Samsung Galaxy S6 Active hands-on vs Galaxy S6

Today we compare the Galaxy S6 Active to it's slightly less active counterpart, the original Samsung Galaxy S6. These devices are very similar where it matters most – in their cameras, their software, and their displays. The places where they're different is in their ability to handle the elements. Hence the name – Active. There's also carriers to think about. While the Galaxy S6 is available through most any carrier you like, the Active iteration is only available in the United States through AT&T. If you cannot roll with that, you cannot roll with this.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 pixel display – so does the Active. Both have Super AMOLED technology under the hood. It's like they're the same display. Without ripping both models apart to make certain, as far as we can tell, they are.

The camera at the back of the Galaxy S6 is a 16-megapixel camera with and LED flash, aperture at F1.9, focal length 1/2.6", capable of 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps. The Active has the same abilities.

As far as we can tell – without getting inside the cameras to see model numbers, it would seem that the cameras and the displays are exactly the same on the Galaxy S6 and the Active.

They both also have front-facing 5-megapixel cameras.

They both have the same processor.

That's the Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 7420. Galaxy S6 has more storage options at 16, 32, or 128GB, while the Active just has a 32GB model.

There's a fair difference between batteries on these models. The Galaxy S6 has a 2550 mAh battery while the Active has a 3500 mAh battery – with the extra bulk to match. Presumably because you'll be out in the wilderness with the Active, you'll need the extra battery life, and won't mind that the phone has a little bit bigger butt on it.

The back of the Galaxy S6 is glass while the back – and sides – of the Active are a hard reinforced plastic. While the Galaxy S6 has a metal edge, you're still going to want to pick up a case for it if you're prone to dropping your devices.

The Active sets itself apart from the rest of the high-end phone pack by having water, dust, shock, vibration, humidity, and temperature resistance. The Active is IP-68 certified and MIL-STD-810 certified, so you know you're not going to have an easy time destroying this machine on accident.

If you smash it on purpose, you might have some luck, but just don't. Please don't smash this device on purpose, that's just silly.

To make good use of this machines water resistance, the Active has a set of physical buttons for Home, multitasking, and back – also good for those that plan on using this device in the winter with gloves on.

Along the side of the Active you'll find a blue button that's able to be programmed to do several things. The primary action here is a double-click which leads you to some software called Activity Zone. In Activity Zone, you're able to access your flashlight (with the LED on its back), stopwatch Compass, S Health app, Milk Music, Barometer (built-in, mind you), and Weather app.

You can choose do to whatever you want with this blue key – it's called the "Active Key," mind you – including both long presses and short presses for launching different apps. Samsung allows you to launch any app on your device with this button. There's also an option to allow the Active Key to work when the screen on your phone is locked.

At this moment the Galaxy S6 will cost you slightly less than the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, coming in at $684.99 and $694.99 respectively for the same internal storage capacity.

Let us know if there's anything else specific you'd like to know about the Active before we post our full review. Meanwhile have a peek at our original Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Review right now.