Consumer Reports: Samsung's rugged, water-resistant Galaxy S7 active isn't water-resistant

Last month, Samsung released the Galaxy S7 active exclusively on AT&T in the US. Like the Galaxy S6 active before it, the new handset is a 'ruggedized' version of its latest Android flagship phone, and among its heavy-duty credentials is an IP68 rating, meaning that it's dust-tight, and water-resistant while continuously submerged in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

At least, that's what Samsung says. But according to independent product review journal Consumer Reports, Samsung's claims are somewhat wide of the mark. Indeed, it says that it can't recommend the Galaxy S7 active to buyers, because the handset fails to live up to the claims made by the company.

Consumer Reports said that after 30 minutes submerged in water, the device's screen flashed green and various other colors, and stopped responding to touch inputs, while tiny bubbles became visible on the camera lenses.

Speaking with The Associated Press, Samsung said that "there may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be."

But Consumer Reports made it clear that it didn't reveal its findings based solely on tests from just one Galaxy S7 active handset. Maria Rerecich, director of electronics testing at Consumer Reports, said: "We bought two and they both failed."

The publication's Jerry Beilinson provided further details about the testing process:

Following our standard procedure when a sample fails an immersion test, we submitted a second Galaxy S7 Active to the same test. That phone failed as well. 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. We also noticed water in the slot holding the SIM card.

For a couple of days following the test, the screens of both phones would light up when the phones were plugged in, though the displays could not be read. The phones never returned to functionality.

Curiously, both the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge - neither of which are marketed as 'rugged' devices, but are both rated as IP68 as well - did pass the tests.

Source: Consumer Reports

This article was updated shortly after publication to add the quote from Jerry Beilinson.

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