne, a technical marketing manager, says GS6 active user don't need cases for protection, either, so companies don't need to shell out additional cash for accessories to protect corporate devices. In fact, Samsung doesn't even make any GS6 active cases, according to Berne, though it makes them for the vast majority, if not all, of its other mobile devices. (Check out the video below to see how well the GS6 active fared in my drop tests.)
The active weighs 0.5 oz. more than the standard GS6, making it roughly 10 percent heavier. If you put a case and a screen protector on the original GS6, the difference in weight is minor. So while the ruggedized features add some bulk, they don't make the phone feel like a brick.
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