Galaxy S9 Active Rumors: Specs, Features and Release Date

Senior Editor

As sure as day precedes the night, the launch of a Galaxy S phone from Samsung usually means that a more durable Active version of that same device is waiting in the wings.

Well, the Galaxy S9 arrived two months ago. So if Samsung follows the same pattern as the last few years, a Galaxy S9 Active is likely in the works.

Could Samsung be working on a successor to last year's Galaxy S9 Active? (Credit: Tom's Guide)Could Samsung be working on a successor to last year's Galaxy S9 Active? (Credit: Tom's Guide)Samsung hasn't said one way or the other. But that's not stopping rumors from circulating about a sturdier version of the Galaxy S9 that can go longer between chargers. Those rumors, coupled with Samsung's past releases, can give us a pretty good idea of what to expect from the Galaxy S9 Active.

What’s the Galaxy S9 release date?

There's no confirmation that an S9 Active is development, let alone a release schedule. But we can make a pretty good guess.

Take the Galaxy S8 Active, which Samsung released in early August. That was roughly four months after the Galaxy S8 made its mid-April debut. It was a similar story in 2016 — the Galaxy S7 Active arrived in June, three months after the S7's release.

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Past performance is not necessarily a predictor of future behavior, but if the pattern holds, that would put a Galaxy S9 Active on track for a release sometime this summer. And wouldn't you know it — one of the primary sources for rumors about the Galaxy S9 Active claims the phone will ship in the third quarter of 2018. (Presumably, that would be well before Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note 9, which is rumored to be happening in July or August.)

How will the Galaxy S9 Active differ from the Galaxy S9?

Samsung usually focuses on two different areas with its Active models — durability and battery life.

The curved edges of the Galaxy S9 (pictured here) are likely to give way to a flat screen on an Active version of the phone. (Credit: Tom's Guide)The curved edges of the Galaxy S9 (pictured here) are likely to give way to a flat screen on an Active version of the phone. (Credit: Tom's Guide)On the durability front, Samsung typically tweaks the design of its flagship phone to better withstand life's bumps and bruises. (The S8 Active, for example, was able to survive 5-foot drops while also withstanding in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes.) That has generally meant ditching the curves of the Infinity Display for a more durable casing around the phone's screen.

That seems to be what's going to happen this time, too, according to a Sammobile report, which claims the S9 Active will trade the curved 5.8-inch display of the S9 for a flat version. The S9 Active would still have the 18:9 aspect ratio of its less durable sibling.

On the battery front, the Galaxy S9 features a 3,000 mAh power pack. That will likely get upgraded to a 4,000 mAh battery in the S9 Active, both Sammobile and Reddy Tricks claim in their reports. That's not too hard to believe: the Galaxy S8 Active has a 4,000 mAh battery, too.

What Galaxy S9 Active features will be the same as the Galaxy S9?

Expect the Galaxy S9 Active to have a single rear camera like the Galaxy S9. (Credit: Tom's Guide)Expect the Galaxy S9 Active to have a single rear camera like the Galaxy S9. (Credit: Tom's Guide)Pretty much everything else we've heard about the S9 Active matches what we've seen from the S9. The rumored phone is expected to run on a Snapdragon 845 processor with 4GB of RAM — the same specs as the S9. The Sammobile and Reddy Tricks report suggest the S9 Active will have the same single rear camera lens as the S9, right down to the 12-megapixel sensor. Expect 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, too.

Is there really a need for an Active version of the Galaxy S phone?

It's true that every Samsung flagship since the Galaxy S7 has been IP68 dust- and water-resistant, meaning they'll survive that dunk in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Durability is another factor, though.

The Galaxy S9 fared pretty well in our recent round of drop testing, tying for fourth with the LG V30, though it trailed Apple's iPhone X in our final rankings. Presumably, the S9 Active might better compete with our current champ, the Moto Z2 Force, which touts durability as one of its features with its ShatterSheild display.

Better battery life would also make the S9 Active an appealing alternative to the standard S9. Samsung's latest phone lasted 10 hours and 52 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous surfing over T-Mobile's LTE network until a phone runs out of juice. That's an hour better than the average smartphone, but a bigger battery on the Galaxy S9 Active could vault that phone up the ranks of the longest-lasting smartphones we've tested.

How much will the Galaxy S9 Active cost?

The rumor mill's been pretty quiet here, so we'll have to go with Samsung's past behavior as our guide. The Galaxy S8 Active debuted at $850, a $100 premium over the Galaxy S8 and the same price as the Galaxy S8+. The S9 Active would likely take the same approach.

Which carriers will offer the Galaxy S9 Active?

Typically, Samsung limits the Active version of its flagship phone to just one carrier. But things loosened up a little with the S8 Active last year. While that phone debuted as an AT&T exclusive, three months later both Sprint and T-Mobile offered it as well. It's unclear if Samsung would adopt a similar approach this year.