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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active 8.5

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Interface:

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active – the latest Android version available as of this writing. As is always the case with Samsung smartphones, the interface has been customized heavily with a layer of TouchWiz Nature UX, bringing along plenty of extra functionality and visual flare.

Notification bar toggle buttons, lock screen shortcuts and widgets – all of these are present on the Galaxy S4 Active, along with a handful of Samsung's exclusive features. These include Smart Stay, which does not turn off the screen as long as the user is still looking at it, and Multi Window support, allowing one to use two apps side by side. Contact-less gesture controls are also enabled, meaning that one can flip through a photo album, change songs, or answer calls by waving their hand above the screen. The volume up button can be set to activate the LED light on the phone's back for the times when a proper flashlight isn't around.

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes running out of the box on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active


On the software side, Samsung has loaded goodies like S Translator, which can interpret foreign languages, the S Travel guide to plan your next holiday with, S Health for tracking your workout progress, Group Play for instant content sharing between Samsung devices, and more. Since an IR blaster is available on the smartphone, it can be used to remotely control your TV or home theater system.

Since the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active comes with a pretty large display, the on-screen keyboard is pretty comfortable to type on, especially when used with two thumbs. There's even enough space to add an extra row for all the digits instead of placing them in a separate screen. Typos were rare once we got used to the keyboard's layout, and the auto-complete feature often comes in handy.

On-screen keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
On-screen keyboard - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

On-screen keyboard



Processor and memory:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a powerful device. It comes with a 1.9GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC and 2GB of RAM, so performance is not an issue no matter what you throw at the handset. Anything runs flawlessly, from 3D games and heavy web pages, to any CPU- or GPU-intensive application you can think of. Yet for some reason, the benchmark results aren't as good as those from, let's say, the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is powered by more or less the same hardware. Nevertheless, the Active's real-life performance is great, and that's what truly matters.


Quadrant Standard AnTuTu GLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD) Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active 11854 16896 3538 / 31 fps 1406 / 692
Samsung Galaxy S4 12078 24701 4437 / 39 fps 1702/704
Sony Xperia Z 8221 20835 3382 2198/626
LG Optimus G 7669 9565


We can't complain about the storage space present on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active – about 11GB are available out of the 16GB on board. It is far from plenty, of course, but it should be good enough, at least at first. Users who need additional space, be it for carrying music, photos, or videos, can get it by installing a microSD card.


Web browser and connectivity:

Browsing the web using the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a joy since it is equipped with a large, high-res display. The web browser is fast and functional, with support for multiple windows, embedded YouTube videos, along other gimmicks like smart scroll for panning by tilting the phone and air gestures for navigating without having to touch the screen.

Browsing the web using the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a joy - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Browsing the web using the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a joy - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Browsing the web using the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a joy - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Browsing the web using the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a joy


Connectivity-wise, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active has you covered. It comes with Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with GLONASS support, NFC, HSPA+ at 42Mbps, and LTE. The FM radio, however, has been omitted.

61 Comments
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posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:10 17

1. Diego! (Posts: 643; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


Nice review! I prefer the design of S4 Active over the regular S4.

I'm looking forward to reading Samsung Galaxy S4 Active vs Sony Xperia Z! :D

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 19:33 7

23. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 210; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)


This GS4 is just a Sony Xperia Z wannabe! LOL. No doubt the SXZ is faaar more premium-looking and gorgeous than this one! :D

posted on 21 Jun 2013, 04:41 9

32. taikucing (unregistered)


yeah, with horrible viewing angles.

posted on 22 Jun 2013, 10:15 5

37. moroninc (Posts: 193; Member since: 14 Jul 2012)


and a so so camera

posted on 20 Jun 2013, 18:16

31. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)


I would as well if the camera were the same. it's not horrible, but why not keep the old camera?! I guess they have to give people reason to buy the original.

posted on 23 Jun 2013, 10:53

45. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


In theory, this camera should be better because less pixels on a tiny sensor should equal less noise. 4mp is too little and 13mp is too much. This should be the sweet spot. They might have attempted to make this better and failed or maybe 13mp is too noisy underwater. Or they could be just making sure this doesn't cost more to produce than the GS4.

posted on 23 Jun 2013, 04:26

41. Hassan420i (Posts: 24; Member since: 23 Jun 2013)


the only thing i prefer in Samsung Galaxy is their Super AMOLED displays, since this have TFT display I can say my luxury-looking phone (Xperia Z) is much better than the tough- or metal-looking phone maybe?!

