Galaxy S8 Active vs Galaxy S8: Is it Worth $100 More?

One of the best smartphones on the market just got a lot more durable. But it also debuts with a much higher price tag.

Galaxy S8 Active (Credit: Samsung)

(Image credit: Galaxy S8 Active (Credit: Samsung))

AT&T and Samsung have taken the wraps off the Galaxy S8 Active, which it bills as a more rugged, longer-lasting version of the Galaxy S8.

What's different is that this new Galaxy device should be able to take more of a pounding. Samsung touts the S8 Active's screen as shatterproof, and it says the new phone can withstand shocks, water and dust. The Moto Z2 Force is also shatterproof, but it's not water-resistant.

Instead of the curved edges of the S8's display, the S8 Active features a flat screen accompanied by a metal frame that's designed to stand up to inadvertent drops and bumps.

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SpecsGalaxy S8 ActiveGalaxy S8
Price$850$750 (on AT&T)
Display (Pixels)5.8 inches (2960 x 1440)5.8 inches (2960 x 1440)
Rear Camera12 MP12 MP
Front Camera8 MP8 MP
CPUSnapdragon 835Snapdragon 835
Battery4,000 mAh3,000 mAh
Battery LifeNot yet tested10:39
ColorsMeteor Gray, Titanium GoldMidnight Black, Orchid Grey, Arctic Silver

The S8 Active certainly commands a premium over Samsung's flagship phone. The S8 Active is available for pre-order from AT&T for $850, or $28.34 if you pay for the phone in 30 monthly installments.

To put that price in context, AT&T sells the Galaxy S8 for $750 right now. But Samsung is offering the Galaxy S8 for $575 at the moment, though that price reflects a $150 discount off the regular $725 price tag. A 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ will cost you $675 currently, discounted from the regular $825 asking price.

Galaxy S8 Active

Samsung is betting that people who want the added durability will pay up for the S8 Active. Other than being tough on the outside, the new phone is a lot like the S8 that debuted earlier this year. It's got the same 5.8-inch Quad HD display wit the extra-wide 18.5:9 aspect ratio that Samsung introduced with the S8. The S8 Active also features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage — all features you'll find on the S8.

The S8 Active should also last longer on a full charge, thanks to a 4,000 mAh battery inside the phone. The regular S8 runs on a 3,000 mAh battery while a 3,500 mAh power pack keeps the larger S8+ juiced up. Those two phones lasted 10 hours, 39 minutes and 11:04 on our battery test, respectively, so we're expecting big things from the S8 Active when we have a chance to test out that phone.

Presales of the Galaxy S8 Active begin at AT&T tomorrow (Aug. 8), with the phone landing in stores on Aug. 11. Samsung says the S8 Active will be exclusive to AT&T but only for a limited time, so if you prefer another carrier, you'll need to bide your time for now.

AT&T and Samsung, though, are throwing out a number of deals to convince you that there's no time like the present to get the S8 Active. AT&T customers will be able to get $200 in credits by trading in an eligible smartphone. They can also add a Samsung smartwatch at a discount — either the Gear S2 for 99 cents or the Gear S3 for $49.99 — though that deal requires a two-year contract.

Buy a phone and add an AT&T line along with a DirecTV subscription, and AT&T will give you a Galaxy S8 for free. The wireless carrier is also offering a $500 credit toward a Samsung TV when you buy an eligible phone and add DirecTV service.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.