Samsung Galaxy S7 Active: The Olympic performer

The Olympic performer

GSMArena team, 29 June 2016.

Telephony

The Samsung Galaxy S7 active is available as a single-SIM phone and is exclusive to AT&T. Upon first opening of the dialer, we are greeted with a long winded message about AT&T video calling. This feature, though, is only usable between two Samsung devices on AT&T with AT&T carrier firmware so don't fret if you can't get it to work.

Other than that, the dialer and the phonebook are pretty much the usual TouchWiz deal.

AT&T video calling - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Dialer - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Smart dial - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Favorites - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Contacts - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
AT&T video calling Dialer Smart dial Favorites Contacts

The Do Not Disturb mode can be put on an automated schedule. When it's on, only priority notifications can get through, and you decide what counts as "priority" - it can be anything from calls from select contacts to reminders from key apps.

Do not disturb - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Do not disturb - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Do not disturb - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
Do not disturb

Text input

The Galaxy S7 active uses the good old Samsung keyboard; there's no sign of the A9 (2016)'s secondary symbols upon a long press. That aside, it's quite feature-packed, with a dedicated numbers row, a row above that for word suggestions, as well as swipe input.

Keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
Keyboard

The keyboard can be resized, but the range is quite limited, and in this case, you might as well stick with the default size. There's a high contrast keyboard mode, to help those with visual disabilities or if you have a preference to things with really high contrast.

Keyboard size: Smallest - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Keyboard size: Default - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Keyboard size: Biggest | High-contrast mode - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Keyboard size: Biggest | High-contrast mode - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
Keyboard size: Smallest Default Biggest | High-contrast mode

Additional typing tools include swipe input, My Hot Keys (predefined phrases that can be typed by long-pressing a number key) and voice dictation.

Loudspeaker

The Galaxy S7 active delivers better loudspeaker performance in our tests than the standard Galaxy S7 model yielding a "good" score. It's not the loudest speaker around, but you shouldn't be missing calls with this one unless you're in a really loud environment.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia X Performance 62.2 62.0 66.7 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy S7 66.5 62.1 66.2 Below Average
Apple iPhone 6s 66.5 64.6 65.8 Below Average
HTC 10 (Music mode) 63.1 66.7 74.3 Average
Samsung Galaxy S6 68.1 66.3 73.7 Good
LG G5 68.7 66.2 73.2 Good
Samsung Galaxy S7 active 72.1 66.3 78.5 Good

Pre-installed Apps

S Health is onboard, and it can fully utilize the heart-rate and blood oxygen sensors. It also tracks walking/running/cycling and you can manually input water and coffee intake and whatnot.

S health is Samsung's fitness app - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review S health is Samsung's fitness app - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review S health is Samsung's fitness app - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
S health is Samsung's fitness app

Smart Manager is a hub that controls several key areas - battery, RAM, Storage and Device security. It gives you tools to track down apps that drain the battery, use too much RAM and clean-up unnecessary files.

Smart Manager - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Cleaning up the storage - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Cleaning up the RAM - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Cleaning up the RAM - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
Smart Manager Cleaning up the storage Cleaning up the RAM

The Device Security tab lets you activate KNOX (protects the phone and OS from hacking but makes for longer boot times) and scan for malware. The My KNOX app lets you separate work and corporate apps and access by creating a secure, isolated space on the phone, which becomes inaccessible as soon as KNOX detects an unauthorized change in the OS.

KNOX security manager - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review KNOX security manager - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
KNOX security manager

The My Files app is the default file browser. It features Google Drive integration. You can ZIP folders to make them easier to share as a single file. It also allows batch file operations.

My Files - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review My Files - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review My Files - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review My Files - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
My Files

Finally, there's Galaxy Apps, Samsung's own app store. Galaxy Essentials is a good place to find great tools (like Kids Mode), but for general app shopping, you would probably be better off with Google Play.

Galaxy Apps - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Galaxy Apps - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Galaxy Apps - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Galaxy Apps - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review Galaxy Apps - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
Galaxy Apps

AT&T bloatware

Yes, there is, unfortunately, AT&T bloatware and it's enough to get its own mini chapter. These are sixteen apps that cannot be uninstalled from your phone. The only thing you can do is disable them, but even then, they'll still be taking up your internal storage.

AT&T folder in the app drawer - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review AT&T folder in the app drawer - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review AT&T folder in the app drawer - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active review
AT&T folder in the app drawer

Fortunately, disabling them is easier thanks to the "edit" button in the upper right corner of the app drawer. Perhaps you'll use some of these apps regularly like Amazon, Kindle, Uber, and maybe the Plenti app if you are a frequent customer.

Reader comments

  • Dago

Please I need to find out if this movil works with 3g hsdpa 900 mhz? Some pages says yes but... Thanks

  • AnonD-185684

Battery life is subjective. because we all dont use our phones the same.

  • Anonymous

Samsung does not publish kernel source code for exynos devices. So no development for exynos, unless it comes from Samsung. I'm not a big fan of qualcomm either, but I would choose a device with qualcomm chip