Samsung's new Galaxy S8 Active adds a rugged edge to its flagship phones
As it did last year, and the year before, Samsung has launched a rugged, ultra-protected version of its flagship phone today, announcing the Galaxy S8 Active as an AT&T exclusive in the US. Essentially, you get a chunky outer casing and a bigger battery for a little extra cash.
The phone offers the same amount of screen space as the Galaxy S8 – 5.8 inches at an 18.5:9 aspect ratio – but the bezels have been made slightly larger to help with that extra ruggedness. The main selling point is the protection against shocks, shattering, water, and dust, with Samsung saying this is "the toughest Galaxy smartphone" it's ever made.
The handset is enclosed in a metal frame and bumper made from "military-grade materials" in Samsung's words, and is guaranteed to survive drops of up to five feet (1.52 meters). It can also work after submersion in up to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes, which is actually matched by the S8 as well.
Another reason why you might pick this over another Galaxy phone is the battery. It packs a 4,000 mAh battery, which beats the 3,000 mAh inside the Galaxy S8 and the 3,500 mAh inside the Galaxy S8+.
As far as the other specs go, the S8 Active matches the phones that came before it, from the 12 MP rear-facing camera to the on-board Bixby smart assistant.
It might not be as aesthetically pleasing as Samsung's other 2017 flagships, but the S8 Active gives you just as much smartphone power in a body that's likely to last a lot longer – so it's a question of what matters most to you.
If you're a little confused about where the new phone fits in Samsung's line-up, it's the same screen size as the Galaxy S8, though a little bulkier overall. It's also smaller than the S8+, though about the same price as that phone, thanks to all those additional protective materials.
For the time being at least, the device is exclusive to AT&T in the US, and can be pre-ordered tomorrow (Tuesday August 8) for an on-sale date of Friday August 11. Available in "meteor gray" or "titanium gold," it will cost you US$28.34 a month for 30 months with AT&T Next, or $849.99 at full retail price.
Next up for Samsung is the super-sized, stylus-enabled Galaxy Note 8, which we're expecting to be made official before the end of the month.