1. adhocvideo's Avatar
    Recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 Active from an AT&T store after the screen on my previous phone started "blacking out", which I've since learned has become a somewhat common problem for that model. While the old model was, upon its' release in May of 2014, the flagship model made by a different brand/manufacturer, it was only about 3 yrs old and did all I needed, so I was extremely disappointed at its' failure.

    The cost of the Galaxy S8 Active was higher than I expected, and higher than that of my previous phone. Time will tell if the "hardened" feature was worth the extra cost, though I'm not a heavy user, nor do I treat my phones harshly. So, it remains to be seen if I "over-bought".

    I got the S8 Active within about a week of its' release. In fact, though the AT&T store I visited had it in stock, the folks working there weren't even sure it was able to be sold yet and had to check some online function to make sure they were allowed to provide me with one. The phone itself is called the "Active" model because it comes somewhat hardened, with claims it can, I think, withstand a 5-foot drop without being enclosed in a protective case. It's also claimed to provide protection from a brief stint in relatively shallow water, though I find that hard to believe, because there is no built-in protective cover for any of the openings such as the charging plug and headphone jack.
    Each of the corners of the phone has some sort of "bumper", and the phone itself feels as if it offers protection almost on par with even an Otterbox Defender case.

    Being a cautious sort, and in light of the high price of the S8 Active, I opted for an additional protective case despite the "hardened" feel of the phone. The case I ended up buying was a Pelican, primarily for 2 reasons: 1) there was no Otterbox Defender case yet available or even on the market, and 2) it was the only case the store had that fit the Active model.

    As for protection from water, even the Pelican case doesn't include any type of rubber plug for any of the openings on the phone. (FWIW, when I bought my previous phone, I also bought an Otterbox Defender case for it at the same time, and that phone might have been taken out of the Defender case maybe twice a year, so it was almost always protected).

    My previous phone never showed more than 2 bars of 4GLTE phone service available, even while at home in one of the most densely populated counties in the country in northern NJ. Despite AT&T's poor service in my specific location, I was not about to spend additional $$ on one of their mini-cell units that somehow amplifies a signal. (I'll switch carriers before I go to that length). Calls while using it would often suffer dropouts or loss of signal. While the S8 Active also regularly shows only 2 bars of service, it seems to "hold" the signal much better. While I'm not a heavy user of my phone, I haven't yet suffered a dropout or failed call with the S8 Active, though I've had the phone less than a month and use it for both incoming and outgoing calls less than once a day. Most of my activity is texting or e-mail, and my overall use pales in comparison to that of my spouse or our kids.

    One point for potential buyers to note: the S8 Active is noticeably larger - and heavier - than any phone I've had in the past, particularly when protected by an additional protective case. That difference in size and weight is very noticeable when slipping it into a pocket. One other point I see as a "drawback" is that the phone uses a USB-C connector to charge it. While it's my understanding that most phones are moving in that direction, as well as towards non-removable batteries, it did require a small investment in new cables. (I prefer to have multiple charging cables in multiple locations, e.g. my desktop, my car, next to my bed, in my carry-on/overnite luggage so I don't have to worry about the phone running out of power or me losing track of where I left my single cable). To make that easier to deal with, the phone came with 2 small adapters: 1 micro-USB-to-USB-C adapter, and 1 USB-A-to-USB-C adapter. While those allow use of your old USB-A-to-USB-micro cables, that would mean carrying at least one of the adapters with you, but they are so small they'd likely be lost/misplaced more easily than an old cable. It was nice to see those adapters included in the box, but both are very small and could easily be lost or misplaced.

    The phone comes with a non-replaceable 4000mAh battery, which thus far has lasted a long time; I'd guess it's gone as long as 3 days before needing a charge, but again, I'm not a heavy user; I make very few outgoing calls, and don't play games or stream tv, movies, or other video on my phone. The battery is one with a quick charge feature, and that seems to live up to its' claim. To further expand use of that, not only do I use the single charging plug that comes with the phone, I purchased a multi-port, external charger that contains 1 quick-charging port, 1 USB-C charging port, and 4 USB-A charging ports. When using that. and with the phone at about 50% charge, I plugged it in and saw that it would reach full-charge in about an hour. When I plugged the phone into the "old" 12V charger in my car, with the phone at about 60% charge, I saw a msg that the phone would take more than 6 hrs to reach full charge. That was an impressive difference.

