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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active 8.5

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Unsurprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active camera interface comes loaded with all the features found on the Galaxy S4 – features like Drama, Animated Photo, HDR, and Eraser. These allow one to take awesome photos with minimum effort, or just take out unwanted objects out of the frame using the latter. On top of that all, Samsung has thrown in the so-called Aqua Mode, which is meant for taking clearer photos and videos underwater. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

Camera interface - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Camera interface - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Camera interface


With the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and its 8MP main camera, one can take good-looking photos in a wide range of circumstances, although some scenes could prove a little tricky to capture well. Colors are snapped accurately, without being too dull or too saturated, but details in darker scenes are noticeably fuzzier than we wish they were. The dynamics range also leaves room for improvement. Shooting indoors is not a problem as long as there's decent source of light nearby, but in dim light, colors are inaccurate and digital noise is very noticeable.


Naturally, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active can shoot 1080p video. It is smooth and detailed when taken in broad daylight, but low-light videos can be noisy and out of focus for brief moments.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Indoor Sample Video:




Multimedia:

Samsung's music player comes pre-loaded on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and it gets the job done well. It sorts music by album, artist, or song name and can browse audio files folder by folder. An equalizer with tons of presets is also present, but even better results can be achieved using the Adapt Sound feature, which adjusts audio playback according to the user's hearing.

Music player on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Music player on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Music player on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Music player on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Music player on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active


With all that processing power at hand, it comes as no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active handles 1080p video flawlessly. And yes, it looks great on the smartphone's large 1080p screen. The video player can work with subtitle files and supports Pop up Play, allowing video to be played back in a window. A neat trick is that the power key gets disabled while video is playing, preventing accidental presses.

Video playback - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Video playback - Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Video playback



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

1. Diego! (Posts: 666; 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: 666; 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: 4362; 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: 4362; 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: 231; 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: 3710; 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: 1230; 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: 386; 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: 174; 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: 4362; 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: 4362; 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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