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4 things you'll love about the Samsung GS6 active (and 4 things you'll hate)

Al Sacco | July 23, 2015
Samsung's latest 'ruggedized' smartphone, the Galaxy S6 active, is an evolution of one of the best Android phones available, and it's particularly well-suited for business use — though the device falls short in some areas.

2) Galaxy S6 active packs impressive tech specs
All of the same high-end technical specifications found in the Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge are present in the active -- with one big exception, which I'll get to soon. The GS6 active even outshines its slimmer, trimmer brethren in a couple ways -- more on that coming up as well.

I won't get into all the specifics (check out my full review GS6 edge review for those) but the active packs a top-of-the-line Gorilla Glass, quad HD Super AMOLED display; a 16 MP rear camera; an octa-core processor; and it impresses in just about every other hardware category. The GS6 active runs Android 5.0, and it offers all of Samsung's KNOX security features. I also appreciate its built-in support for both the Qi and PMA wireless charging standards, which means you can charge using Samsung's Wireless Charge Pad, as well as a ton of other compatible accessories. 

3) Galaxy S6 active's huge battery makes it last longer
Remember that Achilles heel I mentioned? For the GS6 edge, it comes in the form of poor battery life.

The ruggedized version of Samsung's GS6 packs a fixed, 3,500mAh battery that can store 37 percent more power than the standard GS6's 2,600mAh battery. The GS6 active doesn't have any features that would cause it to drain battery life faster than the standard GS6, according to Samsung's Berne, so that bigger battery means significantly longer life for the active. 

The battery is not removable or user replaceable, and that is unfortunate. Samsung used removable batteries in its Galaxy S phones in the past, and replaceable batteries can be particularly helpful to frequent travelers. The massive battery is a welcome addition, though. Business users who are always on the go know just how important a long-lasting phone can be, and the Galaxy S6 active does not disappoint on that front.

4) Galaxy S6 active's customizable 'convenience key'
Not that long ago, many popular smartphones had "convenience keys" used to trigger any function or app. Frankly, I miss the trusty convenience key, so I was pleased to learn that the GS6 active has a customizable "Active button" on its side. The key is unique to the device; it's not on either of the other GS6s.

You can set the Active button to trigger two different functions. For example, by default a quick tap of the key brings up the "Activity Zone, which offers weather information, a barometer, compass and other outdoor related services. And if you hold the button down for a second or more, it launches Samsung's Music app. However, if you don't care about the Activity Zone or Music app and want quick access to your camera and Evernote notes, you can simply map the Active key to these specific apps in the device settings. It's a valuable feature that should be appreciated by business users and consumers.


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