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Samsung fixes Galaxy S7 Active's waterproofing problem

Earlier this month, Consumer Reports found that two units of the Galaxy S7 Active failed a water immersion test that was within the limits of the phones' IP68 rating. Samsung issued a statement, saying that it will replace any S7 Active that suffers water damage.

In an additional statement to Consumer Reports, Samsung said that it found a manufacturing problem in the production line that has since been corrected.

From Consumer Reports:

Samsung says it has fixed a manufacturing problem that caused some Galaxy S7 Active phones to fail in underwater conditions the phone was designed to withstand. The company says it launched an investigation after two phones failed a Consumer Reports dunk test, and that the manufacturing problems were corrected approximately one week after our results were published on July 8.Samsung would not reveal the total number of Galaxy S7 Active phones sold since the model was introduced in mid-June, or how many had been returned with water damage. However, Phil Berne, a public relations manager for the company, said "compared to the total number of devices sold, it was tiny."According to Berne, all Galaxy S7 Active phones are manufactured in the same facility in Asia. "We found a problem in the production line that we were able to correct," he said. He declined to provide details. Phones now being shipped should be problem-free, according to Berne. However, to his knowledge, Galaxy S7 Active devices already in stores were not being removed from inventory.Consumers whose Galaxy S7 Active phones sustain water damage can return them to the retailer where they were purchased, or directly to Samsung, for a replacement.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

99 Comments
  • Yeesh. That's a gut wrencher for people who already bought the phone. No way to know if you got a bum one or not until it dies a watery death.
  • Actually there's a very simple way to know. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If I had one of these units I would try it, assuming I had a backup phone. (Which I always do)
    Backup everything in the phone and submerge it for 29 minutes and see what happens, at least then if you have a bum unit you'll know get a new one and be on your merry way with no data loss.
  • At least until you get $#%&$# by the retail clerk. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then go through Samsung Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good corrective action but a company this size should have issued a recall! Hellooo! Sammy you acknowledge a problem identified in your production line and issued a fix, great. What about all the "hundreds of thousands" waiting to be sold by AT&T?? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree this should be a recall Posted via Nexus 6
  • Why? It does not affect every single unit. More than likely it's a certain percentage. Also likely is that most people never take advantage of the "IP68-ness" of the phone so they'll never find out if their device was affected.
  • When the root cause has been identified due to a process, then this affects every device that was manufactured under that same process procedure. Basics of manufacturing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No it actually doesn't. Especially when they say it doesn't. Basics of logic.
  • "especially when they say it doesn't" ... I don't think it's that huge a deal (they should recall em though), but I'll choose not to put all my trust into "they"
  • "Especially when they say it doesn't" Lord knows that global corporations would NEVER say something untrue to make themselves look better.
  • Because it's a known defect that impacts a known batch of devices that can prevent heartache for its users who bought this phone for specific functions it was advertised to have that Samsung now knows it doesn't? Recall seems perfect here.
  • Not every recall affects every unit produced during the specified time period. They are well aware of which devices (or batches of devices, at a minimum) are affected. It's the same with automobile recalls. Though, unlike cars, I think Samsung knowing who has said devices is a different story. I imagine it's just way easier for them to replace devices with water damage (which they said they would do) than to orchestrate a proactive recall campaign. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who own a "faulty" device that will never get it wet to the point that it fails and so they'll never know the difference. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And not every Takata Airbag will fail, but that doesn't mean they should halt the recall for them.
  • No phones get recalled, see G4 bootloop for reference. LG won't even extend the warranty or honor them on imported devices. I'd say Samsung is at least offering to replace units which is better than most manufacturers would do. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But didn't they just say they were sticking by the IP68 rating? Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • Yeah I thought I saw that too, that they were basically refuting the claims made by Consumer Reports
  • Yes they are sticking to it. This statement made by Samsung is just that, along with a further explanation of why some failed. Additionally stating they back their product in the case of future damage. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • "Galaxy S7 Active devices already in stores were not being removed from inventory" That's the key statement that would keep me from getting one.
