UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The Galaxy S6 Active is 7 percent taller and 9 percent wider than the iPhone 6.
Unlike with the standard Galaxy S6, thin and sexy aren't really part of the package with the GS6 Active. The iPhone comes out 20 percent thinner.
The iPhone is also 14 percent lighter than the GS6 Active. Considering its larger size, though, the Active still feels very light in hand.
The regular GS6 is made of glass and aluminum, but those wouldn't work very well for a rugged, outdoorsy device like the Active – so plastic it is.
You have three color options to choose from with each handset. Just keep in mind that the "blue" version of the Active looks nearly black, with a tinge of blue that shows more under the right light.
While the iPhone 6 Plus gives you a bigger 5.5-inch screen, the Galaxy S6 Active's 5.1-incher is 18 percent bigger than this 4.7-inch iPhone 6 display.
The GS6 Active's gorgeous Quad HD display is 77 percent sharper than the iPhone 6's screen.
As in years past, Samsung sticks with AMOLED display tech while the iPhone uses an IPS panel.
Samsung's fingerprint sensors in the GS6 and GS6 edge are terrific, going toe-to-toe with Apple's Touch ID – but that's one of the omissions Samsung made with the Active.
What you lose in fingerprints, though, you gain in water and dust resistance. The Active's IP68 rating means it can soak indefinitely in 3 m (9.8 ft) of water continuously.
The GS6 Active has an enormous battery – and outstanding battery life to match it. In our streaming test, it only dropped 5 percent per hour, compared to 14 percent per hour for the iPhone.
The Active also has the same wireless charging capabilities found in the standard GS6.
Ditto for fast charging, which can get a nearly dead battery juiced up to a respectable state faster than on non-fast-charging phones.
Though it switches from glass to plastic, the Active doesn't let you remove its battery cover.
Both phones have excellent cameras, though the Active shoots in much higher resolution.
Physical camera shortcut
The S6 Active has the same home button double-tap camera launch shortcut found in its sexier sibling.
On paper, this looks like an absolute rout, but the iPhone's A8 SoC punches above its weight class (i.e. cores and clock speed). Both are zippy and powerful phones.
The next iPhone could use a RAM upgrade, though, as the iPhone 6 is stuck in 1 GB territory. The Active triples that.
AT&T is only selling a 32 GB version of the Active. Apple lets you buy three different storage tiers for the iPhone.
Neither handset has a microSD slot.
The Active ships with Android 5.0.1 Lollipop with Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top (which is more scaled-back this time around). The iPhone is currently on iOS 8.3.
The Active just launched this month, while we're likely around three months away from the next iPhone (which most expect to be called the iPhone 6s).
Starting price (full retail)
The Active costs you an extra US$45 full retail, but that also gives you double the storage of the $650 iPhone.
Starting price (on-contract)
AT&T (the exclusive carrier for the Active) charges $200 on-contract for the Galaxy S6 Active – the same price everyone charges for the 16 GB iPhone 6.View gallery - 24 images