A new video by consumer reports shows a test of the AT&T exclusive Galaxy S7 Active's IP68 waterproofing. The IP68 certification means that the device should be able to withstand water at a depth of up to five feet for a period of up to 30 minutes. Consumer Reports submerged the Galaxy S7 Active in a tank pressurized to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch (the pressurization is meant to simulate a depth of five feet) for 30 minutes, and the results were surprising.
The Galaxy S7 Active did not, in fact, survive the water test. Samsung says "there may be an off chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be." However, Consumer Reports, as is standard practice for them when conducting these types of tests, also submerged another unit, with similar results. After the tests, the display on the first unit was completely distorted, with colored lines filling up more than half the screen. The second unit didn't fare quite as badly, but did have significant flicker in the display, and water inside the glass components and SIM card tray. Both units were still experiencing problems after being given several days to dry out.
Although Samsung does cover water damage under the Galaxy S7 active's warranty, having your device repaired or replaced can be a hassle, so knowing how it stands up to water before buying it may affect your purchasing decision or the way you use your S7 active once you have it. Samsung calls the Galaxy S7 active "one of the most rugged phones to date". But because of its inability to stand up to the water test, it didn't make the Consumer Reports list of recommended phones. The standard Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge remain at the top of their list. Ironically, both devices stand up to the same test flawlessly. This is unusual, considering that the Galaxy S7 active is designed to be a more durable version of the Galaxy S7. Consumer Reports does point out that the Galaxy S7 Active performs very well in the other tests they conducted on it, so if you just need a great device that can take a beating this may still be a good choice. But if you need a device that will be able to stand up to water well, the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge may be a better option.