Samsung Denies Galaxy S7 Active Smartphones Have Water Leak Problems

Consumer Reports claims that water tests showed two S7 Active phones leak and be ruined. Samsung said it stands behind the phones.

Galaxy S7 Active, water resistance, Samsung, smartphones, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Consumer Reports, water test

When two Samsung Galaxy S7 Active water-resistant smartphones failed water-submersion tests conducted recently by Consumer Reports, Samsung reviewed the tests and said it was talking with the consumer group about the situation.

Now Samsung is defending its Galaxy S7 Active smartphones, saying that the handsets meet the IP68 water-resistance specifications as designed, without offering further comment or explanation of how the Consumer Reports test problems might have occurred.

"The Galaxy S7 Active passed rigorous tests to ensure IP68 certification for water resistance," Samsung officials said in a statement posted July 15 on the company's Website. "Samsung stands behind this water-resistance certification, and will replace any Galaxy S7 Active under its standard limited warranty, should water damage occur."

A Samsung spokesman did not immediately respond to an email inquiry from eWEEK about the dispute.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 Active smartphone is the ruggedized version of its popular Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphone lines, which are built to be water-resistant. The Consumer Reports tests of the S7 Active handsets were conducted to test Samsung's water-resistance claims, according to a July 8 article in the magazine, by submerging a Galaxy S7 Active handset in the equivalent of 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. The first phone was placed in a water tank that was pressurized to 2.12 pounds per square inch to simulate 5 feet of water, and a timer was set for 30 minutes, the story reported.

"When we removed the phone, the screen was obscured by green lines, and tiny bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front- and rear-facing cameras," according to the story. "The touch-screen wasn't responsive."

Following the first failed test, a second Galaxy S7 Active was tested and also failed, according to Consumer Reports. "After we removed it from the tank, the screen cycled on and off every few seconds, and moisture could be seen in the front and back camera lenses," the report concluded. "We also noticed water in the slot holding the SIM card."

The display screens of both phones would light up when the phones were plugged in over the following several days, the article added, but the displays could not be read. "The phones never returned to functionality," the article said.

In an earlier post on its own Website, Samsung responded to the Consumer Reports article on July 8 by saying that the S7 Active is "IP68-certified for water resistance and has gone through strict quality assurance testing to ensure that it meets and exceeds industry standards. We are currently speaking with Consumer Reports to understand their experience and will closely explore their feedback."

Consumer Reports previously had tested the standard S7 and S7 Edge smartphones for water-resistance compliance with the IP68 specifications and both passed the tests, according to the publication.

In a television ad for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, hip-hop star Lil Wayne pours champagne over the phone and dunks it in a fish tank to impress several friends.

The standard Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones currently top Consumer Reports' smartphone ratings, with excellent scores for their displays, battery life, cameras and other attributes, according to the magazine.

The ruggedized Galaxy S7 Active was launched in June exclusively by AT&T, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The handset follows the ruggedized Galaxy S6 Active that launched in mid-2015, but gained a bevy of improvements from the latest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones. The S7 Active has a shatter-resistant and water-resistant 5.1-inch Super AMOLED Quad HD touch-screen display and is aimed at users who work and use their phones in hostile environmental and physical conditions. The $795 phone also meets MIL-STD-810G specifications for dirt, dust, temperature, shock and salt resistance. The 5.1-inch display is the same size as the one found on the Galaxy S7 handset.

The Galaxy S7 Active features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of memory, 32GB of on-board storage, a microSD card slot for expandable storage up to 200GB, a 4,000mAh battery and fast charging capabilities. It runs on the Android Marshmallow operating system.

The S7 Active includes many of the features of the latest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets, including a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with Dual Pixel technology for great images even in low light conditions, a fingerprint sensor for security and the Samsung Knox defense-grade mobile security platform to protect user data. The handset also includes an always-on display, a customizable "Active" key that can be set to call up an oft-used function, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera and WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 and near-field communications connectivity capabilities.

Samsung's S7 and S7 Edge smartphones debuted in March. The Galaxy S7 features a 5.1-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display (2,560 by 1,440) while the Galaxy S7 Edge features a 5.5-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED display (2,560 by 1,440).