Being engaged in the repair of phones, which means, having the opportunity to buy faulty devices for subsequent restoration, I stopped buying new phones. This is both good and bad at the same time. On the one hand, this saves a decent amount, on the other hand, you use a phone that is not only used by someone before you, but also repaired, so this scenario of purchasing phones is not suitable for everyone.
Considering a rather active lifestyle, frequent trips to the sea and sand and a commitment to extreme sports, I have always been attracted by protected models of smartphones that can be used without regard to operating conditions. As I already wrote in one of the articles, Motorola Defy became my first protected smartphone. Since then, water resistance has become a highly desirable feature, without which I could not consider another smartphone to satisfy all my needs.
A breath of fresh air is the seventh generation Galaxy smartphone line from Samsung. Yes, there were both S4 Active and S5 before them, but all of them did not provide a sufficient level of protection, given that the cover was removable and, judging by the feedback from users who drowned their smartphones, it was not a reliable barrier to water.
Having first ordered a Galaxy S7 on eBay and then a Galaxy S7 Edge, I was pleased. But everything is relative. On the Edge, I didn't like the rounded edges of the screen, which were constantly pressed by the palm, and the simple S7 suffered from autonomy in my use case – the battery was barely enough until late at night.
Starting with the Galaxy S5, Samsung has stopped supplying protected versions of its flagships to the Russian market and focused on the American market. Чаще всего версии Active выпускались у оператора AT&T (не знаю, с чем это связано, но вряд ли все абоненты AT&T заядлые экстремалы).
In addition to its limited release area, the Active version has a higher price tag than the unsecured versions.
At the time of ordering, the eighth generation of the Galaxy Active was released. However, this option did not suit me either in appearance (the geometry of the screen was ugly for my taste), or for the price. The goal, as usual, was to purchase the device, saving as much as possible on it.
After a long study of lots on eBay, I realized that for some reason the S7 Active's weak point is the main camera – there are many offers of phones in excellent condition with a faulty main camera.
At the same time, when reading reviews and reviews of this phone, the opinion was formed that the shooting quality of this camera is higher than that of the unprotected version of the S7.
By the way, the Galaxy S7 can use two versions of the main camera. The first one is made by Samsung, the second one is made by Sony. You can find out which version is in your device by typing # 34971539 # in the stock dialer.
Then you need to select the item PHONE / CAM FW VER CHECK. There we are interested in the item Rear Camera – Load FW Ver.
The fifth character in the firmware version is the sensor manufacturer.
S – SONY
L – SAMSUNG.
C12QSJK01SM – Sony
IO5QLIA00PM – Samsung
By the way, the front camera is always made by Samsung.
According to users, the sensors from Samsung and Sony are almost equal, with slight differences in color rendition and behavior in the dark. By the way, in the American versions running on the Snapdragon processor, cameras with a Sony sensor are almost always installed. At the same time, in an ordinary American S7 and in a protected S7, judging by the markings, there is the same module, however, if you take a module from S7 and install it in S7 Active, it will not work, although it will install perfectly.
So let's move on to the practical part.
Having studied all the available information, I decided to order a Galaxy S7 Active with a non-working main camera.
Having chosen the most successful option from the point of view of the state, I made an order. In total, the purchase cost me $ 132.99.
I did not immediately order the camera, hoping that the problem was software and that it would be possible to solve it by simply flashing the phone or conjuring with the camera's firmware. Did not work out. The problem turned out to be hardware. After that I ordered the original camera.
The phone arrived in perfect condition, with its own charger and glued protective glass.
Now the matter is small – to wait for the camera and replace it, carefully opening the device, which is also a non-trivial task. But where ours did not disappear.
By the way, a few words about delivery. In my case, I used the services of an intermediary – a girl I know who lives in the United States and sends my purchases to my city. Thanks to this, the delivery of the S7 Active cost me 300 rubles. If you do not have friends living in the United States, do not despair, you can always find those who are engaged in group purchases in your city and arrange delivery in a common parcel. It will cost about the same amount. Who seeks will always find.
At the current exchange rate, my purchase (phone + camera + delivery) cost me 9,750 rubles. Agree, the amount is ridiculous for an excellent device, subject to the ability to bring it to mind. But here everyone chooses for himself what is more important to him – confidence, calmness and guaranteed trouble-freeness or savings, some kind of drive and an element of extreme. The second option is always closer to me.
Now a couple of words about the device itself.
First, it's big. A heavy, weighty block. Dimensions of S7 Active – 148.8 x 75.0 x 9.9 mm.
It fits perfectly and securely in the hand. It is even wider than the S7 Edge (75mm vs 72.6mm), despite the fact that the display is exactly the same as the regular S7, that is, 5.1 inches.
In addition to being wide, the device is also noticeably thicker than a regular S7, 9.9 mm versus 7.9 mm, this is a payment for a protected case and a much more capacious battery – 4000 mAh. The phone is stable enough for two days of active use. This is my first phone after the Nexus 6, which in my scenario of use lasts more than a day!
I doubted for a very long time before ordering, since I sincerely believed that I would not be able to use a wide device, and 72mm was a certain limit for me, after which, I was sure, it would be uncomfortable to use it. The fears were in vain. Fits perfectly in the hand.
By the way, there is a crack on the protective glass, not on the display (this is how I tried to re-glue the protective glass crookedly pasted by the previous owner). I decided not to shoot for now to keep the phone display in perfect condition. Later I will replace it with a thin film from Zagg (I don't like protective glasses, they make the phone much thicker). And, given the presence of an additional protective coating already installed at the factory, I might even give up films and glasses.
The first few days I had to get used to a number of differences. For example, mechanical keys 'Menu' and 'Back'. Now, picking up my girlfriend's Galaxy S7, I try to press the touch keys, not touch them.
I also had to get used to the jack 3.5 connector located at the top end. These are, perhaps, all the differences. The rest is the good old S7.
And the Active also has a separate 'Active' key on the right side, above the volume control keys, which can be programmed for three different types of pressing.
At first, remembering the Bixby key on the Galaxy S8, I was skeptical. However, it turned out to be very convenient. The key is now used continuously.
With regards to Russification, everything is exactly the same as with the American S7. You can select Russian in the settings, and then only the settings themselves will remain in English, and almost all applications and services will be in Russian. Or you can install a trial version of a Russified theme and then freeze the theme store using special software. It was the second option that I used. In my case, this is BK Package Disabler, downloaded from the w3bsit3-dns.com forum and installed via ADB. By the way, after installing the 'disabler' via ADB, the theme does not crash even after a reboot and the phone works fine in Russian.
At the moment, the only thing left to do is wait for the camera to arrive and replace it. This promises to be a tricky event, but where ours did not disappear.
All the described experience is not an instruction for action and in no case is it advice. This is just my personal experience, which may be useful to those who like to design and at the same time save money. This option is always fraught with a lot of risks, ranging from the purchase of a pig in a poke, the conscientiousness of the seller and ending with the peculiarities of the mail, both ours and foreign. When deciding whether to buy a phone for restoration, you must carefully weigh the pros and cons, and only after that make a purchase or not. I know many people who, having no money to buy a flagship here and now, would still prefer an installment purchase or a loan to buying a used phone, and even more so for restoration. At the same time, among the acquaintances there are a lot of those who can afford any flagship, but still buy themselves constructors and restore them. Here everyone decides for himself what he needs. I made my choice a very long time ago, especially since repairs have become for me one of my hobbies, allowing me to reboot my brain and spend a couple of hours enjoying the process of reviving the killed equipment.