  • Why? You're guaranteed a replacement if damaged. What's the problem? Take it home,and put it in 5 feet if water for 30 minutes. If it gets damaged exchange it. Simple. This public statement should give you even more reason to buy it if you really were considering it in the first place. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Then what? Exchange it for another faulty device? There should have been a recall. Posted via the Android Central App on the S7 edge
  • Yes. They are not limiting the exchanging of a device to only one. If it's faulty you exchange it. Doesn't matter if I have to go through 500 units even though that won't be the case because this is not affecting every S7 active. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • That sounds like a blast. Pay hundreds of dollars for a product and then spend the entire ownership of that product having to send it back repeatedly for the company's inability to do their own due diligence and correct the known problem. I love Samsung as much as anyone, but it's crazy to watch people defend them like it's their job around here.
  • You really haven't read anything if you believe what you're spouting. There is no way I would have to go the entire time of ownership replacing them as the manufacturing issue has been addressed. This isn't affecting all S7 Active phones. I have used mine in pools and at a water park since I got it on release day and it hasn't had any issues. You may want to take the time to read my other comments to see that I am far from defending Samsung. I believe in holding their feet to the fire and getting things corrected for the consumer. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • If they have identified a problem they should be able to identify the batch numbers of the faulty phones. They should recall all phones within this range. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Easy problem to avoid. I simply will not buy a Samsung phone, in particular the S7 active.
  • You're missing out on the most powerful, biggest battery device on the market to date. I'm pretty sure you were never considering this phone anyway though. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Yeah lol at not buying because of this. So I guess no one should buy most non-Nexus phones because of lack of updates.
  • Actually I am considering switching back to AT&T for the better coverage offered where I tend to need it. I already have the S6 Active, which I like. The S7 Active was my phone of choice if I switch back. Now I think I'll pass on that particular phone since Samsung isn't playing straight.
  • So you're not going to buy it because they are guaranteeing they will replace it if it gets water damaged? OK. As for me, I've used my device without worrying in pools and at a water park with no problem. I'm going to keep doing that and if it gets damaged because of that I'll exchange it. If not, at some point in the future as I'm getting ready to upgrade, I'm going to purposely place my phone at the bottom of a pool at 5 feet and leave it there for 30 minutes (will do a video of it too). If it fails I'll get a replacement that will be new which I can then sell right before I get the S8 Active. If it doesn't fail then there was never a problem with my device so it's a win/win situation in my book. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Actually I don't consider it a win/win situation. I don't want to have my phone potentially fail at a time when I need it. I don't need the hassle of having to worry about what I might have lost. Buying an S7 Active that is in stock at an ATT store today is risking that you get one of the flawed units. If you're okay with that, fine.
  • Buy it today. Dunk it tonight before you put any data on it. If you're not OK with that, fine. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Ideally, they would issue a recall. But the chances of them issuing one is slim because it isn't an immediate safety issue. Kinda reminds me of my dead LG G4. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If I had that phone, I'd subject it to all ip68 water stuff. If it fails...... Joe
    Verizon s6, marshmallow
  • Exactly. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • #WaterGate
  • I could be wrong... but I think that one might have already been used.
  • #ip68gate
  • The problem was identified as several Samsung employees found to be playing Pokémon Go whilst assembling the screens. Pokémon Go has now been banned on assembly lines. Posted via the Android Central App
  • They should have read all the stories and guides here to know that was bad. At least then they would have still had their jobs. Posted from my Galaxy S6 while playing Pokémon
  • They shouldnt be using their phones during work hours.
