X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active not so tough after all (pictures)

Apart from a few hardware buttons and some reinforced corners, the Galaxy S5 Active isn't so different from the original Galaxy S5 -- which makes it a great choice for anyone.

jessica-dolcourt-6462
jessica-dolcourt-6462
Jessica Dolcourt
samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
1 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Go wild

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active may have a tough exterior, especially with this camouflage coloring, but it's much more like the original Galaxy S5 than you might think.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
2 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Who's it for? Anyone

It may boast a sturdier chassis, but inside, the GS5 Active has (almost) all the Android 4.4 KitKat goodness as the S5, and all of Samsung's own additions as well, like a heart-rate monitor -- though it lacks the fingerprint scanner.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
3 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Button-pusher

Physical navigation buttons are responsive alternatives to capacitive controls, and do all the same things.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
4 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Blending in

In addition to Camo Green, you can get the S5 Active in Ruby Red or Titanium Grey.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
5 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Hard body

With reinforced plastic corners and no silvery trim, the S5 Active can take more rough-housing. I shoved it pretty hard between these branches, without incurring any dents, scuffs, or dings.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
6 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Grip gripe

However, it's too bad that the material along the top and sides isn't grippier.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
7 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

For your convenience

See that blue button? That's for you. A short press opens up a dashboard for sports-related apps and a long press launches the camera. Don't worry, you can swap functions all you'd like in the Settings.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
8 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Active dash

Here's a look at the default Activity Zone that Samsung installed. It has a compass, barometer, flashlight, and stopwatch.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
9 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Edge master

Straight sides and grooved edges were designed to make the phone easier to hang onto.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
10 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Blast off

An IR blaster on top will let you control your TV from the couch.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
11 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Camera power

The Active's 16-megapixel camera matches the GS5 original with excellent image quality and the option to record ultra-HD video.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
12 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Screw that

There are four nubs on the back panel that look a little like screws. Don't be fooled, the back panel comes off with nothing more than a strong fingernail wedged beneath an indentation.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
13 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Not so pocket-friendly

A tad taller, wider, and thicker than the already-big S5, the Active is a bit more of a pocket-buster.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
14 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Remember the S4 Active?

Ignore the fatigue and you can see that the S5 Active is still pretty similar to the S4 Active that came before, but with a flatter back, less grippy coating, and an added convenience key.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
15 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Compared to the Galaxy S5

Here, the S5 Active sits alongside its kin, the S5 flagship. Internally, the two share the same screen size, processor, RAM, and battery specs.

samsung-galaxy-s5-active-3139-001.jpg
16 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

A smidge more

Look closely and you can see the Active's slightly more inflated size and bulk.

More Galleries

Huge Historic Locomotives and More at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum
western-pacific-railroad-museum-1-of-49

Huge Historic Locomotives and More at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum

47 Photos
2023 Honda Accord Debuts New Look, Hybrid Updates
2023 Honda Accord Hybrid

2023 Honda Accord Debuts New Look, Hybrid Updates

69 Photos
2023's Best TV and Streaming Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
mandalorian-3-social.png

2023's Best TV and Streaming Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

62 Photos
Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference
james-webb-seq-00-14-05-10-still002

Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference

12 Photos
OnePlus 11 Flaunts Its Curving Glass and Metal Body
Image showing a OnePlus phone

OnePlus 11 Flaunts Its Curving Glass and Metal Body

31 Photos
Harry Potter NYC in photos: A slice of Hogwarts tucked away in Manhattan
hp-nyc-store

Harry Potter NYC in photos: A slice of Hogwarts tucked away in Manhattan

24 Photos
See Samsung's Galaxy S23 Lineup
Samsung Galaxy S23

See Samsung's Galaxy S23 Lineup

10 Photos