Samsung has announced a rugged version of its super Galaxy S8 smartphone. The company has described the Galaxy S8 Active as the "toughest Galaxy yet", adding various alterations that turn the S8 into a more suitable device for those in the construction field, those who enjoy the outdoors or those who generally need a slightly tougher device.
Is the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active the better device for you over the Galaxy S8? Here are the differences and similarities between the Galaxy S8 Active and the standard Galaxy S8 to help you decide.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Design
- S8 Active is larger, thicker and heavier
- S8 Active is MIL-STD-810G compliant
- Both have rear fingerprint sensor, single lens camera and USB Type-C
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active has been designed around a metal frame but it features a more rugged structure to make it MIL-STD-810G compliant meaning shock, shatter, water and dust resistance, rather than just water and dust resistant like the Galaxy S8.
It is constructed with military-grade materials and it features a bumper around the edges to protect it against shock, abrasion, tilting or twisting, while the back is covered with a tough texture for a more secure grip compared to the glass rear found on the standard S8 device.
The Galaxy S8 Active measures 151.9 x 74.9 x 9.9mm and weighs 208.1g, while the standard Galaxy S8 measures 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm and weighs 155g, meaning the Active model is larger, thicker and heavier.
A similar design story runs across both devices and it is clear they are cut from a similar cloth, but the standard S8 is the slimmer and neater of the two, while the S8 Active is bulkier. Both have almost all-screen fronts, USB Type-C, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a single-lens camera on the rear with a fingerprint sensor to the right.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Display
- Both 5.8-inch screens, Super AMOLED
- S8 Active has shatterproof display
- S8 Active has flat screen, S8 has curved
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active and standard Galaxy S8 both feature a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The S8 Active features a shatter-resistant layer of protection though, along with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, while the standard S8 just has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
Resolutions vary between the two devices too, though only slightly. The S8 Active has a standard Quad HD resolution, which puts its pixel density at 506ppi, while the S8 has a Quad HD+ resolution at 2960 x 1440 pixels for a pixel density of 570ppi. That means the S8 will have a sharper, crisper display overall, though it's unlikely to be too noticeable.
It is not clear if the S8 Active offers Mobile HDR Premium like the S8 does but both devices offer an Always-On display in order to see some notifications without turning the main display on. The only other difference between the S8 Active and the S8 in terms of display is the S8 Active has a flat display, while the S8 has an edge-to-edge design.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Camera
- Same camera on front and rear
- 12MP rear, 8MP front
- 4K video recording from rear
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active and Galaxy S8 both have the same camera capabilities. On the rear you will find a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera with an f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation, along with an LED flash.
Meanwhile, the front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, autofocus and iris scanning capabilities. The rear snapper is capable of 4K video recording, while the front offers 1080p.
Both cameras offer fantastic results based on our experience with them on the Galaxy S8 so we'd expect the same from the Galaxy S8 Active.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Hardware
- S8 Active has a larger battery
- Both have same processor, RAM and storage
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active has much of the same hardware as the Galaxy S8, but it changes things up when it comes to battery capacity, offering a 4000mAh cell over the 3000mAh cell in the standard model.
Other specifications remain the same though with the Exynos 8895 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 under the hood, depending on the region, along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Both models offer microSD support for storage expansion up to 256GB.
The two devices also both support fast charging and wireless charging, and they both offer support for 32-bit audio too. As we mentioned previously, there is a USB Type-C port on both devices, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Software
- Both Android Nougat with TouchWiz
- S8 Active has quick access to certain features
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active and Galaxy S8 both run on Android Nougat with Samsung's TouchWiz software over the top meaning they will both offer virtually identical user experiences.
The two devices both support Samsung's personal assistant Bixby too, though the Hello Bixby home screen is slightly different on the S8 Active compared to the S8. It will offer quick access to active lifestyle features including a stopwatch, barometer, compass and flashlight for outdoor adventures.
The standard S8 has these features too though they aren't in a specific area like they are with the Active model.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Price
- Pre-order Samsung Galaxy S8 Active on AT&T
- S8 Active slightly more expensive
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active will be available in Meteor Grey or Titanium Gold and it will be exclusive to US network AT&T for a limited time. It will cost around $850. UK and global pricing and availability has yet to be detailed.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 costs £689 / $725 and it is available in six colours, though not all colours are available in every region.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Conclusion
The majority of the differences between the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active and the standard Galaxy S8 lie within their designs. The S8 Active model has a more rugged finish, is shatter and shock proof as well as water and dust proof and it offers a flat display over a curved one.
It is more about toughness than beauty and it should last that little bit longer too thanks to the extra 1000mAh battery capacity. Aside from the battery though, the S8 Active and S8 share the same hardware so their performance should be on par, as well as their camera capabilities.
The S8 Active is for those who need a tougher device, or for those than plan on putting a rugged case on the standard S8 model, while the standard S8 is for those that are careful with their smartphone and want a sleek and stylish device.