Here's What It Takes to Kill the Galaxy S6 Active

When Samsung told us it was happy to get the Galaxy S6 Active it loaned us back in pieces, I took that as a green light to go nuts. And I did. But just how much of a beating can this rugged smartphone take?

Rated at IP68 for dust- and water-resistance, the S6 Active (AT&T exclusive) is supposed to survive being under 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of water for up to 30 mins. It's also supposed to withstand drops from less than or equal to 4 feet onto a flat surface. But it can apparently do so much more.

In what is the most cathartic assignment I've received to date, I tortured the Galaxy S6 Active in all sorts of ways to find its breaking point.

Test 1: Water-resistance

I dropped the Active into a 9.5-inch-deep tank of water, and left it there for 29 mins. When I took it out, the handset was just as responsive as it had been before being submerged, and apps launched quickly. Score one for the Active.

Test 2: Drop down stairsHow many times have you felt fear grip your heart after you dropped your phone down the subway stairs or on the sidewalk? The Active is supposed to survive most falls, but we decided to see if it would hold up after a trip down more than a dozen concrete steps.

Because it was the Active, I felt no anxiety at all after the phone stopped tumbling. It survived the fall without a scratch. If it had been my iPhone 5s , I'm sure my heart would have leaped out of my mouth.

The Active survived two such falls, both caught on video. We picked the clip in which the handset made it all the way down to the landing.

Test 3: Rage-smacking against the edge of a banister

Saving the worst for last, I summoned my pent-up rage from losing at Flappy Birds and took it out on the S6 Active's Gorilla Glass 4 display. According to Corning (makers of Gorilla Glass), Gorilla Glass 4 is twice as likely to survive a 1-meter (3.2-foot) drop onto a rough surface than its predecessor.

I took a lot of liberty with that definition, smacking the phone's display against the banister of our staircase repeatedly. Impressively, the display and handset both held up.

I did the same thing again at the request of our videographer, who wanted a re-shoot to get better focus. This time, though, the Active's display met its unfortunate demise.

It's worth noting that although the display cracked and didn't turn back on, the phone itself still appeared to be working. The Active started ringing, presumably because someone was calling, an hour after I ruined the screen. I just couldn't answer it.

Bottom Line

Color me impressed. After surviving a barrage of torture tests, the S6 Active finally gave out under extreme conditions. As long as you don't take out your rage on the Active's display, you'll find this phone worthy of nearly anything you throw at it or drop it on. For more on the Galaxy S6 Active and how it compares to other leading flagships, stay tuned for our full review.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low should see a therapist. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.