Can Samsung's Galaxy S8 Active Stand Out as a Rugged Smartphone?

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tCan Samsung's Galaxy S8 Active Stand Out as a Rugged Smartphone?

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has quickly become one of the more appealing—and successful—high-end smartphones on the market. But Samsung isn't done yet. The company is planning a new version this summer called the Galaxy S8 Active. The handset, which will be designed with those more prone to damaging their devices in mind, will have a similar design to the Galaxy S8 but offer far more protection. Under the hood, its components will be better protected against water or particle intrusion than those in the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8 Active will deliver essential changes to Samsung's popular handset. And this eWEEK slide show will discuss some of the rumors surrounding the handset.

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The Same Design Philosophy

Samsung doesn’t have a new design philosophy with the Galaxy S8 Active. The device has the same basic design as the Galaxy S8, including a big screen that could top out at 6.2 inches, along with a premium look and feel.

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A Rugged Design

Ruggedness separates the Galaxy S Active from the Galaxy S. With the Galaxy S8 Active, users can take advantage of the additional protection in the Active versions. The Galaxy S8 Active will be far more shock- and crack-proof than the Galaxy S8, and also might be better at keeping liquid and dust out of the case.

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Expect to Find Android Nougat

Based on the expected timing of the Galaxy S8 Active’s release, the handset most likely will ship with Android Nougat. Android O won’t be ready by Samsung’s projected ship date of this summer. Users should expect the same software experience in the Galaxy S8 Active as they get in the Galaxy S8.

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Bixby Will Be Included

Samsung’s virtual personal assistant Bixby will come with the Galaxy S8 Active. Bixby allows users to make to-do lists, of course, but it also provides contextual information about products, shopping help and on-the-fly language translations. It’s a high-powered virtual assistant found only on Samsung products.

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An Important Display Choice

According to reports, the Galaxy S8 Active will have an Infinity Display design, with curved edges that spill over the side and nearly entirely cover the smartphone’s face. If so, the Galaxy S8 Active might ship with a virtual home button rather than a physical alternative.

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Don't Expect Such a Thin Device

Samsung has said the Galaxy S8 is one of the more portable handsets on the market. However, the Galaxy S8 Active’s protective features will make it much bulkier. Users who want a thinner handset—but one that might be more prone to damage—should choose the Galaxy S8.

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Cameras Will Still Matter

Samsung has always included solid front- and rear-facing cameras to deliver impressive picture quality in the Active line. The same is likely true this year, though the company likely will opt for the dual-pixel camera found in the Galaxy S8 rather than the dual-lens design expected in the upcoming Galaxy Note 8.

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Carrier Agnosticism, Perhaps?

One of the big questions surrounding the Galaxy S8 Active is whether it will work on any carrier network. An unlocked device would allow for access on Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T or Verizon. A locked version would force users into one carrier network. It should be interesting to see what Samsung chooses.

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Some Battery-Charging Features

The Galaxy S8 Active likely will come with the same battery as the Galaxy S8, allowing it to run all day on a single charge. It might also support USB-C charging for fast battery recharges. And yes, it will be held to the same safety standards as the Galaxy S8’s battery packs.

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Some Release Date Hints

Some questions linger over Samsung’s release date for the Galaxy S8 Active. A recent leak on its site revealed the device will be unveiled in June or July. When that happens, expect it to cost around the same as the Galaxy S8, which costs $750, or the Galaxy S8+, which goes for $850.

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