  • Dump your phone and check. If not working after, just send for replacement
  • But, according to Phil, they didn't have a big enough sample size to determine there was a problem. I'm glad to know that all reviews by AC writers have a bigger sample size than just 2 phones, including the embargo reviews. Posted from my Galaxy S6 while playing Pokémon
  • Lol... I wonder if Samsung used a big enough sample size to correctly determine if they have corrected all new phones or just the few they tested
  • Actually, Phil opined that it probably was some sort of manufacturing defect. He just disagreed that killing two phones — while not good — wasn't the best way to go about reaching conclusions.
    View post on imgur.com
  • I hate it when people talk in third person :) . It appears that Samsung's original response was damage control until they could inspect their facility. Personally, I don't like that Consumer Reports uses small samples for the products tested, but they did expose the problem and make Samsung take a hard look at their manufacturing process. Win for the Consumer.
  • But apparently it was a good way at arriving at conclusions. It was so good we now have a public statement by Samsung and a guarantee to all who purchase one. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Small sample? Sure.
    Any decent manufacturer today follows a Six Sigma quality engineering standard that requires a maximum of 3.4 defects per million opportunities. That means that the probably of getting a bad unit is 0.00034%. That's OK. However, the probability getting two bad units is 0.00034% times 0.00034%, or 0.000000001156%. Did I miss a zero? Doesn't matter. It's a hell of a small number. In summary.... Samsung's manufacturing process for the S7 Active has a very ****** Quality Engineering process.
    Testing products is what Consumer Reports engineers do for a living. As a serious journalist the least that I would have done is calling them to check their rationale for using such a 'small' sample' before writing a baseless argument in favor of Samsung.
  • Well, if he had done any sort of due diligence, he could have seen that not only did CR have issues, but members here were also having issues. Doesn't that raise any concern? Sites like this should stick up for the consumers and the article was written to be dismissive of CR's findings. What if they had not done that test? It did mean something.
  • Phil also said that the Consumer Reports report meant "nothing". Pokegate: 07/14/16 - Never Forget...
  • That's nice Phil, but I was talking about the second sentence in the very post you quoted. Also this:
    http://imgur.com/kPB8zwn
  • So you guys going to retract your clickbait article claiming there's no problem because the only two phones in a row specifically tested for this failing doesn't prove there's a problem?
  • Yeah when donkey's fly.,.
  • I don't think everyone understands what clickbait means. Just because you don't agree with somebody's statements in an article doesn't mean it's clickbait. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very true.
  • I know exactly what clickbait means. This fit it quite well. The headline and teaser were provocative, and the actual article failed to meet those standards.
  • This was the headline: "The Galaxy S7 Active failed Consumer Reports' water test, twice". To each his own, but that doesn't fit my definition of provocative. The article as a whole certainly was, but that's completely different. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "...and teaser." The part anyone of us accessing this from RSS saw included this very important part: "It failed Consumer Reports' test. Twice. Here's what that means. Nothing." The combination is provocative. It got me to click. "Why would this device failing Consumer Reports' test TWICE mean nothing?" Also, let's assume for a moment that that headline is ALL we saw. The very definition Phil decided for clickbait (bait and switch, which in fact is not a required component of the definition, really) applies, since his article was about how the focus of the headline didn't matter. So we have a headline that leads people to an article that says the opposite of what the headline implies, we have a headline/teaser combo that's provocative, and we have an article that uses incredibly shaky reasoning to tell us that Consumer Reports is almost certainly wrong and everything's fine and there's no reason to be worried. Which now Samsung, themselves, has confirmed wrong by admitting that, as a result of Consumer Reports' valid testing methodology, they found a problem. From multiple angles, it's clickbait.
  • We can all argue about this til we are blue in the face... the fact of the matter is that Phil's article stating "It failed Consumer Reports' test. Twice. Here's what that means. Nothing." was factually wrong considering that it did indeed mean something. Consumer reports was once again correct in their assumption that there was a problem in manufacturing. CR lit a fire under Samsung's ass and they have now lived up to the fact there was a problem and will be correcting it. End of story....
  • That article wasn't clickbait, you might want to look up what clickbait actually means.