    In addition to the typical PIN to unlock the phone, it also features biometric unlocking features, e.g. facial recognition and fingerprint ID. While the fingerprint feature seems to be working OK, the facial recognition has been slow, unresponsive, and unimpressive. Facial recognition hasn't worked even once for me, and I suspect I may need to re-run the facial recognition feature and snap a new photo for that.

    Probably the feature I find most annoying, which may not be unique to this phone, is having to swipe up from the bottom of the screen in order to gain access to the 3 primary Android buttons: Multi-window, Home, and Back. That toolbar always disappears after using it, which is something I'm not used to and that I find particularly annoying. I suspect the phone may allow that to be changed, but if so, I haven't yet found out how, (though I haven't yet looked for how to do it).

    The phone is also a bit bigger than I'm used to. In fact, it borders on being inconvenient to use with one-handed operation. While it offers some feature in Settings that presumably makes it easier to use one-handed, I've not explored that yet. Those considering a purchase should check that out to see if the phone can be made more convenient for one-handed use. (FWIW, I'm a bit ambidextrous, though I favor my left).

    As for expansion, the phone is claimed to be capable of taking a 256 GB micro-SD card. I was ready to purchase one, but already had a 128 GB card from my old phone and decided a new one was unnecessary.

    I pay little attention to the aesthetics of cell phones, (and frankly can't understand how some people fawn over the color, look, or appearance of some, writing long descriptions of how sleek some may be). Personally, I'm interested mostly in functionality and find those lengthy descriptions of details of little help and even less importance. Having said that, I chose to accept the phone in a Champagne gold color, though I would have expected black to be available. Since the phone would almost always be in its' protective case, color was of little importance to me. The color of the case was more important to me than the color of the phone. The case I chose was a dark gray, almost black.

    Thus far, I'm not upset that I made this purchase, though I'm still getting used to it and have some lingering disappointment over the early demise of my previous one. If you're an Android user and in the market for a new phone, I'd recommend checking-out the Samsung S8 Active. It may not be the perfect phone for you, but offers some features that you might find worthwhile. If you're particularly hard on your phone, you might like - or even need- the hardened features of the S8 Active.
    PowrDroid and jimd1050 like this.
    09-06-2017 08:00 PM
  2. mehofmann's Avatar
    I have the same phone and so does my wife. This is by far the best phone j have ever owned. Battery life is fantastic. build is fantastic. other than some redundant apps from Samsung and substituting the Samsung keyboard for Gboard I have very few issues. I just hope Samsung does a great job with updates. This report coming from a VERY loyal Blackberry user among other phones over the years.
    jbadowski likes this.
    09-06-2017 08:28 PM
  3. PowrDroid's Avatar
    Thanks for the review. Just looked at an S8 Active tonight. Checks all my boxes, except for price. LOL.

    I also noticed the Android navigation buttons would disappear and you had to swipe up to restore them. As you say, surely there is a setting to make them constantly available for use.

    Have you noticed any scratching on the display screen? I ask because the Gorilla Glass is covered with a shatterproof plastic film that I've read is easy to scratch.

    When you say that AT&T wouldn't accept your opinion, do you mean that you tried to post your review on their website and it was disallowed?
    09-06-2017 08:36 PM
  4. adhocvideo's Avatar
    Yes, it was more expensive than I expected, and I believe more than my previous phone (an LG G3).

    Yes, AT&T said something to the effect that my review didn't meet their requirements or standards; I forget the exact wording. I'm not surprised; some of my comments easily qualify as negatives, while I suspect they want only glowing terms for everything.

    As for the screen scratching, the Pelican case I bought came with it's own screen cover. I think that extra layer causes the screen to be a bit less responsive.
    09-06-2017 09:14 PM
  5. adhocvideo's Avatar
    Yes, the phone is pretty impressive, but for the cost, I'd expect that.

    As for updates, that issue was the only thing that caused me to hesitate. I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2" Wi-Fi-only tablet a few yrs back, (supposedly their flagship tablet at the time and, if memory serves, at a cost of about $ 700), and last I checked (a few months ago), they hadn't issued an update for it to run even Android 6, yet alone anything newer. I wasn't happy with that, (still aren't), especially because I believe they even called it their best tablet at the time. So while I'm impressed with the phone, the tablet experience still left a bad taste.
    09-06-2017 09:23 PM
  6. PowrDroid's Avatar
    There is an S8 Active forum here on Android Central. You should post this review there as well.
    09-07-2017 08:45 AM
  7. justafew's Avatar
    Recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 Active from an AT&T store after the screen on my previous phone started "blacking out", which I've since learned has become a somewhat common problem for that model. While the old model was, upon its' release in May of 2014, the flagship model made by a different brand/manufacturer, it was only about 3 yrs old and did all I needed, so I was extremely disappointed at its' failure.

