Samsung Galaxy S4 Active hands-on

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active hands-on
Editor's note: The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active unit being previewed is a non-final version of the smartphone (a prototype). The retail version of the smartphone may be slightly different in terms of design and/or user interface. 

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is not your typical Android smartphone. While it has the specs to be regarded as a high-end device, such as the 5-inch 1080p screen and the super-fast, 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 SoC, it is also tough enough to handle more abuse than a handset should be subjected to. In particular, it has been given the IP67 rating, which means that the S4 Active is highly resistant to dust and water damage. Such blend of performance and protection are rare in the smartphone world, with only a few notable exceptions like the Sony Xperia Z.

But let us focus on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active now. Since it has an “S4” in its title, one might logically assume that the smartphone has a lot in common with the Samsung Galaxy S4. That's true to some extent, but visually, the two are quite different. The Galaxy S4 Active is made of matte plastic and has a solid, grippy feel. In fact, it definitely looks sturdier and a lot more adventurous than the Galaxy S4, but it is also slightly thicker, wider, and noticeably heavier. Popping its back cover off reveals what gives the S4 Active its water-resistant properties. There's a rubbery insulation band around its sides, which should prevent water from entering into the handset even at depth down to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. All ports, including the microUSB port on the bottom and the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack on top are water-tight as well.

The buttons on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Acive are all physical, raised and clicky. That makes them very easy to press even while wearing gloves. Speaking of gloves, the screen on the smartphone is sensitive enough to be used even with mittens on. Properties like these are essential for a device meant to be used under extreme conditions, so two thumbs up go to Samsung for adding them. If that's not enough, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active comes with Air Gestures. Simply put, one can answer calls, flip through songs, or navigate web pages by simply waving their hand above the screen.

On the software side of things, nothing seems to have changed. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active comes running Android 4.2.2 with the latest iteration of TouchWiz UI on top. In other words, nearly all (if not all) of the software tricks and features present on the Samsung Galaxy S4 are loaded onto the S4 Active as well. Features like S Travel, S Translator, Smart Stay, S Health, Group Play, and WatchON are all installed out of the box.

So yeah, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a tougher, sturdier version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that doesn't lag behind much in terms of hardware and features. Take a closer look at it in the photos below and expect our in-depth preview in just a few days!

Related phones

Galaxy S4 Active
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(15h 3G talk time)



1. ihatesmartphone unregistered


8. sid07desai

Posts: 290; Member since: May 03, 2012

I want the blue instead of red. If it exists. Please Samsung.

10. SleepingOz unregistered

It does exist and that's the one I'll be buying!

2. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

wheres the rubbery flap for the headphone jack?

5. shahulvm

Posts: 124; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

Headphone jack is coated with waterproof material like the japanese phones..

4. sarb009

Posts: 322; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Now that's a good thing dust and water proof with removable back

6. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

I would love to get this its just the physical buttons which are not good for me...i know they work better underwater but i would never eally use it underwater...

7. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

same, and i prefer the design of the original S4 but the build quality of the S4 active.

9. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

The S4 is the ugly sister while this S4 active is the best trophy wife you could get.

11. SleepingOz unregistered

This is going to drive a lot of XZ/XZL potential buyers away from sony.

17. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Sony == Good hardware with bad S/W implementation

18. SleepingOz unregistered

Nope, more like dated hardware and bad software implementation. TFT + S4 Pro = uber fail as a 2013 flasgship!

21. rgxVOiD

Posts: 440; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

Yes, because there's ZR

12. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

Looks sooooo much better than S4!!!

13. ianbbaa

Posts: 332; Member since: Mar 20, 2013

easier to replace battery just unscrew the back cover... ...hmmm - HTC One, XP Z - send to service for ungluing and togethergluing....

14. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

I want one... For men, rugged is always the way to go. Aside from my desk job, I like working on cars, motorcycles, and being outdoors. Can this survive triple digit speeds? ;)

15. mishooo111

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

sorry but it looks like a cheap Chinese handset

16. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

close, Korean handset although its not cheap maybe to produce lol

19. mottykels

Posts: 387; Member since: May 15, 2013

Air view or Air Gesture?

20. mottykels

Posts: 387; Member since: May 15, 2013

Now its better than XZ thanks for removable battery

22. cheeseycheeser

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 24, 2011

Oh hey bring this to Verizon and I would buy 10.

23. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

I just loved it, I'll buy blue one.

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