    That being said, I would like to hear Phil's reaction to this news and his take on that article that he wrote now that Samsung has come out and said Consumer Reports was right.
  • Here ya go! Funny how folks tend to not actually read the words I wrote. :)
  • Actually I did read the words you wrote. Words like "it failed Consumer Reports' test. Twice. Here's what that means. Nothing"
    Words that you wrote that Samsung clearly disagreed since that testing was the grounds for them launching an investigation.
    But to be fair, you did say it meant nothing TO YOU which I guess was your cya statement.
    But is it really so hard to give CR props for finding the problem? Or would that be acknowledging that your previous article was a bunch of BS and we all know you'll never do that.
  • That's not CYA. That was my opinion. Still is. It's cool if folks disagree with it. But the fact is that it all anecdotally sounded like early manufacturing issues — which happens anytime anyone manufacturers anything. That doesn't mean it's good. That doesn't mean anyone's off the hook. And that doesn't mean I'm giving anyone a pass. (If I was, why'd I write the story in the first place? It was a serious thing and needed to be written. As did Samsung's response, and its response to its response.) It also didn't mean the sky was falling is all.
  • You hitting the nail on the head Phil. It's a issue that was brought to there attention and there working to fix it and are replace any phone that has damage ,end of story . I know it's fashionable to hate on the 800 pound gorilla . But just because one you tuber channel says something doesn't make it fact right away . But it raised the questions. And the 800 pound gorilla is fixing it . Now you guys can rest easy tonight sky's not falling after all Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • Consumer Reports is not "one you tuber".
  • Consumer report is in actuality know different are any more creditable then anyone else on YouTube. More then a few YouTube jocks put the phone in water ,through it out windows jumped on it and tried to break the screen and it passed the test. Didn't here a peep out of your guys. But let one failed test get out and wow the sky's falling Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • Why are you dumping on Consumer Reports and defending Samsung Pugh? Don't be such a fan boy. Yes, I love my S7 Active but I am very thankful to CR for their reporting because Samsung would likely not have done anything about it if it weren't for them (and CNET's testing also). Don't believe me? Ask the poor guy dealing with the same issue on his S6 Active. Note to Android Central: You could have been part of the solution much the same as CR and CNET if you would have been thorough in your testing and then taken a stand with the consumer afterwards. Maybe you'll do that next year with the S8 Active? I still have hope for you. :) Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • My question to you is why you been such a conspiracy theorist. Fact is they both did there jobs CR discovered a issue samsung acted on it . No more know less . And to Phil's defence his gs7 active didn't have water damage. Are to that matter other test on YouTube. So his opinion of more testing of more units makes since. I didn't see it as coving up for Samsung at all . Trust me I've owned all there phones and the earlier galaxy had there share of issue and I'd state that . But I'll also fact check the haters and trolls too. Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • Good grief! I'm really trying to understand your point of view but COME ON MAN! Do you not know what words mean what in the English language? It is really painful to read what you're writing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Did it PROVE, unequivocally, that the sky was falling? No. Was it the smell of smoke that led Samsung to find the fire? Yes. Your article backed the wrong side of the consumer/manufacturer divide using very shaky logic, and now even the company you backed had agreed there's a problem. The test methodology was fine, it indicated a closer look needed to be taken, and that closer look bore fruit. Your article doesn't foster trust in you taking the consumer's side when we need you. In fact now Samsung is arguably a more trustworthy consumer ally than your site, and that's not good.
  • I think you did say it meant nothing to YOU, but you made a pretty strong case that it shouldn't mean anything to anyone else either. On top of that, you said testing (and failing) 2 units was not enough to show anything. Well, statistically, two unites were definitely enough to show something was wrong as many others pointed out. Now Samsung admits there was a defect, so CR's testing was proved to be valid. Sure, manufacturing mistakes happen, and you yourself suspected as much. What wasn't cool was claiming CR's tests were totally bogus and invalid due to sample size. I think a mea culpa and shout out to CR is in order. And next time 2-in-a-row mass manufactured units fail in the same way, you might consider not immediately claiming that sample is invalid.