    The cost of the Galaxy S8 Active was higher than I expected, and higher than that of my previous phone. Time will tell if the "hardened" feature was worth the extra cost, though I'm not a heavy user, nor do I treat my phones harshly. So, it remains to be seen if I "over-bought".

    I got the S8 Active within about a week of its' release. In fact, though the AT&T store I visited had it in stock, the folks working there weren't even sure it was able to be sold yet and had to check some online function to make sure they were allowed to provide me with one. The phone itself is called the "Active" model because it comes somewhat hardened, with claims it can, I think, withstand a 5-foot drop without being enclosed in a protective case. It's also claimed to provide protection from a brief stint in relatively shallow water, though I find that hard to believe, because there is no built-in protective cover for any of the openings such as the charging plug and headphone jack.
    Each of the corners of the phone has some sort of "bumper", and the phone itself feels as if it offers protection almost on par with even an Otterbox Defender case.

    Being a cautious sort, and in light of the high price of the S8 Active, I opted for an additional protective case despite the "hardened" feel of the phone. The case I ended up buying was a Pelican, primarily for 2 reasons: 1) there was no Otterbox Defender case yet available or even on the market, and 2) it was the only case the store had that fit the Active model.

    As for protection from water, even the Pelican case doesn't include any type of rubber plug for any of the openings on the phone. (FWIW, when I bought my previous phone, I also bought an Otterbox Defender case for it at the same time, and that phone might have been taken out of the Defender case maybe twice a year, so it was almost always protected).

    My previous phone never showed more than 2 bars of 4GLTE phone service available, even while at home in one of the most densely populated counties in the country in northern NJ. Despite AT&T's poor service in my specific location, I was not about to spend additional $$ on one of their mini-cell units that somehow amplifies a signal. (I'll switch carriers before I go to that length). Calls while using it would often suffer dropouts or loss of signal. While the S8 Active also regularly shows only 2 bars of service, it seems to "hold" the signal much better. While I'm not a heavy user of my phone, I haven't yet suffered a dropout or failed call with the S8 Active, though I've had the phone less than a month and use it for both incoming and outgoing calls less than once a day. Most of my activity is texting or e-mail, and my overall use pales in comparison to that of my spouse or our kids.

    One point for potential buyers to note: the S8 Active is noticeably larger - and heavier - than any phone I've had in the past, particularly when protected by an additional protective case. That difference in size and weight is very noticeable when slipping it into a pocket. One other point I see as a "drawback" is that the phone uses a USB-C connector to charge it. While it's my understanding that most phones are moving in that direction, as well as towards non-removable batteries, it did require a small investment in new cables. (I prefer to have multiple charging cables in multiple locations, e.g. my desktop, my car, next to my bed, in my carry-on/overnite luggage so I don't have to worry about the phone running out of power or me losing track of where I left my single cable). To make that easier to deal with, the phone came with 2 small adapters: 1 micro-USB-to-USB-C adapter, and 1 USB-A-to-USB-C adapter. While those allow use of your old USB-A-to-USB-micro cables, that would mean carrying at least one of the adapters with you, but they are so small they'd likely be lost/misplaced more easily than an old cable. It was nice to see those adapters included in the box, but both are very small and could easily be lost or misplaced.

    The phone comes with a non-replaceable 4000mAh battery, which thus far has lasted a long time; I'd guess it's gone as long as 3 days before needing a charge, but again, I'm not a heavy user; I make very few outgoing calls, and don't play games or stream tv, movies, or other video on my phone. The battery is one with a quick charge feature, and that seems to live up to its' claim. To further expand use of that, not only do I use the single charging plug that comes with the phone, I purchased a multi-port, external charger that contains 1 quick-charging port, 1 USB-C charging port, and 4 USB-A charging ports. When using that. and with the phone at about 50% charge, I plugged it in and saw that it would reach full-charge in about an hour. When I plugged the phone into the "old" 12V charger in my car, with the phone at about 60% charge, I saw a msg that the phone would take more than 6 hrs to reach full charge. That was an impressive difference.

