Samsung's flagship phone overhaul was a big hit with consumers, as the Android manufacturer switched to premium glass and metal materials for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge models. However, in revamping its design language, Samsung also removed a few key features from the Galaxy S5, like waterproofing, a removable battery and memory card support that may put off some business users from adopting the Galaxy S6.
With the launch of the Galaxy S6 Active, an exclusive to AT&T in the US, Samsung gave its flagship some plastic surgery, removed the glass and metal sheen and created a device that's more durable but with the same processing power and speed as the Galaxy S6. Everything you love about the Galaxy S6 is in the Active, but with some subtle tweaks.
With its rugged durability, Samsung is marketing the Galaxy S6 Active – the newest variant of the line – as the ultimate phone for thrill-seeking adventurers, but the Active may also be the perfect business tool thanks to features like waterproofing, impact resistance, long battery life and more. Here are five reasons the Galaxy S6 Active can be a valuable tool for your business:
1. Slip sliding away
Spilled coffees and juices that turn liquids into technology's wrecking ball are a thing of the past as the Galaxy S6 Active brings back the waterproofing feature from the Galaxy S5. Given that one-third of all phones succumb to an untimely demise inflicted by liquids each year, this is good news for butterfinger business executives prone to dropping their phones in toilets, tubs or the pool.
Samsung says that the Galaxy S6 Active meets US Mil-STD-810G standards specifications, meaning that it can survive in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.
For business executives who are constantly multitasking, that means you can read your favorite e-book or brush up on your next presentation while soaking in the tub, or go to brunch and not worry about spilling your juice before the caffeine kicks in.
Not having to worry about a soaked phone also means you can eliminate downtime due to dead equipment.
2. Caught between a rock and a hard place
If you drop your phone and if it doesn't land in a pool, it may land on a hard surface. Swapping out the metal and glass body from the Galaxy S6, the Active comes with reinforced plastic that makes it easier to grip and more impact absorbent.
The same US Mil-STD-810G certification means that the phone is rated as shock-resistant for falls from four feet or less onto a flat surface. If it lands screen-down onto a pointed nail, well the screen will probably shatter, but if the Active takes a tumble from your desk onto the flat floor of your office, then it should be safe.
Additionally, the plastic around the Active forms a raised ledge around the display. If your phone skydives from your desk with the display headed toward the cement ground, the raised edges will be the point of impact, not your screen.
This should help in ensuring that your Galaxy S6 Active will last, especially considering that a quarter of smartphone owners manage to shatter their phone's screens, according to statistics from MobileInsurance.co.uk.
3. Say goodbye to 8-hour work days
The Galaxy S6 Active also has a bigger battery than the Galaxy S6, which alone is enough of a reason to upgrade to the Active model. The downside is that you can't use the excuse that your phone died to go off the grid, especially when the boss calls.
But for those who are always on call – IT support staff, workers in the field and road warriors away from power outlets – battery longevity is a breath of fresh air. With the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 Active all sporting designs with non-user replaceable batteries, the larger battery on the Active will alleviate range anxiety.
With almost a 33% bigger battery than the Galaxy S6 with its 3,500 mAh battery, you can extend your use, consume more content and remain more productive on the road with little downtime. The increase in battery on the Active alone is a source of contention, even among Samsung fans who have adopted the Galaxy S6.
"Since the moment the phone was announced, I've almost been seething with anger," Abhijeet Mishra, SamMobile's Editor-in-Chief, said. "It's nothing less than an insult to the millions that have bought the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge."
Whether that 33% increase in charge will make Galaxy S6 owners trade-in their shiny phones for a camo-inspired plastic Active is anyone's guess, but if you're upgrading from an older Samsung model, the Active should be high on your list. The Galaxy S6 Active shares the same battery capacity as Motorola's Droid Maxx on Verizon, a handset with a stated two full days of battery life.
Since the Active doesn't require a flimsy flap over the micro USB port to keep water out, like on the Galaxy S5, thanks to improved waterproofing techniques, you won't have to fiddle with any covers when you need to plug in.
4. Mobile archiving
Even though you may not be a top secret government spy and the name on your business card doesn't read James Bond, there may be times when you need to take a photo to document something for work.
The Galaxy S6 Active has the same stellar camera from the regular model, meaning you can take clear scans of documents without having to walk to your shared office scanner.
In addition to scanning documents, I've also found the camera on AT&T's variant of the Galaxy S6 useful for scanning business cards with Samsung's Optical Scanner and Intsig's CamCard apps when I attend conferences and networking events, saving me time from manually inputting new contacts into my Google Contacts list.
Samsung giveth and Samsung taketh, at least when it comes to hardware features. Gone is the fingerprint reader on the regular Galaxy S6, but users will gain a programmable hardware Active button.
Similar to the dedicated "Can you hear me now?" push-to-talk hardware buttons, users now have a push-to-app button to quickly launch into their favorite apps. By default, the Active key will open a menu to sports-oriented features – like the digital compass – but you can have it launch your favorite work app like Slack, Yammer or Hipchat. That way, when you're climbing a 40-story skyscraper on an adventure to your cubicle and find yourself trapped in a malfunctioning elevator, you should be able to at least ping your coworkers for help.
In the US, the plastic makeover on the Active costs $10 more contract-free on AT&T than the non-sporty model. The Galaxy S6 Active is priced at $694 compared to the $684 contract-free Galaxy S6. Both models are equipped with 32GB of storage, but AT&T offers the Galaxy S6 in additional 64GB and 128GB capacities.