The Galaxy S8 has a reputation for being a rather fragile phone, but the newly announced Galaxy S8 Active should offer a bit more durability. That’s the whole point of Samsung’s Active line of phones, which have been available for all of its recent Galaxy S devices. However, this year Samsung has to make more changes than usual to turn the Galaxy S8 into a rugged device worthy of the Active name. That means it looks a bit… clunky.
Arguably the most notable design feature of the Galaxy S8 didn’t make it into the Active variant — there’s no Infinity Display. That’s Samsung’s name for the curved edge-to-edge AMOLED panel on its current flagship phone. The main issue with that screen is that if you drop the phone, it has a tendency to always land on a vulnerable glass surface. Thus, the Galaxy S8 Active has a flat 1440p AMOLED display with slightly larger bezels. The corners are still rounded and it’s got the taller 18.5:9 aspect ratio, so there’s some visual connection to the standard GS8.
Surrounding the face of the phone is a larger metal frame and a bumper to protect the phone from drops. The rear panel is glass on the regular Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but here it’s moved to a textured plastic material. Again, this will survive falls, whereas the non-Active phone may crack after taking a tumble. There are no physical navigation buttons on this phone has there have been on past Active phones. It’s going the on-screen route just like the standard GS8.
One carryover from the Galaxy S8 that people might not be so excited for is the dedicated Bixby button, which is over on the left side under the volume rocker. This button calls up Samsung’s voice assistant, which can control apps on the phone. Although, not all apps are supported, and my experience with Bixby so far has been mediocre. It’s also easy to confuse the Bixby button with the volume controls.
Internally, the Galaxy S8 Active is much like the standard Galaxy S8. There’s a Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a fantastic 12MP camera. Although, the battery gets a bump to 4,000mAh from the GS8’s 3,000mAh. It runs Android 7.0 with Samsung’s usual collection of tweaks and UI alterations.
This phone is exclusive to AT&T for some undisclosed period of time, after which it will come to other carriers. AT&T is asking $ 28.34 per month for the Galaxy S8 Active, which works out to $ 850 after the 30 monthly payments. You can pick one up on August 11th in AT&T stores, and preorders are live tomorrow (August 8th).