The Galaxy S6 isn’t waterproof… but what about the Galaxy S6 Active?


We now know pretty much everything there is to know about the Samsung Galaxy S6. The specs, the features, the price… it’s all on the table. With the device going on sale April 1st and launching April 10th, people are debating whether it’ll be their next phone and one limiting factor could be the disappearance of a key Galaxy S5 feature that didn’t make its way to the new S6: water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs S5 backs

There is no doubt that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are the sexiest Galaxy devices yet. But to achieve said sexiness, Samsung made compromises in areas they were previously adamant:

  • The battery is not removable
  • There is no expandable memory card slot
  • The device is not water resistant

When we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S5, water resistance was one of my favorite new features. After only one year, it’s gone. One could speculate why water resistance was removed, make various comparisons to Apple, and discuss the technological difficulties in engineering such a product, but for the sake of this article- let’s not.

Maybe, just maybe, Samsung didn’t make the Galaxy S6 waterproof because they expect another product will eventually fill those shoes… the Samsung Galaxy S6 active.

Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung first launched their “Active” series with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, announcing it on the heels of the regular Samsung Galaxy S4.


The device slightly dumbed down the specs; for example, in exchange for getting an IP67 water resistant device you also get a chunkier, heavier phone with hardware buttons and an 8MP camera instead of a 13MP camera.

Whatever the case may be it seems the Active brand performed well enough to live on as Samsung released its sequel the following year.

Galaxy S5

Things got a bit more awkward when Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. You see, they already had the Samsung Galaxy S5 and had accomplished the feat of making it IP67 water resistant.

Galaxy S5 in Toilet

We reviewed the S5 and found water resistance to be one of the best new additions. There wouldn’t be any need for the S5 Active now because Samsung had solved the problem by making its flagship phone waterproof! Right!? Right? Wrong…

Galaxy S5 Active

Despite having a IP67 water resistant flagship in the Galaxy S5, Samsung pushed forward and announced the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active.


Once again, they slightly dumbed down the specs, made it chunkier with more rugged material, and added some extra Ingress protection. Both the S5 and S5 Active were IP67 water resistant, but only the S5 Active enjoyed drop resistance (up to 4 feet), dust, temperature, and humidity resistance. Oh… and it looked a lot crazier.

Speaking of crazy designs, Samsung’s newest generation of flagship devices is quite the divergence from their typical hardware.

Galaxy S6

It wouldn’t be wrong to call the Galaxy S6 a fish out of water. The S4 was not water resistant. The S5 was water resistant. The S6 is not water resistant. Flip. Flop. Flip.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Clock Calendar DSC08975

It seems Samsung focused their time and energy making the Galaxy S6 the most premium feeling device possible. No removable battery. No external storage. No problem. Because one look at the S6 and S6 Edge and you’d fall in love. At least that’s how I assume Samsung’s internal team approached the matter.

Some people are freaking out over the lack of water resistance but Samsung made a clear decision to focus more on being premium. And let’s not forget the added accuracy of the fingerprint sensor which probably wouldn’t do so well underwater.

But maybe, just maybe, there is more to the madness than meets the eye.

Galaxy S6 Active?

Samsung has not confirmed or denied the future existence of a new phone in their “Active” series, but considering they released a ruggedized version of an already waterproof phone (the S5), it seems the company is hellbent on making “Active” devices. To see a Galaxy S6 Active would not be a surprise and to the contrary, it’s something you should expect.

If you’re one of the people “freaking out” consider this the part where we shake some sense into you: if you want a waterproof Galaxy S6, simply wait for the company to announce the S6 Active… we’re pretty sure it’ll come eventually.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Gorilla Glass 4

However, I believe the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Active will have more difference between them than their sibling counterparts. Whereas in the past the S4 Active and S5 Active were merely ruggedized version of almost the same device, Samsung now has the opportunity to let the S5 Active stand out.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: there is no way Samsung will create a Galaxy S6 Edge Active. The engineering would be impossible and the final product would be too expensive. Don’t get your hopes up. It isn’t happening.

Whatever the case may be, Samsung may have created a golden sales opportunity by making this decision. It makes the features/benefits much more clear to consumers and sales people, giving the marketing team specific issues to target when reaching their target market with the (one) perfect product that fits their needs.

So what is that one perfect product…

What will the S6 Active be?

This is purely speculation and I invite you to voice  your opinion in the poll below, but I think this is the perfect opportunity for Samsung to please two different parties:

  1. Galaxy S6 gets sleekest metal/glass design, unremovable battery.
  2. Galaxy S6 Active gets plastic with removable battery.

Whereas in the past Samsung had two very similar products with one primary differentiating factor, the new Galaxy S6 Active would be a completely different product than the Galaxy S6 and offer an entirely different set of features and benefits from a hardware perspective.

