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Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Fails Consumer Reports Water-Resistance Test (consumerreports.org) 83

An anonymous reader writes: The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is apparently not-so-active. It should be the more durable version of the Galaxy S7 family but apparently it's not. Because of this, Consumer reports is not going to mark it as "Recommended" even though it performed very well in all the other tests it ran. [Jerry Beilinson writes from Consumer Reports:] "Consumer Reports technicians placed a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurized to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch, the equivalent of just under five feet of water, and set a timer for 30 minutes. 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. The touchscreen wasn't responsive. 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." Samsung has said "The Samsung Galaxy S7 active device is one of the most rugged phones to date and is highly resistant to scratches and IP68 certified. There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be." Although, given the fact that Consumer Reports tested multiple devices, Samsung could have a widespread issue on their hands. They company said it is investigating the issue.
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Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Fails Consumer Reports Water-Resistance Test

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  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @07:18PM (#52475359)
    Is this the phone that they featured in a TV commercial that have people pouring champagne on it and dipping into an aquarium? I don't like the idea of a water resistant phone. I have some friends who won't turn off their phones and insist on taking every call they get while I'm talking with them. Very annoying. Tossing their phones into my 25-gallon fish tank was very effective deterrent to this behavior.
    • by Paul Carver ( 4555 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @07:50PM (#52475535)

      Sounds like you're a perfect reason to buy a waterproof phone, although if you were my friend you wouldn't be any more after destroying my property. When you say it was a "very effective deterrent" I assume it changed the behaviour of these former friends by stopping them from ever coming to your house or allowing you to talk to them again. If not, then you must hang out with pretty pathetic people who would put up with that shit.

      • When you say it was a "very effective deterrent" I assume it changed the behaviour of these former friends by stopping them from ever coming to your house or allowing you to talk to them again.

        No. They apologized for their rude behavior and put their phones in silent mode.

    • Whhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??????1?
    • I feel your pain! It's extremely annoying and disrespectful how people nowadays think a phone call is more important than an on-going conversation in-person. It's essentially the same thing! I mean, you wouldn't usually hang up a phone call just to answer another.

      The other major annoyance is this [youtube.com].

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Don't like the idea of a water resistant phone? You're out of your tiny little mind! Most of the phones I've owned died from being dropped in a sink or my getting caught in a downpour.

      My phone is water resistant, supposedly it will survive three hours under three feet of water. Just a couple of weeks ago a friend accidentally knocked my beer over, which spilled all over the phone (listing to music on it). I just took it insode, rinsed it off in the sink and it was fine.

      Kyocera Edge, paid $120 for it several

      • Most of the phones I've owned died from being dropped in a sink or my getting caught in a downpour.

        You're very careless with your phones. No wonder manufacturers have to idiot-proof their products.

  • by Paul Carver ( 4555 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @07:40PM (#52475481)

    Well I'm glad I saw this article because I've recently been thinking about buying this phone. I really want a waterproof phone and was really disappointed with the experience of an iPhone in a Lifeproof case. It's weird that the S7 is actually tougher than the S7 Active. One thing that's missing from all the specs and reviews I've seen is how often it's rated for immersion. Is it 30 minutes over the life of the phone or 30 minutes per day or something else.

    • I can't comment on the other variants of the S line, people seem to like them just fine. But stay the hell away from the Active.

      I had a hellacious experience returning an S6 Active that responded to water in eerily similar fashion. Screen went berserk, weird banding, touch got wonky, water in the SIM cavity, etc. This is with shorter total immersion time (lifetime, not per diem) than the tests they ran in TFA, and at shallower depths, to boot.

      The best part? They'll ask you to take out the little i
    • For whatever the rating is worth (clearly not a lot in this case) IP68 is supposed to be suitable to withstand "prolonged immersion at pressure". You should have no problem dropping it into a swimming pool and coming back to fish it out a few days later with zero effects.

      But that's only what it's supposed to do.

      What actually happens on the other hand is a different story and this would be a great test case for warranty claims when the phone floods.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        What actually happens on the other hand is a different story and this would be a great test case for warranty claims when the phone floods.

        Ironically, the warranty usually doesn't cover water damage.

        All the water-proofness does is make it so yes, the warranty is void, but if it's still working, great.

        Just like you know some people will drop a phone always and they buy the largest case with protection.

        • Ironically, the warranty usually doesn't cover water damage.

          An IP68 device suffering from water damage would be automatically covered under warranty in any country which has fitness for service laws. e.g. There's no way a manufacturer can release a device they claim is water proof in Australia and then not cover water damage for the full duration of the warranty, or for the mandated 1yr minimum required by law.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If you RTFA you will note that of the three models of Galaxy S7 they tested, all of which claim to be waterproof, this is the only one that had problems. So even though they tested two, I'm inclined to say that it's too early to judge what the issue is here. Or just get the normal non-active version, with your choice of flat or curved screen, because those two passed the test.

  • No Surprise (Score:4, Informative)

    by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @07:51PM (#52475539) Homepage

    The S5 was advertised as being waterproof as well, and advertisements had people taking selfies underwater. Mine didn't survive a single splash of water that must've gotten it rather wet for several seconds.

