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Samsung's Galaxy S8 Active is tougher than your S8

Ready, set, drop!

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Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

The Galaxy S8 Active is not going to break when it slips your grip.

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2 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung's latest in its line of tougher Galaxy phones, the Active ditches the S8's fragile glass backing.

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3 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

In its place are reinforced plastic sides, with a special emphasis on protecting the corners.

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4 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Four screws drive home the idea of toughness, but they're just for show.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
5 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

The S8 Active is rated to withstand water, dust, humidity, extreme temperatures and shock.

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6 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Its software is identical to the Galaxy S8.

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7 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

You'll notice that the backing is grippier than the S8...

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8 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

...and that the edges are less rounded.

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9 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

The two phones share the same excellent 12-megapixel camera.

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10 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

And have the same Bixby Voice button on the side. In past phones in the Active line, this used to open a health app or any other app you chose. Our loss.

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11 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Now, you only get Bixby.

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12 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

You also don't have any buttons on the front of the phone, allowing for more screen real estate at the cost of more tactile control.

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13 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

You get a standard headphone jack and USB-C charger port.

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14 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Compare the S8 Active, left, and Galaxy S8.

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15 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Active is definitely a chunkier hold.

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16 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

And the S8's edges look fragile by comparison.

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17 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

The contrast is pretty stark when you compare from the bottom...

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18 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

...or from the side.

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19 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Once you put the Galaxy S8 in a case, they get to be about the same size.

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20 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

When I dropped both phones, the S8's case helped protect it from scratches and scruffs equal to the S8 Active's built-in shell.

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21 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

One more look at the two S8s side by side.

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22 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Both the Galaxy S8 and the S8 Active are water-resistant.

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23 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

There's one other extra that the S8 Active has on top of the regular Galaxy S8, and that's a larger battery.

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24 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

The S8 Active's battery kept going for an average of 24 hours in our tests.

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25 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Whichever phone you chose, you're getting some quality hardware specs.

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26 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Read even more pros and cons in our full Galaxy S8 Active review.

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