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:14 16

2. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


Why is Phone Arena keeps complain that there are no rubber protection on S4 Active. I have some rubber in my wallet that I can share to you. :P

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:38 4

3. Diego! (Posts: 643; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


LOL xD I think they need som jelly too! LOL once more! xD

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:39 16

4. whoyton2 (banned) (Posts: 142; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


Lol the s4 active beats lumia 925.....poor poor Nokia.....

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:56 3

5. roldefol (Posts: 4332; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Just about every Android is beating the Lumia line these days. Except the 720 for whatever value reasons PA came up with. The 92x series is getting stale.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:59

6. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)


you cant compare 720 with highend devices. 720 gets high score as a midranger.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:06 2

8. roldefol (Posts: 4332; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


True, but when is the last time a midrange Android got a 9+ here?

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 14:49

16. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)


which one ?

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 19:52 7

24. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 210; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)


I agree! Most handsomely-specd midrange Androids only get an average of 8. The Sony Xperia SP only got an 8, the LG Optimus F7 an 8 too, the Optimus L9 a 7.5, the GS4 mini got an 8.5 and the Samsung Galaxy Grand an 8 too. It seems that WP doesn't need very huge processors, gpu and ram to run buttery smooth, and the cameras are also great. Windows Phones are indeed very well optimised!

posted on 22 Jun 2013, 10:19 2

38. moroninc (Posts: 193; Member since: 14 Jul 2012)


actually Android AOSP doesnt need much to be buttery smooth... even at 1 GHZ processor and 500MB ram you could still run Android 4.2.2 ... its only when the touchwiz and other skins on top that slow the system down along with all that bloatware they just love to spoon feed us.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:17

9. samystic (Posts: 230; Member since: 25 Mar 2012)


'Screen does not work when wet'... yes it beats Nokia hands down... LOL... kids these days!

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:46 5

12. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


What Nokia phone works when wet?

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:23 8

10. SleepingOz (unregistered)


What did you expect? Better hardware, screen, CPU, battery etc.. and it runs on Android 4.2 on top! But cm'on, you don't say it out loud, dude.. You'll make the nokia fanboys even more butthurt than they were yesterday.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 11:08 1

14. SleepingOz (unregistered)


*don't have to say it

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:04 9

7. Jason2k13 (Posts: 1217; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


I prefer the front of the original S4, but the back of the active, i really dont like the looks of the physical buttons.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:29 7

11. SleepingOz (unregistered)


Same here, I like the Active's overall design but not its front buttons.
I also don't like TFT screens even if this one seems to be an excellent display, I still prefer amoled.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 18:21 4

20. thelukewarm (Posts: 18; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


I agree, the s4 wasn't actually designed to be waterproof........ I think that's why xperia z looks better than this device.

posted on 20 Jun 2013, 00:51

25. mottykels (Posts: 385; Member since: 15 May 2013)


Me too i dont like the design of the physical button

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 10:59 6

13. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


How is a stronger built, better looking S4 goes below 9.0? Feels a bit like PA didn't dare giving it the same score in the fear of the anti-Samsung scum predictably calling for bias.

I'm very much interested in this phone, more so than in the S4, which's glossy fingerprint plastic is not my thing. The only setback I see here is the lack of 13MP cam, but it still deserves a 9.0 if everything else is there AND water & dust resistance.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 14:53 1

17. Nick_T (Posts: 170; Member since: 27 May 2011)


Had the camera been a bit better I would have gladly given it a 9.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 15:52 2

18. roldefol (Posts: 4332; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


The camera of the 928 was an improvement over the 920, but the 928 got an 8 and the 920 a 9. I thought time/competitiveness was a bigger factor than camera.

posted on 19 Jun 2013, 17:32

19. roldefol (Posts: 4332; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Wow dude. Way to stay on topic.

I did expect a higher score for the S4 Active. But like other devices like the Razr HD the camera pulled it down.

posted on 23 Jun 2013, 13:05

47. SleepingOz (unregistered)


You forgot to switch account before posting this comment! LMAO!

posted on 20 Jun 2013, 17:49

30. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


The 928 and 920 were way too similar to be scored the same when they were so far apart in release.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

OS: Android 4.4.2 4.2.2
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (443 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz, Krait 300 processor
2 GB RAM
Size5.50 x 2.81 x 0.36 inches
(139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1 mm)
5.33 oz  (151 g)
Battery2600 mAh, 17 hours talk time

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