The rugged Samsung Galaxy S7 Active may not be so rugged after all, as it apparently failed a Consumer Reports' water resistance test. Twice.
While the Galaxy S7 Active comes packed with plenty of high-end specs and features to make it a powerful smartphone, its main selling point lies in its ruggedness. The "Active" moniker found on Galaxy handsets typically means they're more durable than their flagship counterparts.
Samsung has been offering Active versions of its flagships for a good while now, targeting the ruggedized models at active, outdoorsy individuals who need a sturdier device that could withstand the occasional drop, shower, splash, bump and such.
The latest Galaxy S7 Active is supposed to have a good water resistance of up to 30 minutes in up to 5 feet of water, thanks to its IP68 rating. Consumer Reports conducted an immersion test, however, and found that the handset's advertised water resistance is not quite on par with reality.
In fact, Consumer Reports' Galaxy S7 Active test run marks a surprising contrast to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, both of which previously passed the same test with no problems. Consumer Reports ran the test twice, using two different Galaxy S7 Active units, just to be sure before revealing its findings.
The first Galaxy S7 Active tested showed screen damage after being submerged in water, as green lines appeared on the display. The touch screen became unresponsive and moisture found its way inside both cameras.
Surprised by the results, Consumer Reported conducted its test on another Galaxy S7 Active smartphone, just to make sure the first one was not faulty. The second device failed the test as well, getting a permanent flickering effect on its display. Water got into the phone's SIM card slot, as well as the camera lenses.
The performance of the two devices did not improve even after drying out, with no positive changes over the next couple of days. Neither of the two devices recovered.
"For a couple of days following the test, the screens of both phones would light up when the phones were plugged in, though the displays could not be read," notes Consumer Reports. "The phones never returned to functionality."
Samsung, for its part, says that "very few complaints" reached its ears regarding this issue, and the phones were covered by warranty anyway. The company continues to tout its Galaxy S7 Active as one of the most rugged handsets to date thanks to its high scratch resistance and IP68 certification.
"There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be," Samsung told Consumer Reports in a written statement. The company is reportedly looking into the matter.