I’d be really excited to see the Galaxy S6 Active simply be the natural progression of the previous Galaxy S5, sticking with the plastic and Ingress protection and continuing to add ruggedized features. Nobody knows for sure, but it’s always fun to speculate.

[polldaddy poll=8706381]

The bottom line is this: if you want a waterproof Galaxy S6 you don’t have to cry over spilled milk… the Galaxy S6 Active will likely be coming. Exactly what that means is anybody’s guess, but if you stay glued to Phandroid, we’ll let you know exactly what it means when the universe reveals to us these secrets.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. All this focus on premium but so many users are going to put cases on these things to protect the glass. That’s why I never ever freted over Samsung using plastic. It was more durable even without a case in contrast to those that used glass backs.

    People whined and whined about “premium” and now you got it at the cost of two extremely practical features that originally set their flagship devices apart from the likes of Apple and others.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I have dropped my S4 a hundred times with only a screen protector sticker on it, no case, and it is kicking fine 2 years later. I cant wait to see how long it takes for first user to drop his s6 and discover the back shattered not screen.

      1. LOL, me neither. Am going to laugh mercilessly at these idiots, while my plastic phone continues to operate without a scratch. Premium my ass :P

      2. It’s still worth reminding how the irony has been lost on their latest flagship. They’ve turned their customers into the fabled “wall huggers”:


  2. I actually really liked the design of the Galaxy S5 Active. It looks cool.

  3. what about the galaxy S6 edge alpha note series???

    1. I’m done.

  4. The S5 Active didn’t have dumbed down specs. It had the same processor, screen, and camera as the S5.

      1. Yes look wise, with some added software to the Active. Otherwise the same, and not “dumbed down” like the S4 active was.

        1. What added apps does the Active have ?

          1. Activity Zone is the big one. Might be the only one actually lol.

          2. interesting. what does it do?

        2. some people (not me!) were upset by the lack of the fingerprint scanner and MicroUSB 3.0

  5. Now phandroid journalists are also device build engineers?

    “Let’s get one thing out of the way: there is no way Samsung will create a Galaxy S6 Edge Active. The engineering would be impossible and the final product would be too expensive. Don’t get your hopes up. It isn’t happening.”

    You must be on Samsungs design teams as well part time in addition to journaling?

    1. no, they just have a basic concept of how things work in the real world.

  6. The Galaxy S6 is the first Galaxy I’ve been interested in. The hardware looks spectacular enough that I might be able to live with Touchwiz, lack of on-screen buttons, and it’s large size… But the lack of IP67 support is definitely a step back, I was hoping more phones would move to this.

  7. I don’t think leaving waterproofing out had anything to do with creating a future “active” model.

    When they added waterproofing to the S5, they had to make a lot of compromises. The waterproofing made the phone bigger, uglier, and harder to use (the flap). Plus, how many people realistically need waterproofing? I can guarantee a slimmer/sexier phone will outsell a waterproof one any day of the week,

    1. Waterproof is useful. But I agree, if it’s ugly I’d choose something else. But the S5 and Sony phones aren’t ugly like some rugged ones. I’m pretty sure they could have kept the S6 as nice as it is and still be waterproof….if they tried. I don’t think design has anything to do with it. Rumor is that iPhone 6S will be waterproof without compromising design.

  8. thought the active phone looked awful….I would hope they aim to make it more attractive. My N6 is “water proof”….but since they did not advertise that, I am in no way going to dip this thing in water haha. I seriously doubt I would with a phone that is advertised as “water proof” if I ever buy one. I’d be that ONE guy who had a friggin problem.

  9. I loved the Z3 for this reason. Given where I live in Socal, an active beach lifestyle is a common daily occurrence (or trail running, mtn biking). So, things like this, it is another step back for the S6 for me. How hard would it have been to make the S6 like the S5 in this respect?

  10. The gasket on the S5 was apiece of crap, most S5’s in the wild are not water resistant due to gasket failure. Better to do away with it entirely than give false security. My Moto X is far more water resistant than my S5.

    1. I remember that….they were pulling ads and werent they giving people grief over filing claims over water pressure?? or am i thinking of a different phone

    2. That’s why wireless Charging is so awesome. Sony makes awesome ports and on the Z3v it has wireless Charging. So I very rarely open the ports. Therefore I can take my phone trout fishing, rafting and get all the photos I need without buying an expensive waterproof camera as well

      1. I have the same phone.. Awesome!

        1. Ya it’s bad ass.

  11. I love the fact that I can use my S5 in the rain without worry. I don’t get it why they didn’t waterproof the S6? If people didn’t like the charging port cover, just design a phone that has a waterproof charging port.

