Samsung Galaxy Tab Active review

Is Samsung's WiFi-only tablet rugged enough?

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active review

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We Liked

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active's battery supported me for a full work day, as I made it my primary device. Frequently challenged by high brightness settings, and all sorts of streaming content, that meant almost fourteen hours of usage.

When water fell onto the Tab Active from the sky, or it slipped off a bench into the snow, I had immediate reactions of despair. Then, I remembered this was a tablet built to withstand liquids, unlike pretty much every piece of tech I've ever worked with. Having seen it through all of that, I could see the Tab Active surviving an erratic conference room table. Especially when the nervous presenter creates an accidental meditation pool by spilling their coffee.

The last stand-out feature of the tablet is the case itself, and that the thickness of the hard rubber makes it easier to retain a hold on. As companies strive to make their devices thinner and thinner, the Tab Active's case gave added depth that some may value.

We disliked

The durability of said battery, though, has to be called into question, as there was no cellular modem to truly test it's duration. Unless all of the challenges you need a device to be ruggedized against are all under WiFi's roof, this may be an incomplete device. If it's meant to survive rain, shouldn't there be a reason to walk with it out in the rain?

Meant for real world offices where people shouldn't be penalized for having a case of the butterfingers, but unfortunately, I'm not satisfied with how well the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active handled drops. If it sells itself on being able to withstand falls, fading after three of them over the course of four days is not a good sign.

The camera and the hard drive are both incredibly subpar for what should be standard today. A 16 GB hard drive with 3.1 MP rear-facing-camera sound like features of an iPhone 3GS, and not a new Samsung tablet.

Final verdict

At the $699.99 (about £437 and AU$800) entry price, Samsung bills the Tab Active as a cure to poor build quality. Unfortunately, the machine suffers from lackluster internals that really put all the burden of purchase on the ruggedization. Had that experience been closer to flawless than it was, I could have seen this review being a lot more positive.

If your office has been a place where devices are constantly breaking, I could see the need for this device. A need that would make more sense especially if team members would not need the tablet to receive a signal if they ever leave the office. Not that careless employees should be rewarded with tablets, but the Tab Active should be considered if they need one.

As long as those requirements are met, the amazing battery life of the Tab Active has me ready to recommend it. For general purpose Google services apps and media consumption, the Tab Active lived up to my expectations. And if your team needs to use apps or services only available on Android, such as Samsung's Knox security, there aren't really any other tablets that were made to survive half of what the Tab Active made it through.