Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 active: What’s the difference?

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 26 Jun 2015

Galaxy S6 Active

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge might be Samsung’s flagship handset of 2015, but to cater to a slightly rough audience, the company also launched an ‘active’ version of the handset earlier this month.

The Galaxy S6 active is available exclusively on AT&T in the United States, so the only option that consumers have in other regions of the world is to buy the normal Galaxy S6. However, if you live in the United States and are on AT&T’s network, you have the option to buy the Galaxy S6 active as well. But should you? Read below and find out yourself.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - the camera, LED flash and heart rate sensor cluster

Here’s what’s common

  • Both phones feature a beautiful 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display — arguably the best display found in a smartphone currently.
  • They are powered by Samsung’s octa-core 64-bit Exynos 7422 chipset, which is based on the 14nm fabrication process and does not have any overheating issues.
  • The 16MP OIS camera with an F/1.9 found on the rear of both handsets, is currently considered among the best smartphones cameras. They also come with a 5MP F/1.9 aperture front-facing camera.
  • The single LED flash on the back of the phones is accompanied by a heart rate monitor.
  • Both variants of the Galaxy S6 feature Qi and PMA wireless charging as well as fast charging.

Where the Galaxy S6 wins

  • If you want a great looking handset with a slim design, the Galaxy S6 wins hands down. While the Galaxy S6 is only 6.8mm thin, the S6 active has a waistline of 8.6mm. The latter is also heavier (150g), taller (146.8mm) and wider (73.4mm) when compared to the Galaxy S6 (138gms heavy, 143.4 x 70.5mm big).
  • The Galaxy S6 comes with an integrated fingerprint scanner on its home button, which is as good as the one found on the iPhone — if not better. The Galaxy S6 active trades in the fingerprint integrated home button and the capacitive navigation keys from its prettier sibling in favor of rugged plastic keys, which look downright ugly.
  • While the Galaxy S6 does not come with a microSD card slot, it is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage variants. The Galaxy S6 active, however, is only available with 32GB of internal storage space.
  • You can buy the Galaxy S6 from almost any carrier or retail shop in any region of the world, while the Galaxy S6 active is only available through AT&T in the United States.

Where the Galaxy S6 active wins

  • IP68 certification means the S6 active is dust and water resistant for up to 30 minutes in 1.5m of water.
  • MIL-STD-810G certification makes the phone salt, dust, humidity, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock resistant.
  • The Galaxy S6 active comes with a beefy 3,500mAh battery, which means it can easily last a day of heavy usage. On the other hand, the Galaxy S6 comes with a 2,550mAh battery and struggles to make it through the day.
  • The Galaxy S6 active is meant for rugged use and can easily survive drops and rough usage. Heck, you can run over a car on the phone and it might just come out unscathed. Since the Galaxy S6 features a glass front and back, it looks more pretty, but will probably suffer serious damage when dropped from a decent height on to concrete.


If you want a phone that can survive being dropped from heights, being dunked in water, and easily last a day of camping, then the Galaxy S6 active is for you. And if you want a phone that looks pretty, features a fingerprint scanner for additional security and has oodles of storage space, go for the Galaxy S6 (or the Galaxy S6 edge).