In early June, Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 Active on AT&T. The smartphone, which is a ruggedized version of the standard Galaxy S7, features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a massive 4000 mAh battery. But the real reason to purchase a Galaxy S7 Active is for its “go anywhere” attitude, rubberized body that withstands drops and shocks, and its IP68 dust and water resistance.
Unfortunately for Samsung (and for customers that have already bought the Galaxy S7 Active), the smartphone doesn’t actually live up to its IP68 rating in real world testing according to Consumer Reports. Under the IP68 spec, the Galaxy S7 Active should be able to easily survive a five-foot-deep dunk in the water for up to 30 minutes. However, Consumer Reports’ testing showed that the Galaxy S7 Active failed when it reproduced the water submersion test on its own.
“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,” writes Jerry Beilinson of Consumer Reports. “The touchscreen wasn’t responsive.”
Of course, having one smartphone fail could have been a fluke — a manufacturing oddity that could be easily explained away. So the publication decided to repeat the test with a second Galaxy S7 Active. The results were unfortunately the same.
“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,” Beilinson added. “We also noticed water in the slot holding the SIM card.”
The publication monitored the phones over the next few days, but the displays on the smartphones were never again readable, rendering them useless. For its part, Samsung told Consumer Reports, “There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.” Or in this case, two devices.
To add insult to injury, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, both of which are just as fragile as your typical run-of-the-mill flagship smartphone, managed to pass Consumer Reports’ IP68 water submersion test with flying colors.