Wrap Up: Protective Case? No, Thanks.

There is a lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, and for a certain subset of the population, it might be an even better choice than the already-fantastic Galaxy S6.

I’m not a huge fan of the Galaxy S6 Active’s design. It’s big, it’s chunky, and the classic ‘rugged’ look is nowhere near as appealing as the sleek metal body of the standard Galaxy S6. But what it lacks in class it makes up for in toughness: the S6 Active can easily handle bumps, shocks and drops without a case, making it the perfect option for people who would have slapped a case on the Galaxy S6 anyway.

The S6 Active also has the advantage of being water resistant, which is great for underwater photography and preventing any damage when it’s inevitably dropped in the toilet or sink. I also like the inclusion of the Action Key, which can be mapped to any app you want for easy access. Add in an awesome skin from dbrand and the Galaxy S6 Active becomes a very decent alternative to the Galaxy S6.

Most of the S6 Active’s hardware is identical to the regular Galaxy S6, which means you’re getting the same class-leading performance from the Exynos 7420 SoC, the same fantastic 5.1-inch 1440p AMOLED display, and the same outstanding 16-megapixel optically stabilized camera. The hardware inside the Galaxy S6 Active is easily some of the best on the market, even if the design doesn’t suggest this device is high-end.

There are some notable omissions from the Galaxy S6 Active, some of which are also an issue on the regular Galaxy S6. There’s no microSD card slot, and the device only comes in a 32 GB model, which can be a bit restrictive for some people. Ideally I’d like to see a 64 GB or higher model as an option. The fingerprint scanner that I actually quite liked on the Galaxy S6 has been removed on the Active, and there’s no removable battery.

While the lack of a removable battery may be annoying for those with a regular Galaxy S6, it shouldn’t be an issue for those with an S6 Active. That’s because this device features fantastic battery life, easily surpassing the Galaxy S6 by over 50 percent in some of our battery tests. For this reason, while I was using the S6 Active I never had to worry about running out of juice midway through a day.

Depending on what you want from your smartphone, the Galaxy S6 Active is a fantastic choice, especially for those that love smartphone cases and want superb battery life. My personal preference is still the Galaxy S6 for its sleek design, but the Galaxy S6 Active is just as good of a choice, especially if you can grab one for the same price as the regular Galaxy S6.

Unfortunately, the Galaxy S6 Active hasn’t been widely released by Samsung, which might make it a bit difficult to obtain outside the United States. The device is available exclusively through AT&T in the States, but if you’re in basically any other country, you might need to look at importing one.

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Pros: Tough, rugged exterior removes the need for a case. Outstanding battery life. The same great hardware as the Galaxy S6, including an awesome display and camera, and top-notch performance.

Cons: Rugged design isn’t a sleek as the metal Galaxy S6 body. No microSD card slot, and just 32 GB of internal storage. Hard to find outside the United States.