The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is the latest rugged addition to Samsung’s flagship line of high-end smartphones. Samsung has taken the extremely popular and technologically advanced Galaxy S5 and brought it up to Military Standard 810G for durability and resistance against salt, dust, humidity, vibration, heat, and shock. By combining the top of the line features of the Galaxy S5 like a 16 megapixel camera, heart rate monitor, 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core process, and more with a rugged exterior, Samsung has created one of the most versatile phones ever. The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is a phone that can do almost everything.
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Those who gravitate towards the great outdoors and an active lifestyle have long loved the Samsung Galaxy S5. After all, it's waterproof, which means that it won't be destroyed during a day at the lake or boating. Those who really love getting rough and tumble, however, would be wise to check out the new Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. Exclusive to AT&T (Priced at $199 after a two-year agreement), this rugged phone feels a little heavier in one's hand, but can stand up to tougher conditions.
A Rugged Look
This phone doesn't mess around. The Galaxy S5 Active is made of plastic instead of metal, increasing its durability. Those who want their phone to look as tough as it is can order their phone in Camo-style green, in addition to the classic gray and a ruby red finish. Rounded bumpers help to prevent the phone from being damaged should you drop it, although textured edges make this heavy phone a lot easier to grip onto.
The presence of a flap over the microUSB port helps to ensure the Active S5's resilience against water. The buttons are raised instead of flat, making it easier to turn on and off, or to control the volume when using the phone to play music. The phone comes built-in with a 16-MP camera, in addition to a heart rate sensor that active types are sure to appreciate.
If you pop off the back panel, you'll find access to both the SIM card and the microSD card. The Active S5 comes with a standard 16GB of memory, but users may expand this by investing in a microSD with a larger capacity.
Resilient and Tough
Nowadays, cracked smart phones are almost more commonplace than pristine ones. Merely letting your phone slip out of your grip and fall four feet to the ground can oftentimes result in a spiderweb crack that renders the touch screen useless. The Galaxy S5 Active takes this into account and protects your phone from falls with its heavy-duty design, in addition to its Military Standard 810G shock resistance.
The main appeal of the original Galaxy S5 is that it can withstand being submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes. While the touch screen isn't functional underwater (we imagine that's going to be a feature of the next generation of the S5), the phone won't suffer any damage. The S5 Active has the same aquatic resiliency. Furthermore, this phone allows you to take pictures underwater, a feature that boating and diving enthusiasts are sure to have fun with.
The phone probably won't stand up to high falls onto hard surfaces. Small drops, however, are less likely to damage the Active S5 than they were to the original. The Active will also perform excellently at high altitudes, extreme temperatures and humid conditions.
Two of the unique features of the Active S5 are the Active Key and Activity Zone. By pressing the Active Key and launching the Activity Zone, you can access a myriad of features designed just for active folks. A flashlight, barometer, compass and stopwatch allow you to use this phone as an all-in-one outdoor tool. As a shortcut, hold down the Active Key to pull up the camera function.
A Sleek Output and Impressive Audio
The display on the Galaxy S4 Active was a tad disappointing. Not so is the case with the S5 Active. A 5.1-inch, full HD, 1920 x 1080 screen render a display that is downright brilliant. Streaming video is a joy on the S5 Active, with both colors and details that are vibrant and easy to see, thanks to a display that provides 154.9% of the sRGB color gamut.
If you want to blast some tunes during your outdoor excursions, the S5 Active has you covered. The back speaker is more powerful than the regular S5, offering just under 80 decibels of clear sound. While some users may find that the sound of music is a bit distorted when played at maximum volume, songs are clear at a reasonable volume. Furthermore, GPS descriptions and spoken words are plenty clear, even at maximum volume.
The Galaxy S5 Active utilizes the same TouchWiz interface as its S5 predecessor. Those who previously used a S4 Active will be pleased to see that the S5 Active boasts more options and features than the S4, while also providing users with a cleaner and smoother experience. The layout is simple and minimalist, while also being highly functional.
Voice-operated Google search is accessible at the home screen, making this phone extremely convenient for fast searches. A quick swipe to the left will access "MyMagazine," Samsung's decent-but-nothing-special news page. A swipe down will take you to the quick settings, allowing you to quickly make small adjustments, such as changing the phone's brightness.
TouchWiz isn't without its flaws, especially when compared to the iPhone's interface. Users would be wise to disable the unlock and touch sounds that Samsung inexplicably programs onto all of their phones, as they're constant and irritating. Finding a specific app or feature is slower than it is on an iPhone, requiring more swipes. The option to organize important apps, the way the iPhone allows you to do with the Spotlight feature, would be appreciated.
A Wide Array of Apps and Features
AT&T is a fan of loading a lot of their own apps onto their Samsung Galaxy devices. While some are useful, many are cumbersome and fairly useless. myAT&T is useful for checking on your billing and usage, but pre-loaded apps like AT&T Navigator are nothing more than a cash grab. After all, users would be foolish to pay to use AT&T's navigation app when Google Maps does the same thing without the monthly ten dollar charge.
The aforementioned Activity Zone is one of the more unique and appreciated apps that are available pre-loaded on the S5 Active. In addition to this, the heart rate monitor, which works with the S Health app, is a dream come true for active types. Beyond monitoring your heart rate, this app allows you to keep track of your steps ran or walked, calories burned and consumed and distance traveled. The app contains information on popular fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King, allowing users to log calories easily when they're on the go.
Camera and Battery
Battery life and camera specs are two of the most important details for most smart phone shoppers. The Galaxy S5 Active doesn't disappoint on either. The 16-MP camera takes sharp, clear photos, in addition to offering users cool features like Selective Focus and Real Time HDR, which allows you to preview your photos before you hit snap. The Selective Focus is a fairly ingenious feature, allowing users to decide if they want the background or the foreground to be the focus in a photo that they've taken.
If you're addicted to taking selfies, you'll appreciate the "Beauty Mode," which smooths out wrinkles and imperfections. The one flaw of the S5 Active's camera was its ability to take photos indoors in dim light. While the photos were great, they paled in comparison to indoor shots taken by iPhones. However, shots taken outdoors in natural sunlight were impressive.
You won't be disappointed by the S5 Active's battery. With 2,800 mAh, the phone can last for up to ten hours without requiring a charge, and that's with constant internet surfing and activity. The average for any smart phone is just under eight hours, so the S5 Active is a step above the rest. This is even one more reason why it's an above-average option for outdoors types who need their phones to last during long excursions.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, this phone is marketed for active types who love the great outdoors. This is evidenced by everything from its design to its features. However, don't think that you need to be the next Bear Grylls to enjoy the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. Anyone with a busy life will enjoy this phone; after all, it's resilient, has a great battery life and has plenty of features that will help you during your day-to-day activities, whether you're recording your activity at the gym or navigating while driving around town. As far as Galaxies go, the S5 Active is a superior model and a great next advancement of the S5 series.
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