I have working with a not so great Galaxy S5 for the past couple years and this past week my job upgraded me to a Galaxy S7 Active. I actually envisioned never getting another Samsung phone again after my S5 experience but here I am. What follows are my initial thoughts on the phone and the upgrade experience.

What I like

  • The screen is pretty sweet. I don’t just mean how it looks either; the glass just feels nicer than my old S5 did. The tactile experinece of sliding my finger on this phone is the best I’ve had with a touch screen. It’s really impressive.
  • The camera is super fast. I push a button and the photo is taken. There is no wait. It is what a camera should be but in a phone. I can’t say anything about the quality I haven’t really judged it yet. But the speed is phenomenal.
  • It has an SD card slot. The S5 had one too and I’m glad the S7 has it as well. I would have been disappointed in the S6 for it’s absence.
  • The battery is huge. I’ve used the phone a lot most days that I’ve had it including watching a full episode of Game of Thrones. The battery at night when I’ve gone to bed 12-15 hours after waking has not been less than 50%. I kind of feel guilty charging it at night.
  • It charges fast? It does seem to charge fast but honestly, it never has to charge a lot so I can’t tell.
  • The active button in the camera is a shutter button. It’s pretty handy. You can also tap on the heart rate sensor when doing a “selfie” but it’s hard to tell if you did. The shutter button feature gives great feedback.
  • 32 GB built in. I’m going to put a huge SD card in it too but it’s nice it has so much room natively for apps.
  • Android Marshmallow. I was never going to get this on the S5. I really hope I get “N” on this. I am skeptical but hopeful.
  • Speaker sounded pretty good when I used it sitting around in a park and wanted to listen to some music without headphones.

I’ve only had the phone for about a week so I can’t say a lot more about it than that.

What I don’t like

  • The size of the phone. I probably would have prefered the regular S7 - but this thing should be durable as hell so this is barely a ding against the phone.
  • It’s ugly - the hardened case or whatever is just ugly. I hear it’s the most durable Samsung phone yet so maybe it’s a good trade-off? I have only damaged one phone in 9 years of owning smart phones so I’m not sure I needed the extra protection but, if I can break one I can break another.
  • the buttons - too many buttons. The front buttons require a really firm press. It’s just weird. There is a power button, an active button, volume rocker, and three! front facing buttons. There is no reason to have six buttons on a smart phone.
  • the active button everywhere but in the camera. I really dislike that it turns the screen on when the phone is off. It makes mounting the phone in my RAM X-Grip annoying because the grip can’t help but hit either it or the power button. I choose the active button but the screen turns on all the time. I have had to map the active button to an app which turns the screen off the rest of the time. I just wish I could really disable that button.
  • snapchat video doesn’t work properly. I don’t know if this is a snapchat bug or a S7 active problem. Snapchat video records audio at the wrong frequency so it plays audio back SUPER SLOW. This is trival and petty but it’s still annoying. I was just starting to have fun with snapchat with some of my family.
  • preloaded bloatware. I would have this problem with almost any phone but it’s still a gripe I have.


  • the always on screen. The calendar and clock are kind of handy but I’m not sure if I like having the glow all the time. I’m still debating on whether I’m going to keep this feature turned on.
  • finger print sensor. I really like the Nexus 6p sensor location. I hate the samsung location. My s5 sensor sucked so I’ve not tried the s7 sensor yet. but the location still sucks.

Migration Process

  • Super easy. The AT&T guy did everything pretty much and, at some point later in the day, all my apps had re-installed.


That’s about it. I have already replaced the stock launcher with Nova Prime. If I could root it I probably would so I could use titanium backup to remove the crappy bloatware. I haven’t really put it through any serious paces yet but it is A LOT better than the S5 was (as you’d expect). Overall, I’m very glad to have the new phone. I need to really put it to work this weekend and see how well it holds up to some serious demands.