    I took it to the repair guy (screen needed to be replaced, if I recall). He told me he was repairing the s5 for water damage all the time.

    • I used to wash it after every shift on the line, much to the amusement of the dishwashers. Also took it swimming in saltwater quite a bit, and running in the rain more times than I can count. Never a problem. So far, my vanilla S7 is just as durable, if not more so - the waterproof USB port is a quantum leap over the stupid little flap-door-thing on the S5. If the heat wouldn't get to it, I'd try putting it in the dishwasher..

    • One problem was that people were dipping their phones into chlorinated swimming pools. That chemical made all the difference.

      • Nope. Chlorine isn't the issue. Dirt is. The sealing surfaces on these phones are tiny. The rubbers in the phones are perfectly fine with the occasional exposure to a few ppm of chlorine.

    • Re:No Surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday July 09, 2016 @02:03AM (#52476629)

      The key is in the design. The S5 is waterproof but not rugged. Mine joined me in my pocket during an unintentional trip in the swimming pool and survived just fine. My girlfriend is one of those WTF people who managed to drop hers not once but twice into the toilet and it was also fine, as it was with the subsequent scrub down in the bathroom sink.

      These phones have very small seals. A lot of consumer stuff does. Have a look at the actual sealing surfaces and you'll see that they typically build up dirt right to the outside edge. Take the back cover off, put it on, and now that .4mm sealing surface has dirt in it and lets water through. The other water entry path is through the screen edge. Remember this is glued. Also remember how many people you see with broken screens. Drop the phone once or twice on it's edge and it's unlikely to be very water tight.

      It's deceptive marketing. You can't go swimming with these devices. But they do work well to fend off unintentional splashes and if looked after will survive a full dunk as well. I wouldn't take it SCUBA diving and critically absent from the devices are actual specifications for the pressure rating of how water proof it actually is.

  • You may have heard that sealing your phone in a bag of rice will extract moisture. Here's a hygroscopic product that works even better: DampRid [damprid.com].

    Even so, sometimes it takes a long time. Don't give up on that device. It may power on after a few weeks or months in the bag of DampRid.

    • by hankwang ( 413283 ) on Saturday July 09, 2016 @02:47AM (#52476731) Homepage

      The use of hygroscopic products to speed up drying is actually based on a misconception, or at least, not as effective as you might think.

      The rate of evaporation is proportional to the product D*(p_vp-p_env), where D is the diffusion coefficient of the vapor molecules in air, p_vp the vapor pressure (partial pressure of saturated vapor), and p_env the partial pressure of vapor in the environment.

      A desiccant will lower p_env to zero, so it will help a bit; for example, the p difference is (2.4-1.2) kPa at 20 C, 50% relative humidity, increasing to (2.4-0) with a desiccant, a factor 2 increase. However, putting it in a warm place will increase both D (a bit) and p_vp (a lot). Heating it to 50 C in the same environment will increase the p difference to (12.3-1.2), a factor 9 increase. Additionally, D will increase by a factor 1.2. A phone that is switched off should be able to handle such temperatures, so putting it on top of the cable modem is cheaper and more effective.

      Even better would be to dry it in vacuum; that will increase the D parameter tremendously. But most people don't have that at home, although I suppose that some creativity with a wine preserver pump might get you somewhere.

      • Here's a genuinely useful and scientific post. Mods, please do your thing!

      • by samwichse ( 1056268 ) on Saturday July 09, 2016 @08:50PM (#52480761)

        I don't recommend the vacuum pump...

        I dropped my phone in a 6' deep evaporative cooler tank and it took 15 minutes to fish it out. I ran up to the lab and took the rotor out of our vacuum concentrator and switched it on. Things looked fine for a couple minutes, but then the back of the phone started swelling and it was the battery bulging... I switched it off and it "deflated." The phone also worked (still using it now, in fact), but the battery life was halved.

        It wasn't in there long enough to evaporate all the water, but the back was already partially popped so I took it off and stuck in an incubator at 42C for a day.

  • How can a phone with a glass touchscreen glued to the LCD be called "active"? If it falls, it shatters.

    Now the good old Sony Xperia Acro S is an "active" phone. It not only survived several falls into ponds, it also mastered falls onto tarmac and rocks while hiking without shattering, thanks to a very strong plastic touchscreen and the LCD being quite below it. Unfortunately the phone is old and slow.

  • I have an RSA token.... its been through the washing machine AND dryer, and still worked again after just a few hours...

    oh... all 3 times it happened.....

  • How are Samsung defining IP68? IP68 requires that the phone be able to be placed in at least 1m (~3ft) of water. The manufacturer should then state to what depth it's covered. Do Samsung say that it's certified to greater than 1m?

    IP68 is _typically_ up to 3m, but has a minimum spec of 1m.

    The 6 of 68 is the dust spec - this is the highest dust spec and requires that the phone be subject to a vacuum for up to 8 hours.
    The 8 is the water spec and is the 2nd highest spec (9K being the next)

    https://en.wikipedi [wikipedia.org]

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