    1. which, as many forget, samsung has already done – the S5 Mini

  12. I never understood why the magnetic charging port (like on the Sony Z3) does not become standard and just get rid of the USB port. If they did that it would be much easier to waterproof the phone. Just have to worry about mics, speaker and audio jack. Plus the magnetic plug is so much easier to use and … cool :P

    1. Wireless Charging is also an option like on the Z3v

  13. Damn it I just bought an S5, if there’s an S6 Active I will be peesed.

  14. So your saying if I want a waterproof phone it shouldn’t be sexy? I don’t get it? Why can’t the premium looking one be waterproof. My Z3 looks Sexy imo and is waterproof? The active series is cool and all but I think they look kinda ugly in comparison.

    1. No… I’m saying every phone can’t be everything and in the S6, Samsung chose to prioritize sexiness over weather proofing. They decided that the Galaxy S6 Active could harbor that specific purpose. And I’m not stating this as facts but as speculation/opinion. The main purpose of the article was really to remind people that an S6 Active is on the way- a fact that most people seem to be forgetting.

      1. Oh I’m not forgetting I know many people that buy the active series. I was just saying like it is possible to make a premium phone that is also waterproof and they could have done it if they wanted too. I understand your points though.

    2. Almost ANY phone can get waterproofed for $60 – without any flaps. Check out Liquipel.com. Sammy not doing it as a standard for all phones has to do with expiration dates more than anything else. IMO, every major manufacturer should be doing it standard, for the prices we are paying. You know the cost for them is highly fractional to the $60 after market retail price Liquipel charges. Being a Floridian, and someone that likes to catch the news in the shower, IP67 is a must from here out.

  15. Weatherproofing is nice but isn’t a necessity for me: if it’s there, cool. If not, cool. It’d be nice if it was available in the S6/S6 edge but I’m not losing sleep over it. I’m sure if the S6 edge is a hit (which I’m certain it will be, probably even more so than the regular S6), waterproofing – at the minimum – will be available in the 2016 model.

  16. Don’t need water resistance. The last one that was water damaged was a belt clipped Qualcomm QCP-2700 that fell in the toilet about 15 years ago. Phones now fit in the pocket so it’s no longer an issue.

    1. yeah its not necessary but its def a nice touch. some people enjoy changing songs or talking on phone or text while in shower, or pool side, or at the beach

      1. I think it’s potentially dangerous to give naive people ideas to use electronics in water since they’ll do something like using it plugged in in the shower then the manufacturer gets a bad wrap. Smart thing to do is build some level of water resistance but don’t promote it to avoid liability.

        1. or just say don’t use in water when charged… and then that way people can enjoy more out of a device they spent $600 on… instead of thinking they need to buy accessories they dont need

  17. Lack of SD card slot makes this a deal-breaker for me. I’ll be looking for something else

  18. S6 hardware + removable battery and microSD slot would be perfect. I couldn’t care less about the build materials/design, as it’ll be going in a plastic case anyway and my eyes are engaged with the screen. Waterproofing would be nice to have, but it doesn’t influence my decision at all. Please make it happen Samsung!

  19. Yes. There 100% will be/ is an active already designed.

  20. yet another reason not to get a s6? they may get the ‘oooh shiny’ people, but someone like me that root every phone they have and cares about more then how it looks? hell no

  21. In the last year I’ve seen a lot more people complain about the little USB port cover than cheer the fact that the phone was waterproof. I think most buyer just don’t care whether the phone is waterproof or not, so why should Samsung incur the expense of designing and building a feature that won’t really improve sales?

  22. Only way I see an S6 Active being intriguing is with sapphire in place of the overrated Gorilla Glass.

  23. Meanwhile Sony makes premium and waterproof phones for years :D

    1. Sony don’t make iPhone clones though so they don’t count ;)

  24. so what i’m picturing is:

    -take a note 4, and shrink it down to have a 5.1″ screen, probably even the same panel as the s6
    -removable plastic back, with a smooth, flat, possibly matte, texture to visually match the s6
    -the same physical keys as the s5 active
    -no sd card slot, still. i think samsung is officially dome with these, at least for their higher end phones.
    -the same camera sensor as the s5. I doubt they’d put OIS in a devices with milspec certification, but they’d want it to still be 16MP
    -AT&T exclusive in the states, because every active so far has been.

  25. A Galaxy S6 active would have been more useful than the Edge.

  26. There’s no way I will be paying almost a grand or better for a phone that dosent incorporate the water resistant features.. if they simply made the charge cover a simple slide instead of a pull out..I like the concept of the glass and the edge features but not sure they are worth the higher pricing. I don’t mind the non removable battery or the SD card thing. Although the removable SD card did allow for a bit of back up if something happened. I think we’re getting a sham of a deal with this design.. been fan of samsung for a while, active won reach the majority of the customers that would want it, for that. I think samsung may have screwed the pooch on this one.

  27. For me it’s all riding on battery life now. If the S6 Edge has true all-day power, I may consider it, and just send off to Liquipel prior to activation for nano-coating (it’s only $60)

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