    In addition to the typical PIN to unlock the phone, it also features biometric unlocking features, e.g. facial recognition and fingerprint ID. While the fingerprint feature seems to be working OK, the facial recognition has been slow, unresponsive, and unimpressive. Facial recognition hasn't worked even once for me, and I suspect I may need to re-run the facial recognition feature and snap a new photo for that.

    Probably the feature I find most annoying, which may not be unique to this phone, is having to swipe up from the bottom of the screen in order to gain access to the 3 primary Android buttons: Multi-window, Home, and Back. That toolbar always disappears after using it, which is something I'm not used to and that I find particularly annoying. I suspect the phone may allow that to be changed, but if so, I haven't yet found out how, (though I haven't yet looked for how to do it).

    The phone is also a bit bigger than I'm used to. In fact, it borders on being inconvenient to use with one-handed operation. While it offers some feature in Settings that presumably makes it easier to use one-handed, I've not explored that yet. Those considering a purchase should check that out to see if the phone can be made more convenient for one-handed use. (FWIW, I'm a bit ambidextrous, though I favor my left).

    As for expansion, the phone is claimed to be capable of taking a 256 GB micro-SD card. I was ready to purchase one, but already had a 128 GB card from my old phone and decided a new one was unnecessary.

    I pay little attention to the aesthetics of cell phones, (and frankly can't understand how some people fawn over the color, look, or appearance of some, writing long descriptions of how sleek some may be). Personally, I'm interested mostly in functionality and find those lengthy descriptions of details of little help and even less importance. Having said that, I chose to accept the phone in a Champagne gold color, though I would have expected black to be available. Since the phone would almost always be in its' protective case, color was of little importance to me. The color of the case was more important to me than the color of the phone. The case I chose was a dark gray, almost black.

    Thus far, I'm not upset that I made this purchase, though I'm still getting used to it and have some lingering disappointment over the early demise of my previous one. If you're an Android user and in the market for a new phone, I'd recommend checking-out the Samsung S8 Active. It may not be the perfect phone for you, but offers some features that you might find worthwhile. If you're particularly hard on your phone, you might like - or even need- the hardened features of the S8 Active.
    A few comments:

    When at home or on a wifi connection, I use the Wifi calling and the call is routed via the wifi service. Where I only get two bars in certain places in my house via the cell network, the Wifi calling allows me to use it anywhere in my home with much better quality. See this tutorial:

    https://forums.androidcentral.com/e?...token=YsdVSqlM

    Regarding the nav bar disappearing (Home, Back, Recent), when you swipe up on the nav bar and the buttons appear, is there a small white dot in the left-hand corner of the nav bar? If there is, click that button and that makes the nav bar remain in place (unless playing a game or watching a video). That button toggles the nav bar either staying or hiding. If there is no dot, then you don't have that software update yet and I'm not sure why it would auto-hide.
    jimd1050 likes this.
    09-07-2017 11:57 AM
  8. anon(238680)'s Avatar
    Mod Note: Thread moved to correct forum.
    09-07-2017 12:02 PM
  9. jimd1050's Avatar
    Recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 Active from an AT&T store.
    To save page space, I cut back the text on your quote - just wanted to say "Very well written review - lots of detail, just what a perspective buyer needs to make an educated decision. Thank you very much!"
    09-07-2017 02:34 PM
  10. jbadowski's Avatar
    When you swipe up there is a small dot to the left inside the bar. Tap it to keep the button bar visible
    jimd1050 likes this.
    09-07-2017 04:50 PM
  11. Lukasso's Avatar
    Thank you so much for your review.
    I've been a user of the active family for a while. At the moment I stick with it till Fairphone doesn't make a waterproof version.
    I have now the S7 active which started having the pink vertical line along the display, a known problem.
    But what most annoys me is that I can't update the Android version, because I now live outside of the USA and AT&T will not allow updates if not while on AT&T network.
    What a Mafia!
    So, I'm now considering the S8 active from T-Mobile or Sprint and I'd like to know if any user here is outside of the USA and is able to update Android?
    Besides, I read that Sprint is slower in publishing updates. I wonder if in this moment they are at the same version of TMobile and att?

    Any help appreciated!
    06-27-2018 02:57 AM

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