The Galaxy Tab Active is a bit heavier and bulkier than most tablets. Well, sort of. The tablet itself is probably on par with average tablets this size, but Samsung has added elements to help the Galaxy Tab Active withstand the elements and extreme use cases, and includes a ruggedized case by default. The net result is a beefy, tank of a tablet.
The tablet itself is 8.39 inches tall by 4.97 inches wide and 0.38 inches thick. It has an 8-inch WXGA display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. It weighs just under a pound.
It has 1.2Ghz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage capacity. You can add up to 64GB more storage with a microSD memory card. The tablet has an accelerometer and light sensor, as well as GPS location. The front-facing camera is 1.2 megapixels and the rear-facing camera is 3.1 megapixels—capable of recording HD video at 1280 x 720 resolution at 30 frames per second.
It has a stylus—but it’s not the iconic Samsung S-pen. It is simply a passive stylus with a rubber tip to enable users to work with the device while wearing gloves or protective gear.
There’s a power button on the upper right, and volume up / down button below that. The bottom has a microUSB charging / syncing port and an audio jack. The left side has a POGO pin charger for quick, easy charging in industrial environments. On the front, below the display the Galaxy Tab Active rejects the trend for virtual buttons and includes physical buttons for Home, All Apps, and Back. The design choice makes the buttons easier to use and more tactile.
The Galaxy Tab Active is a Wi-Fi only device—there is no cellular 4G / LTE option. The 4,450 mAh battery is good for up to 12 hours of Internet surfing, 11 hours of video playback, or 141 hours of audio playback time according to Samsung.
The Galaxy Tab Active runs the Android mobile operating system. This one is designed with a specific purpose, and for a specific audience, though, so it doesn’t support S-Voice, the S-Pen, or mobile TV like most Samsung tablets.
One of the things that separates this tablet from standard consumer tablets is that it’s IP67 certified to be dust and water resistant. Samsung also claims it has been drop-tested to withstand tough conditions like construction. The battery is replaceable. You can pop the back off and swap the battery out if you need to. Just make sure you securely snap the back on when you’re done to maintain the water and dust resistance.
Samsung designed the Galaxy Tab Active to be able to easily scan barcodes with the rear-facing camera so it can be used for warehouse logistics, and transportation. It also has Samsung’s KNOX defense-grade mobile security, and supports Samsung Multi Windows for displaying multiple app windows simultaneously and Samsung SideSync, which enables you to share screens, windows, and data between Samsung Galaxy Tab Active devices and traditional PCs or Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
I have no major complaints with its functionality or performance as a tablet. There are faster or more powerful tablets out there, but the Galaxy Tab Active is more than capable of doing the things I generally use a tablet for.
Personally, I am anti-case for mobile devices. I don’t understand making such a big deal out of how insanely light and thin a tablet or smartphone is…and then putting inside a bulky, gaudy case. Since most people do, in fact, use a protective case of some sort, though, the net result of the Galaxy Tab Active with the ruggedized case really isn’t much bulkier than average.
That said, it is a bit hefty for me, personally—at least as a consumer device. Because I don’t use cases I prefer to use a device that is thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Tab Active.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is an exceptional device for its target audience. It is rugged, and engineered with features and capabilities designed specifically for working in the field and in non-traditional environments. It is a great device for businesses that need to deploy tablets so users can take advantage of mobile apps in extreme conditions.
The 64GB model of the Galaxy Tab Active has a suggested retail price of $550. That is high compared with other devices even just from Samsung. The 32GB Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8-inch model is $400. Even if you tack on a rugged case to protect it you’d probably only spend another $50 or so. For that extra $100, though, you get the IP67 certified dust and water resistance. Regular consumers, however, are not the intended market and won’t want to pay the high premium for the ruggedized Galaxy Tab Active.