  • Exactly. We'll said tdizzel. I was very disappointed with AC because that article was written Rene Ritchie style. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • I know the definition of clickbait. It fits as far as I'm concerned. It got me to click based on its provocative title and tease and then was, in my opinion, of a particularly low quality that didn't live up to expectations. That's clickbait.
  • That's just it your opinion and Phil gave his . Phil's opinions was not based on scientific fact or testing . And he stated that from the beginning. I was more his observation of there test unit that had know signs of water damage despite the repeated Dunkins of the phone in Lake water . Phil's not your lawyer haha so his by know means obligated to defend anyone be at readers or Samsung. You make your on decision by not buying the phone see its just that easy Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Samsung says it has fixed a manufacturing problem that caused some Galaxy S7 Active phones to fail in underwater conditions the phone was designed to withstand. The company says it launched an investigation after two phones failed a Consumer Reports dunk test, " Who said that? When? Where is the source? Another your fake propaganda (Consumer Reports)
  • -1
  • Good job samsung owning up to a issue that can happen to a anything that is manufactured in mass quantities. . There steping up to replace any phone that was damaged by water . And that's about all they can do its not a safety issues there not required to replace every phone. No different then things on your car that just fail ,but that are not safety related it's not required. One thing I've noticed though how most of the folks on here b****ing none of them own are even plan to own the phone are any other samsung phone for that matter . Kind of makes you think there a lot more hating going on then genuine concern Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • You don't understandthe core laws involved in false advertising, do you? If a product is advertised to do X and does not do X, that's illegal. No, this won't kill anyone, but that doesn't make the fact that it fails at one of its most advertised claims an acceptable, legal thing.
  • Haha dude are you serious....trust no laws where broken....and nobody's going to jail ...hahaha wow were really getting off topic now . Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • I think the *least* they should do is extend the warranty to water damaged phones to 2 years. This would apply to phones that were manufactured before their "fix" in the assembly lines. Just an aside, my 04 4Runner's dash has hairline cracks. Toyota investigated and determine that those models (including others) may have dashboards that crack under certain conditions. They are now covering this - 12 years later.
  • Haha that's the exception not the norm . Most things that fall off, break ,are plan just don't work on your car don't get fixed by the manufacturer after warranty unless it's a safety recall and even that doesn't mean every car are phone in this case was affected. Samsung is doing a honorable thing maning up and fixing the issue . That's why I buy all there products and will continue to . By the way there replacing the water damage phones so not sure why a two year warranty is needed . Maybe apple will give you a 2 year warranty if the 6plus bends on you Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • My Honda CR-V's door locks broke 7 years after I bought it. Turned out this was a defect that impacts a lot of owners, so they extended the warranty on the door locks to well past the original (long expired) warranty and replaced all of them for free. So yes, this actually is rather common.
  • No its not ..... Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • Door locks are a safety issue. Any and all car manufacturers must recall and/or fix any safety related issues. And yes, years later. While common....it's not normal.
  • Okay, Xbox 360s broke in droves past their 90-day warranty. Microsoft extended the warranty to THREE YEARS in response. Better? Not a safety issue, just a common failure of a device to live up to its expectations outside of its warranty. This happens with any company who wants to maintain trust.
  • They didn't have to. Not by law. They could have just said sorry about your luck and took their chances in civil court. They did it, like you said, to build trust....but not because they had to.
  • Did anyone here say otherwise about Samsung?
  • The fact that they ADMITTED to a manufacturing issue makes it an EXCEPTIONAL case. If, one year from now, my phone is damaged because it's not to spec, FOR WHICH I BOUGHT, I'm screwed. My phone may or may not conform to the IP68 rating. I bought it because it SHOULD.
