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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active 8.5

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Call quality:

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review
Whoa! The earpiece on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active surely has to be one of the loudest we've tested recently. Even with its volume turned down, it delivers clear and natural voice tones. Sadly, the microphone isn't as good. On the other side of the line, our voice is loud, but sounds noticeably artificial.

Battery life:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active comes with a 2600mAh battery that can be swapped with a fresh one when exhausted. The manufacturer has not yet provided official ratings as to how long the handset lasts on a single charge, but given the battery's capacity, the S4 Active should last through at least a day of moderate usage.


No matter how we look at it, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a pretty awesome smartphone. It is one of the very few devices that are tough enough to resist some serious dust and water damage, yet good-looking and extremely capable at the same time. To top it all off, Samsung has sprinkled a ton of goodies, packed as part of the TouchWiz UI. Even on a hardware level, the smartphone does not lag far behind the Galaxy S4 flagship, so it is quite worthy of bearing an “S4” in its title. Simply put, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is an impressive high-end phone that shouldn't be underestimated.

Perhaps the 8-megapixel main camera is the only thing we aren't entirely happy with. Sure, it gets the job done in most cases, but it just isn't quite as good as the snappers that are outfitted on today's top-of-the-line Android smartphones. It would have also been nice if the screen was usable when wet. The Sony Xperia Z, for example, has that feature, so we know that it wasn't impossible to implement.

An alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active – with such impressive characteristics and top-of-the-line hardware specs – is pretty hard to find. As of this review, the Sony Xperia Z is the only capable competitor to Samsung's tough handset as it is also water-resistant and with high-end hardware specifications. Those who don't really need a water-tight phone may go check out the Galaxy S4, The LG Optimus G Pro, or the HTC One, all of which are well-made smartphones that are powerful enough to handle any task.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Video Review:


  • Water and dust resistant
  • High-resolution display
  • Fast processor
  • Screen can be used with gloves


  • Screen does not work when wet
  • Other high-ends have better cameras
PhoneArena rating:
8.5 Excellent
User rating:
8.9 12 Reviews

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posted on 19 Jun 2013, 09:10 17

1. Diego! (Posts: 672; 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: 672; 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: 4364; 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: 4364; 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: 3722; 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: 1303; 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: 387; 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: 176; 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: 4364; 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: 4364; 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
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz, Krait 300 processor
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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