The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is the rough-and-tough follow-up to the Korean tech company’s newest flagship smartphone. But unlike the S4 and its Active counterpart, which had significant differences between them, there isn’t much that sets the S5 Active apart from its predecessor. As Business Insider puts it, it’s “almost the same phone as the regular Galaxy S5.”

Durability

The important thing here is to not be confused by what Samsung is going for with its Active line of Galaxy S phones. Just like the S4 version, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is not meant to be a phone that takes a beating. While it does have improved dust, water, and scratch resistance, it is far from indestructible.

Rather, it is a phone made for active users, offering a built-in heart rate monitor, a tougher camera, and a physical “convenience key” that quickly brings up special outdoor tools like a flashlight and a compass. For users looking for a phone that can handle the bumps and jostles of a weekend hiking trip or a run around the city, the S5 Active is a great choice; however, as CNET puts it, “without a truly rugged construction or deep sports modes, you’d be better off thinking of it as a hulkier Galaxy S5 than as a truly impervious handset made just for hardbodies.”

Functionality and the Active Key

The S5 Active is almost identical in power and capability to the S5, meaning that Samsung didn’t skimp on performance when redesigning. The rear camera touts 16 megapixels, complemented by the 2-megapixel camera on the front. The flash doubles as a survivalist’s tool that can not only be used as a flashlight, but also allows the user to tap out Morse code.

Despite this, the main new feature on this phone is the “Active” key, a button that sits above the volume rocker on the side of the bezel. Pressing this key brings up the “Activity Zone” which displays elevation, compass directions, atmospheric pressure, and is customizable to include other statistics, such as those reported by S Health or RunKeeper. Going into “Settings” will also let the user change the Active key into a shortcut button for almost any application, which is especially useful for those who won’t need to use the Activity Zone often.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is exactly what it was expected to be and nothing more. It’s a bulkier and slightly better-protected version of the S5 that comes with a grittier design, a heart rate monitor, and hardened control keys, but there’s nothing wrong with having options.

Right now, the phone is selling at AT&T for $200. Would you be willing to pay more if it came loaded with more features?

Image courtesy of Flickr


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