  • Its amazing how this issue comes to light with the S7 Active. I never owned an S5 or S4 Active, but I can tell you that the S6 Active suffers the same fate when exposed to water. Perhaps Consumer Reports was the X factor that prompted Samsung's actions, which is a downright shame. I was one of those sending my device in last year and arguing through levels of support how a phone could be IP68 certified yet experience water damage. My S6 Active is on its way to Samsung now for this very issue. Despite their addressing this issue with the manufacturing process and excluding water damage from the S7 Active warranty, I doubt that its more water resistant or waterproof than the S7 or S7 edge.
  • I feel for you bro I really do. Goes to show how entities such as Consumer Reports and other reporting agencies like CNET can have such an impact on keeping the manufacturer honest and doing right to the consumer. I hope Android Central sees this as a lesson to use their muscle in the future on behalf of us. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • And to that point that's how all are most product defects come to light. Somebody are somebody's bring it to the manufacturer no different than car recalls are any thing else that prematurely brakes are just plain stops working or doesn't work as advertised. The manufacturer test will only do so much . It's not until the said products are cars get into the wild and millions are sold that issues discovered. CR discovered a issue samsung acted on it all in one week pretty damn fast if you asked me most these things get pushed back for weeks . I'm sure the naysayers and conspiracy theories . Thinks that samsung knowingly put out a failed product....not ,I don't think a low volume product by there standards is Worth the bad press Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • Care to show me anyone who suggested a conspiracy theory where they released this knowingly? I'm pretty sure the worst anyone suggested was a quality control issue, which may or may not be true. The biggest complaints I've seen haven't been about Samsung, but about AC blindly defending them. At thia point I trust Samsung more than AC to have my back.
  • Yep.....you starting one right now haha ..I think the police is raiding the Samsung head quarter right now ...sorry but that's not gonna happen . And you should trust samsung more it's there baby . AC is Just editorial column that give there opinions base on what they know. So I'm not sure they need to right a disclaimer for every article we should be smarter to know better Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • Sorry Pugh but you're really coming off as a fan boy here. Nobody said anything about conspiracies. Samsung owned up to the problem which is great but only because a couple of groups with some marketing muscle made them do it thru exposing the weaknesses they found. I'm glad they did and I hope Android Central learns from this. I love my S7 Active and am even more satisfied with my purchase now than ever before. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Actually the fact is your 6 active has a issue, let not get it twisted. To make a blanket statement is not fact. I read your forum in the forums column where you had a water issue of some sort and that's to bad . But the truth is there at least 500 post on the 6 active forums just here on AC and yours is I think the only one to mention a wide spread issue with 6 active and water just saying let's just keep things in perspective and you stated that samsung fixed it under warranty so what's the problem now Law2138 ^^^^ just saying Posted via my note 5 are gs7 edge
  • You're right. I can't speak for everyone else owning a S6 Active. I only know of my personal experience with 2 of the S6 Actives I've owned and those who share on the forums. 2 out of 2 S6 Actives experienced water damage? Samsung fixed it under warranty after multiple calls and me escalating the issue through their call center. To get that type of resistance and the "water damage not covered under warranty" is nothing short of frustrating. I could see if I took my sim tray out under water or intentionally shot water into the ports, but I was using it just as anyone else would. Got wet at the water park? No problem, its IP68 certified, Takes a momentary dunk into 2 feet of swimming pool water? No problem, its IP68 certified. Not in my case....water damage both times. Not only is water damage not covered by the warranty, Samsung doesn't advertise Protection Plus service for the S6 Active. Apparently, you have to call and ask for that too. Somewhere along the line I guess I expected the S7 Active to perform better than the S6 Active when it is exposed to water. Consumer reports played a major part in bringing this to light. If it didn't, do you think the flaw in the manufacturing process would have been identified so quickly?
  • Here's a fix: DON'T GET YOUR PHONE WET! Problem solved. You're welcome. Posted via the Android Central App