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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Galaxy S6 gets sleekest metal/glass design, unremovable battery.
- 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.
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.